IUPUI alum helped create Pixar’s latest animated film, ‘Brave’

If a female heroine — with red, curly hair! — isn’t enough to make you want to watch Pixar’s latest animated movie, “Brave,” maybe this news will: An IUPUI alumnus worked on the film.

As a sets modeler and dresser in Pixar’s sets department, it’s quite possible Frank Tai has the coolest job ever. For “Brave,” he used 3-D computer software to digitally “sculpt” the Scottish lands and castle exteriors seen in the film.

Frank Tai

“We tried to make people believe when they are watching the film that they are in Scotland as much as possible,” Tai told Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

A native of Taiwan, Tai came to the United States specifically to attend IUPUI’s School of Informatics, and chose informatics as a career because it allows him to combine his computer skills and artistic abilities.

He took classes at the Herron School of Art and Design, as well as every single 3-D computer animation course offered by the School of Informatics, where he learned modeling, shading and lighting and how to animate.

Tai 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 Pixar, he worked on “Toy Story 3” and has already begun work on a prequel for “Monsters, Inc.”

“Right after I graduated from school, I packed everything and drove all the way from Indiana to California,” he said. “I remember I felt I was like entering Charlie’s Chocolate Factory when I first arrived at Pixar.”

“Brave” opened in theaters nationwide on Friday.

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