Coco's 'Bone' of Contention
Barbara Robertson
January 25, 2018

Coco's 'Bone' of Contention

How did Pixar created the bones for Coco?

With 10,000 bones to paint, the team opted to develop software to help the texture artists. 

“The challenge was to create bones that looked authentic without being creepy,” says Byron Bashforth, character shading lead. 

For authenticity, the shading artists photographed a variety of bones to assemble a library of approximately 16 textures. 

“We plugged the photographed textures into our skeleton shader to layer the textures in bit by bit,” Bashforth says. “We could control how and which textures landed on the bone, the color, the depth, and the response to light for every bone.” 

Also, the shading artists had controls they could use to dial the bones from old to clean-cut. That, along with face paint on the skulls helped distinguish one character from another in crowds, and added richness and complexity to the scenes. The artists could also swap colors and details, embossing, and glitter in the skeleton shader.