• Pixar is based in Emeryville, California
• The Pixar studio has been awarded 26 academy awards, 7 golden
globes, 3 grammy awards and others.
• Pixar is best known for its CGI-animated feature films
• Pixar are reknown as the pioneers of digital animation and so have
always used computer software to animate and create.
• Toy Story – Release date: November 22nd 1995
Director: John Lasseter
Tom Hanks as Woody
Tim Allen as Buzz Lightyear
• When young Andy isn’t with his toys, they come to life.
His doll “Woody” believes he has a life. Andy gets a new
toy for his birthday, which becomes his new favourite.
Woody develops jealously and tries to get rid of him.
They both get lost and must find their way back to Andy
before he moves house, but there is a toy killer around.
A Bug’s Life
Release date: November, 25th 1998
Directed by: John Lesseter
Dave Foley as Flik
Kevin Spacey as Hopper
Each year grasshoppers meet at an anthill and eat what
the ants have gathered. One year a bug named Flik
drops seeds into the river. The ants are given a last
chance to get food for the next season. Flik goes to
seek help but runs into a circus crew…
Release date: November 2, 2001
Director: Pete Docter
John Goodman as Sully
Billy Crystal as Mike
Sully is king in this kingdom of monsters.
There are many monsters working for the
Monsters Inc company. The monsters gain
power from children’s screams, which is
gained from scaring them into their sleep.
Sully indentifies a way to banish all the power
problems within Monster city. However Sully’s
idea is “wrong”. Sully and Mike together fight
together to protect children’s innocence.
Release date: May 30, 2003
Director: Andrew Stanton
Alexander Gould as Nemo
Albert Brookes as Marlin
Ellen DeGeneres as Dory
Nemo is taken away by a diver. Nemo’s friend,
Marlin sets off to rescue him with Dory, a fish
with short term memory loss. They bump into
sharks, jelly fish and turtles on their journey.
Whilst they are traveling the oceans, Nemo and
his friends stuck in a fish tank develop a plan to
What is also interesting is that it also shows the limitations of the
animation technique as the characters are made up of circles and
straight lines with very simple textures. It would be some time before
anything such as skin, fur or fabric could be created.
Directed by John Lasseter
LuxoJr is significant because it won the 1986
Oscar animated short film.
It showed potential due to the photo realistic
quality of the images and the beautiful use of
lighting. Hollywood was unsure of the
potential of computer animation after the
failure of Tron and Luxo. Jr changed some
Created by John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Andrew
Stanton and Joe Ranft.
His first appearance was in Toy Story during
The animated character Woody was voiced by
Tom Hanks – he was the biggest Hollywood
star at the time, that won Oscar’s for Forest
Gump and Philadelphia.
What makes Woody interesting is the fact he
is a toy. He also moves in a very different way
to other characters – he has more realistic
movements and somewhat like a puppet.
Sully is the protagonist of Pixar’s 2001
For the first time Pixar gave each character
their own specific animator.
John Kahrs was the animator for Sully (he has
since done Paperman) and won an oscar for
He has bear-like quality, therefore he has to
be slow and big (carry around a lot of weight).
He is significant because his realistic fur.
There is 2,320,413 hairs on Sully.
REYES – which stands for renders everything
you ever saw – was the first tool that was
developed by Pixar. REYES was one of the first
types of software that could create particle
This technology was mainly used for the
design of special effects for live action films
for instance one of the first successes was the
effects for the Genesis Project effect from Star
Trek 2: Wrath of Khan.
Moore’s Law & Steve Jobs
There was 2 significant events
that propelled the development
software forward. Firstly, the
consequences of Moore’s Law
which resulted in lowering the
costs in the development of
hardware secondly, Steve Job’s
purchase of the company in
1986. Jobs was the ideal CEO
due to his drive and his
background in developing
Pixar Image Computer
One product created was the Pixar Image
Computer that the company intended to sell to
other companies. It was designed make using
the traditional 2D paint method of animation
more efficient. Pixar sold the computer to
government agencies, the medical profession
and significantly Walt Disney – overall however
it was not successful and it even threatened
the future of the company.
The company moved away from hardware and
focused on software working on Renderman -
the first incarnation of RenderMan was as a
Macintosh program running on Motorola
68000/68030 processors, System 6 and
This is the software that they still use today
and is in constant development and it used to
render visual effects. Its strength is that it can
use separate processing power from other
computers, allowing users to continue working
Recently Pixar have moved on Meander – an
inhouse software that combines the ease of
computer graphics with the handdrawn quality
of 2D. It uses CGI a foundation and then allows
animators to map hand drawn visuals on top.
This technique was used in the recent Pixar