The Science Behind Pixar (originally called The Science of Pixar and sometimes called The Science Behind Pixar Exhibition) is a 10,000 square-foot touring exhibition which opened on June 28, 2015 at the Museum of Science in Boston, Massachusetts. On January 10, 2016, it started a national tour to other museums around the United States. In 2017, a copy of the exhibition was created for touring in Canada.
The exhibition features 40 exhibit elements which demonstrate the production pipeline at Pixar. They are divided into eight sections, each one focusing on a step in the filmmaking process and using different films to illustrate said concept:
An interactive on facial rigs that allows visitors to animate Toy Story's Jessie.
Focused on the Cars films and the graphic design and paint finishes on each character with a projection mapping interactive allowing visitors to switch through different car styles.
Sets & Cameras:
Focused around a large model of Ant Island from A Bug's Life, with an interactive camera and peek-in bubble windows to explore camera angles.
Exploration of animation and acting using The Incredibles as an primary example
A stop motion interactive that allows visitors to bring Luxo Jr. to life
Focused on the simulation techniques used to create Merida's mop of curly hair in Brave
Focused around the lighting techniques to create the underwater worlds of the Finding Nemo films.
An interactive that allows visitors to experiment with different ways of lighting Carl's Living Room from Up.
Focused around Inside Out and the computational work that went into giving the Emotions their distinctive glowing forms.
Before entering the exhibit, visitors go into a theater to watch a five-minute introductory video. In the video, Pixar technical artist Fran Kalal and story artist Alex Woo briefly explain Pixar's production pipeline. It also features Pixar characters Mr. Ray and Roz greeting the visitors and providing them safety precautions for the theater. Roz appears again at the end of the video to say that she will miss the visitors once they leave the theater.
Human-sized statues of some of Pixar's characters appear throughout the exhibit as photo-opportunities and to mark different sections.