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Disney leans on its cumulative technology breakthroughs in recent films to create its latest animated feature, Raya and the Last Dragon.

Raya, the lead character in Raya and the Last Dragon, the latest feature from Walt Disney Animation Studios, is not your typical Disney princess of yesteryear. Rather, she is a fierce warrior, albeit one with trust issues. And with good reason.

Raya and the Last Dragon builds on technology from several of the studio's last films, only here, instead of focusing on one of those big technical achievements, the filmmakers expanded and utilized a number of them to bring the amazing, diverse worlds and characters of Raya to life.


Raya and the Last Dragon is directed by Don Hall (Big Hero 6) and Carlos Lopez Estrada (Blindspotting). Veteran artist Paul Briggs, known for his work as head of story on Frozen and Big Hero 6 and longtime animator/story artist John Ripa (Moana and Zootopia) are co-directors. Osnat Shurer, who was nominated for an Oscar for Moana, and Oscar-winner Peter Del Vecho of Frozen fame are producers. Rob Dressel is director of cinematography layout; Adolph Lusinky, director of cinematography lighting; and Kyle Odermatt, visual effects supervisor.

A New Spin

Over the past several years, Disney Animation has released amazing CG features with increasing levels of sophistication, each accomplishing a particular technical milestone or more, with subsequent features building on the technology. And those animation developments all combine in Raya. "I see this as the final version of the pipeline that we've been working on for the last 10 years," says Kelsey Hurley, technical supervisor. "For example, we have camera improvements from Zootopia, water from Moana, the complex environments of Ralph Breaks the Internet, and the volumetrics of Frozen 2. And of course, this was all rendered [with global illumination] in Hyperion, which we first saw in Big Hero 6. Raya combines all these together to just [present] an amazing world."