Pixar Not Doing Special Effects says Catmull

Animation, Ed Catmull, Live Action, Pixar, SIGGRAPH

Posted by Thomas • August 12, 2008

Instead of tech-talk, SIGGRAPH veteran, Ed Catmull is back at the convention he calls his “home community” to talk about managing Pixar’s creative environment.

He spoke at the convention about the early days and how he’s tried and failed and learned from his mistakes to build such an outstanding company (Pixar) to what it is today. Catmull says Pixar’s success comes from change, and how they always do something new.

One thing the technical guru and WDAS/Pixar president says will not change anytime soon, is the fact that Pixar is an animation studio, and they plan to focus on that. As you may know, Pixar directors Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton are venturing into the live-action medium and involving Pixar in some way. Just like in WALL-E, Catmull shares that Pixar won’t do the special effects or live-action on these films: “…we don’t want to turn Pixar into a live action studio. In fact, the intent is that the special effects will not be done at Pixar.” Instead, Pixar plans to support the directors vision in any way possible.

In which way will this be? We’ll find out in time. Read this article from AWN for more information on Ed’s keynote speech.

Article written by martini883. Thanks martini883.

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Spline Doctors Interview Doug Sweetland

Animation, Interview, Pixar Employees, Presto

Posted by Thomas • July 19, 2008

The Spline Doctors have posted part one of an interview with Presto director and Pixarian, Doug Sweetland. 

You can find it here on the iTunes Store.
Thanks Martin for the reminder.

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Carlos Baena Seminar: Demo Reel “Do’s & Don’ts”

Animation, Pixar Employees

Posted by Thomas • July 2, 2008

Just briefly, Carlos Baena, Pixar animator and Animation mentor, will be hosting a web seminar on the common mistakes animators make when creating their demo reel. He will also give tips to make your reel stand out. 

Sign up for this free event here
Thanks Brad.

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A Comparison: Pixar and The Beatles

Animation, Pixar, Ratatouille, WALL-E

Posted by Thomas • June 29, 2008

I was just sent this interesting post that compares Pixar to The Beatles. That is WALL•E is to Pixar as what Rubber Soul was to The Beatles, Help! was Ratatouille. The writer, Daniel Thomas, looks at how we are coming to point where technological advancement in CGI movies will plateau and we will have to rely on developing our stories and characters. 

Pixar broke open the boundaries of computer graphics animation with Toy Story, and this is where their Phase Two begins. This movie is the archetype that all CGI cartoons still model themselves after. Really, is it possible to imagine any Hollywood animated movie without Toy Story?

says Thomas.

Pixar are now firmly into Phase Three, their Rubber Soul period. It’s much like the Second Miles Davis Quintet, which spanned the middle to late 1960’s.

Thomas then talks about how Western animation is seen as a surrogate baby sitter for parents. I’d say I have to agree. We have it firmly fixed in our minds that animation is just for children. Only now are we starting to realise it’s not just for children. It’s taking Miyazaki and Ghibli to show us this and Thomas goes on to talk about them too.  

If you are interested, take a gander here.

Thanks Oswald. 

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Pixar At UK Animation Workshop

Animation, Pixar, Pixar Employees

Posted by Thomas • June 6, 2008

MacVideo reports that there is a 2 day course on June 10/11 with Pixar animator, Andrew Gordon at Escape Studios in London,UK.

During the two days, Gordon will cover all aspects of character animation craft in extraordinary detail. He’ll review the basic principles, staging and pose design as well as advanced techniques for gestures, face and hand animation. He’ll also be demonstrating the high-level polishing techniques used to lift a shot from being good, to being great.

Tickets are £300 for the two days, and can be bought here.

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WALL•E Progression Sequence

Animation, WALL-E

Posted by Thomas • June 6, 2008

Chinese site, Movie Soon HK displays a scene from WALL•E in its progression from storyboards to the final rendered scene. It is an 8 step process that includes three steps before animation begins, followed by another four steps to get to the final product.

Check it out here
Thanks Seven.

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Katzenberg Has Pixar Envy

Animation, Pixar

Posted by Thomas • May 19, 2008

Metro News has a story on DreamWorks Animation SKG CEO, Jeffery Katzenberg. The reporter, David Germain asked the question, "Is there any Pixar envy at DeamWorks?". "Of course, there is," replied Katzenberg. "Envy’s a good thing, not a bad thing in this." 

Katzenberg goes on to say, he envy’s the "consistency and the quality of the work that they’ve done." He says Pixar have done an amazing job. And he’s right isn’t he? We can’t blame him for speaking the truth.

I just hope Kung Fu Panda is as good as they say it is, just to give the folks at Pixar a run for their money and keep them on their toes.  Read Katzenberg’s full comments here

Thanks Terry.

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CGSociety Interview Andrew Gordon

2D Animation, Animation, Interview, Pixar, Pixar Employees

Posted by Thomas • May 2, 2008

After a little delay with website issues, CGSociety caught up with and interviewed Pixar animator, Andrew Gordon, while in Melbourne for an Autodesk sponsored presentation. 

They chat about Gordon’s teaching career which includes the Academy of Art University, CSU Summer Arts and Animation Mentor. They also chat Pixar, 2D animation, the Spline Doctors and more. 

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Brad Bird on Fostering Innovation

Animation, Brad Bird, Interview, Pixar, Steve Jobs

Posted by Thomas • April 29, 2008

The McKinsey Quarter interviewed Brad Bird on innovation recently, and Gigaom have provided a run down of the article for us. 

There are 9 lessons in total on fostering innovation. These include, "Herd your Black Sheep", "Perfect is the enemy of innovation", and "High morale makes creativity cheap". One bit I found particularly interesting is this on Pixar HQ:

Then there’s our building. Steve Jobs basically designed this building. In the center, he created this big atrium area, which seems initially like a waste of space. The reason he did it was that everybody goes off and works in their individual areas. People who work on software code are here, people who animate are there, and people who do designs are over there. Steve put the mailboxes, the meetings rooms, the cafeteria, and, most insidiously and brilliantly, the bathrooms in the center—which initially drove us crazy—so that you run into everybody during the course of a day. [Jobs] realized that when people run into each other, when they make eye contact, things happen. So he made it impossible for you not to run into the rest of the company.

Check out hte rest over at Gigaom. Thanks Jan.

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John Lasseter in Bee Movie?

A Bug's Life, Animation, John Lasseter

Posted by Thomas • April 29, 2008

Jim Hill takes a look at a potential stab at John Lasseter at the end (pictured) of Jerry Seinfeld’s Dreamwork’s flick, Bee Movie

Hill says that this came about after a chat between Lasseter and Seinfeld at Vanity Fair’s 2006 Oscar Party. The story goes that the topic of Antz/A Bug’s Life came up and how purportedly, Jeffery Katzenberg "stole" the idea from Pixar. The conversation then ended with Lasseter warning Seinfeld about Katzenberg. Now Seinfeld took a little offense to this, as he now considers Katzenberg a close friend after working for quite a few years getting Bee Movie made. Seinfeld then made the efforts to get this little part put into the ending of the movie. 
Head on over to Jim Hill Media for the full details.
Image copyright DreamWorks Animation, 2007. All Rights Reserved.

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