Elemental Characters: Bringing Water to Life

Max Gilbert, Jacob Kuenzel, Kris Campbell, Greg Gladstone, Jean-Claude Kalache, Fernando de Goes, Jon Barry


In Pixar's Elemental, the water characters of Element City are not drenched in water, but made of the element itself. Our goal was to create characters that felt non-human and of water, yet still maintain design, readability and charm. Starting with the concept art (inset) and at every step of the modeling, rigging, simulation, shading, effects and lighting for the water characters, we balanced the characteristics of water with the more traditional goals of character design: water's evolving shapes and dynamism with iconography and clean silhouettes; its complex light interactions with a focus on the emotion of the acting and readability of features.

Paper (PDF)

SIGGRAPH Talks 2023