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He thinks Pixar has another edge because it's a technology company as much as it's a movie studio. Brave is being made with the first rewrite of Pixar's animation system in 25 years. Computer programs have always liked to make perfect geometric shapes that bounce against one another. (Hence movies about toys, robots and cars. Even Finding Nemo was mostly flat surfaces.) They're not as good at making long, wild, curly red hair that swooshes against pine trees and lichen-covered rocks. Brave is richer and more colorful than any previous computer-animated film. "When Walt Disney started, people didn't know how to make films," Catmull says. "They were figuring out how to add color, how to sync sound. When Walt died, they stopped advancing the technology. And they also went downhill in their films. I think that's related." If you can animate new shapes and beings, you can tell new stories.
The next morning, Andrews is meeting with Brave's simulation team, which handles the characters' hair and clothing, Wearing a baseball cap that reads top gun, Andrews focuses his laser pointer between Merida's knees. He doesn't like the way her dress is bunching up unnaturally in these frames, as though there's something underneath it. The animator presses a button that instantly reveals the shift she's wearing under the dress and why those wrinkles are naturally occurring when she moves. Andrews still wants it smoothed over. "I'm just saying to fiddle with that, so you can say, 'F--- that f---ing Andrews.'"
Sarafian sighs. "I thought it would be nice to run a cuss-free show," she says. "But that didn't work out."