In “Piper,” a baby sandpiper overcomes a fear of water as part of her rite of passage. But, uncharacteristically, the short began as an R&D project in the tools department to create greater sculpting control for the artists. They used the new RenderMan Ris platform for photoreal shading and lighting (first used on the “Finding Dory” feature).
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“For me, the goal was to make computer animation more expressive,” Barillaro told IndieWire. “There’s more personal stories we can tell and more visual language we can use with the toolset. How do we tell a story with little birds that’s not anthropomorphized?