Computer Graphics World has an online exclusive about the 3D comedy adventure animated film "RIO" describing the challenges faced by the production teams at Blue Sky Studios.
"Creating the magical world of RIO and its characters presented innumerable challenges to the scientists, animators, artists, modelers, riggers, 3D, and effects teams at Blue Sky Studios. Rendering the winged leads and creating their performances was a key focus. Blue Sky came up with a new feather-renderer called a Ruffle Deformer, which allowed the animators to pose and shape the feathers with unprecedented control, adding important levels of performance to the characters.
The film’s human characters were equally challenging to render. Blue Sky hadn’t created human forms since the first “Ice Age” picture – and those lacked significant emotions and speech. To meet those challenges for RIO, the studio’s lighting department developed a new way to render skin, making it feel alive, fresh and realistic on the exaggerated, stylized features of Linda, Tulio and other principal human characters."