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Making 'Moana': The special effects behind the movie

CNET's Brian Tong visits Disney Animation Studios to check out the tools and tech used to create "Moana."


Walt Disney Animation Studios heads out to sea with its next computer-generated feature film, called "Moana."

It's a coming-of-age story about a girl named Moana, voiced by newcomer Auli'I Cravalho, who sets sail on a mission to save her people. Along the way she meets the mighty demigod Maui, voiced by Dwayne "The Rock" Johnson.

I had a chance to sit down with visual effects supervisor Kyle Odermatt and head of effects Marlon West to get a deep dive on how they created Disney's most effects-filled movie ever.

Water is wet. You might take it for granted, but every particle of water has been built from the ground up.

Now playing: Watch this: How Disney crafted water for its visually stunning 'Moana'

Water isn't only a backdrop for the film. It's also one of the stars. West talks about how they gave water "life."

Now playing: Watch this: A look at how Disney gave water a little sass in 'Moana'

Disney Animation also relies on their Hyperion Renderer and the Matterhorn engine from previous movies, like "Big Hero 6" and "Frozen." Te Ká, the living volcano, was made possible in "Moana" thanks to evolutions in those technologies.

Now playing: Watch this: Disney's secrets to creating living volcano Te Ká in...

"Moana" will hit US theaters on November 23, 2016.