Mickey Mouse comes to Zurich

Technology for Disney videos of the future is to be developed at a new research centre in Zurich which was opened on Friday.

This content was published on April 30, 2010 - 15:40

The newly created Disney Research Zurich (DRZ) is working in partnership with the Federal Institute of Technology Zurich (ETHZ).

DRZ is drawing on the institute’s expertise in computer graphics, and especially the use of 3-D in animated films and facial animation. The results of the research will be used not only in cinema and television films, but also in Disney’s theme parks.

The cooperation agreement was announced in August 2008, and even before the official opening of the centre, some 20 ETHZ scientists started working on Disney projects.

A stereoscopic 3-D system already developed by the laboratory is currently undergoing tests. It could be used in future 3-D televisions.

Forty researchers will be working on projects for Disney by 2011. Disney will pay their salaries, and the ETHZ will provide the infrastructure. Patents will be submitted jointly.

The “very close” collaboration with Disney fits in with the strategy of the ETHZ, said the institute’s president, Ralph Eichler. It has similar strategic partnerships with other giants, including IBM, Siemens and Holcim.

Ed Catmull, the president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, said the school had been chosen because it was an “open environment” full of “intelligent people”.

The DRZ is part of a network of Disney research laboratories, but it is the only one outside the United States. and agencies

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