HAIR! This is a fun topic for me to cover.
Best hair ever OBVIOUSLY goes to Rapunzel, because she has seventy feet of it, and it’s all beautiful and glossy and there are no breakages and it’s so strong! And it has magic powers! She’s the winner. Its only flaw is that when you cut it, it stops being magical. If my hair was in great condition like that (and I wasn’t being held hostage my whole life by an evil witch), I could totally live without cutting it. Except, I guess, imagine the headache from carrying all that weight around 😦
Anyway, some facts about the fairest hair of all:
A team of more than 30 animators and software engineers worked to animate Rapunzel’s hair
Hair is particularly difficult to create in computer generated animation. It’s difficult to animate objects which collide, and Rapunzel’s hair is made up of more than 100,000 objects (that’d be hairs), all of which move around and collide every time she moves.
The filmmakers started out with a “hair bible,” a set of drawings created by Glen Keane, the artist behind Ariel, Beast and Pocahontas. Keane worked as an animation supervisor for Rapunzel’s hair.
To understand what it would be like to have that much hair, animators ran around wearing helmets with 70 feet of fishing line attached. They dropped 70 feet of cloth from a balcony to see what hair would look like being let down from the tower. They brushed wigs at their desks. They used a long hair model to walk around and toss her head to see how real-life long hair moved. (Source, and many more fascinating hair facts from this film besides, courtesy of LA Times.)
But hold the phone, there’s somebody out there who had even more, and even more technical, hair than Rapunzel, and if you listen to our podcast then you’ll know that it’s Elsa! Who’d’ve thunk?
Elsa’s hair has a total of 400,000 strands. That’s four times as many as Rapunzel! (I just looked it up and it turns out that people usually have between 90,000 and 150,000 hairs*. So Elsa had three to four times more hair than actual humans. Cool.)
Elsa undergoes a hair transformation on screen when she lets it go – this has never been seen before in one shot. You’ll notice the use of shot changes in Tangled when Rapunzel has her hair braided and when it’s cut.
An entire animation program called Tonic was developed to be used for Elsa’s hair in this film. Tonic allowed the hair to be animated in volumes, then when rendered it could be broken down into individual strands.
If hair wasn’t the only thing you had unrealistic expectations about (or you’re just in the mood for a laugh), you might want to check out 23 Things Disney Gave Us Unrealistic Expectations About
*If you’re interested (I know I was): Blondes have an average of 150,000 hairs, the average redhead has 90,000, and people with black or brunette hair average 110,000 to 100,000 hairs. So now you know.