Pixar started out as Lucasfilm’s animation division in 1979. It was called Graphics Group. George Lucas supposedly started this division to handle the custom 3D tasks created by the film “Star Wars.” Although not the first film to use custom 3D CG, it was “Star Wars” that first brought it to the public’s attention and many films using the technology followed.
During the 1980’s, it became known as a pioneering research center in the CG world, but it was unknown outside of this specialized community. It worked on animated sequences of Lucasfilm’s feature-lengths and also spent time conducting research and experimentation, the results of which would eventually become the CG we know today.
In 1986, it was bought by Steve Jobs and christened “Pixar.” The next year it produced its first animated short, “Red’s Dream.” Although it looks primitive by today’s standards, this short was nominated for an Academy Award, and won other awards in the computer animation world.
The Feature-Length Animated Film That Changed Everything
One film took Pixar from a research center only known in the CG community to a household name. This film was 1995’s “Toy Story.” “Toy Story” was the first feature-length film created completely with custom 3D computer graphics. It showed the world images that had never been seen before.
“Toy Story” was originally planned as a 30-minute Christmas special for television. Disney, which was licensed to handle Pixar’s marketing and distribution, saw the film and realized its potential. Executives at Disney did the math and realize it would be a huge hit. They suggested to Pixar that it produce “Toy Story” as a full length, and they were happy to oblige. Disney was right; it was a box office smash.
Following “Toy Story,” Pixar produced 10 more feature-length films completely made with custom 3D computer graphics. They’ve all been huge hits that are among the highest grossing films in history. “Toy Story 3” is the highest grossing animated feature film of all time. Each of these films was an innovation over the previous one. It’s easy to see how Pixar is challenging the boundaries of CG to see what else can be done with the medium.
All of these films were distributed and marketed by Disney. In 2004, following disagreements over the sequel and story rights of “Toy Story 2,” Pixar and Disney had a falling out. This led to the 2006 purchase of Pixar by Disney. Part of the deal was that Pixar would be allowed complete creative control over its productions, a rare privilege for people who work with Disney.
Pixar has become one of if not the most successful animation studios of our time. The studio has won several Academy Awards for their work with computers to create a new generation of films. The studio has been recognized for their innovation of computer graphics for the film making industry. Without these technological advances animation films could not be what they are today. Pixar has recently teamed up with Disney to make some of the most successful animated films. In this article I will discuss Pixar’s purpose, technological advancements in the animation film, their films, their partnership with Disney, and their success as a studio.
According to Pixar’s website their objective is to combine proprietary technological and world-class creative talent to develop computer-animated feature films with memorable character and heartwarming stories that appeal to audiences of all ages. This purpose statement can also be seen as a mission statement. It is not product oriented, for instance it does not say we are going to create films about a specific topic thus limiting them from expanding. By defining their audience to be of all ages they are allowing themselves to enter into many genres and not limiting themselves to childhood animation.
Pixar has released nine movies in the past thirteen years each grossing over $360 Million dollars worldwide. Pixar is credited with being most beneficial companies in the animation who knows maybe animation films may still be being made by hand as two dimensional draws. With their help things are much easier for everyone involved in the film making and the payoff is great for the audiences who fell in love with animated movies.
This post brought to you by 808 Photo Kings Honolulu. Thank you for your support – stay tuned for more!