Filmmaking Process

Look Development

Asset Creation

Look Development Artists help build worlds and characters by creating the color, textures, and materials for everything you see in the final rendered images.

Look Development Artists collaborate closely with each other, and also with several other artistic and technical teams in conjunction with Visual Development.

To complete the look, Look Development Artists add elements such as groomed hair, stitches, rocks, leaves, and procedural set dressing to character, environment, and prop models.

The Process

The look development process begins with reference imagery and a model that has defined shapes, but may not have all of the details. A Look Development Artist adds displacement and/or procedural geometry to finalize the shapes before adding all of the color, texture, and material properties through layers of masks and expressions.

Raya hat texture

Deconstructing Materials

To achieve a convincing look, the artist must first deconstruct the ingredients of a material into individual layers like you see here for this hat. All of the layers are then put together in a shader that balances the contribution of all of the layers for the final displacement, color and reflectivity.

Raya hair groom

Grooming Hair

Disney has developed tools, such as Tonic, to help Look Development Artists generate and groom hair. The first step is to shape Tonic tubes to represent groups of hair. The tubes are then converted into guide curves that can drive the movement and shape of all of the final hair, which has added complexity from Disney’s XGen expressions. Material settings are then added to the hair shader for a natural final look.

Grooming Fur

Fur and some types of grass are groomed using a brushing tool.


Clothing can add a lot of tangibility to a character when enough detail is added. In collaboration with a Simulation Artist, stitches created in Disney's XGen are tested.

Elsa Clothing Details

A close-up of Elsa’s clothing reveals the detail in materials, stitching, and beading.


Look Development Artists often go through a stage of iterations until the final look is achieved. This breakdown shows the process of developing the look on the entire character.

Here’s another breakdown of Look Development on a character in the context of a final shot.

Dress cloth variations

The same model shape is often used for a variety of look variations, like these dresses.

Frozen 2 Reindeer variations

Look variations can help populate a crowd or even a herd to avoid repetition.

Breakdowns are an important part of a Look Development demo reel. These breakdowns highlight the Look Development process of some of the environments in Frozen 2.

And here’s a Look Development environment breakdown from a scene in Moana.

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