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IUPUI school has close ties to animated movie "Brave"

Published:

June 21, 2012

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When Pixar's latest animated movie "Brave" opens in theaters nationwide Friday (June 22), students and faculty at the School of Informatics at Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis will be more than a little interested.

After all, one of the school's recent graduates worked on the movie. As a sets modeler and dresser in Pixar's sets department, Frank Tai helped create the movie's forests.

"Brave," set in Scotland, is the tale of the “heroic journey of Merida, a skilled archer and headstrong” princess who learns the true meaning of bravery after she “inadvertently unleashes chaos and fury in the kingdom ... forcing Merida to harness all her skills and resources ... to undo a beastly curse,” according to movie’s website.

Informatics students and faculty at IUPUI have followed Tai’s career as an inspirational journey.
Tai, who came to the United States specifically to attend the School of Informatics at IUPUI, chose informatics as a career because it allows him to combine his computer skills and artistic abilities. He has been with Pixar for four years, joining the company after earning both a bachelor’s degree and master’s degree in media arts and science from the School of Informatics.

At IUPUI, Tai took all the 3-D computer animation courses offered in the School of Informatics, learning modeling, shading and lighting, and then how to animate. He also took art classes at the IU Herron School of Art and Design at IUPUI.

"Frank’s work at Pixar is a continuing inspiration to all of the students in the School of Informatics," said Albert William, a research associate in media arts and science in the school. "His work ethic combined with his talents helps students understand what it takes to succeed in the industry at a very high level. I continue to show his graduate stereoscopic animation project 'Paco' to students, and use it to let them know that they, too, can aspire to these levels of achievement.

"Frank takes time to provide direction and feedback to student portfolios, and we are all very proud to have Frank as an alumnus . I am very happy that Frank has worked on such groundbreaking animations, and I congratulate him on his many successes with Pixar.”