Woody’s Round Up 12/31/18

Pixar In Concert, RenderMan, Round-Ups, Toy Story 4, Video Game

Posted by Simoa • December 31, 2018

Gather round for the final installment of Woody’s Round Up for 2018!

Glimpses and Peeps

Surprisingly, the Parrs weren’t on Pixar’s holiday card this year. (Can’t help but imagine a version with Jack-Jack taking on that raccoon in a picturesque Christmas scene…) The card however is quite lovely, and features characters from the 2019 feature, Woody and…Bo Peep!

Some fans started to speculate that the original romantic storyline between Bo and Woody was scrapped altogether. But her inclusion in the holiday card should lay those doubts to rest. Pixar may be taking their time to reveal Bo Peep in any of Toy Story 4′s promo, but that doesn’t mean she’s gone forever. In fact, quite the opposite. Over the summer, Bo’s voice actress Annie Potts enthused about her big role in the film. And that’s not all – she may even be getting a new look! I think we’re all in for a great surprise come next June.

Pixar in Concert

This series will be heading to four cities in the UK in April 2019. This UK tour will feature iconic music by a live orchestra from Coco, Finding Dory, Cars, Cars 2, the first two Toy Story films, Monsters, Inc., and more. For more information, please visit Broadway World.

Final Battle

The wait for Kingdom Hearts: Final Battle is almost over. The game will be released in just a few more weeks, and a new trailer was unveiled this month. Some familiar Pixar faces make appearances, like Remy, Woody, Buzz, Mike and Sulley. This latest trailer is pretty dramatic and has plenty of exciting moments, as well as some perilous ones. Watch it below:

Renderman’s 30th

The software program that revolutionized the VFX industry and continues to garner awards for groundbreaking effects turned 30 this year. Renderman first got its start at Pixar and is still an integral part of the studio. There’s a video over at Wired that breaks down the software’s sprawling history in honor of its 30th anniversary.

Monsters, Inc. Manga

Another January release: Tokyopop’s Monsters, Inc. manga. Tokyopop has other Disney titles in its catalog but this is just the second Pixar film to get the manga treatment, joining Finding Nemo. The story hasn’t changed, although the characters have a much more cutesy look, except Roz. Cover art is designed by Philly Delphie and Hiromi Yamafuji gets author credit. The manga hits bookstores on January 8th.

We hope you’ve all had a fantastic year! Join us in 2019 for more Pixar news and in the countdown to Toy Story 4. And if you’re currently experiencing cold temps, let Pixar’s fireplace warm you up!

Happy New Year!

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Woody’s News Round-up! (3/23/15)

Jonas Rivera, Pete Docter, RenderMan, Round-Ups

Posted by Simoa • March 23, 2015

Quite a fair bit of Pixar news today!

rendermanFirst, Pixar just launched a new Renderman site. Pixar’s Renderman technology has shaped the visual effects in the studio’s animated films as well as those made outside of Pixar. The sleek new site is brimming with tons of great information and resources, as well as a free download of a noncommercial Renderman.




peteOver in Toronto, Pete Docter and producer Jonas Rivera appeared on Breakfast Television to talk about Inside Out and sing their praises of the voice cast. Pete mentions Amy Poehler, who voices Joy, was such an integral part in “creating the character and the whole story”, who they actually wrote with! And a nice little surprise: Pete provides the voice for Anger in Riley’s father’s head! Inside Out, which Jonas Rivera calls “a love letter to our kids”, is now three months away! (Image on the right courtesy of Pete Docter’s instagram).




And now some good news for fellow Bostonians: a new Pixar exhibit will open at the Museum of Science in June! Capture“The Science of Pixar” promises to be an enriching experience for fans and visitors to learn more about the filmmaking and animation process. From the website:

The Science of Pixar gives visitors a behind-the-scenes look at the process used to create Pixar’s groundbreaking and award-winning films. The exhibit highlights the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics (STEM) concepts used every day at Pixar. Hands-on activities and interactive exhibitsinvite visitors to experience different roles, such as lighting designer, animator, or modeler. Videos of real Pixar employees give first-hand accounts of the technological innovations that have revolutionized the field of computer animation.
Tickets for this amazing exhibit go on sale in April, while the opening day is slated for June 28, 2015. Many thanks to Stitch Kingdom for the heads up here.
Be sure to check back in for more news!




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Pixar Releases OpenSubdiv Beta to the Public!

Lou Romano, RenderMan, SIGGRAPH

Posted by Brkyo614 • August 6, 2012

Yesterday, SIGGRAPH 2012, an annual convention exhibiting advancements in computer graphics, opened its doors. To coincide with the expo, Pixar has decided to release a public beta for their new open source subdivision technology.

Pixar develops most of their technology in-house, and, aside from RenderMan, typically refrains from releasing it to the public. However, OpenSubdiv is open to modify and available for free on the project’s official website. The OpenSubdiv libraries allow for improved mesh subdivision, which means smoother object surfaces in the final product. Allegedly, this is the same code that the studio uses for their films.

Though most of this means nothing to the average Joe, a company like Pixar releasing free, open source technology is a significant step forward for smaller studios and aspiring CG artists. The first stable release of OpenSubdiv is scheduled to launch sometime this year.

Your thoughts?

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2011 RenderMan Booth + Walking Teapot Revealed!


Posted by Martin • August 9, 2011

On the eve of SIGGRAPH 2011, RenderMan’s Peter Moxom revealed a couple of fun tidibts that convention-goers will come across at this year’s CG gathering.

Last week we showed you a preview image of the latest Walking Teapot design. Now you can check out the fully revealed collectible right here, click to view larger. Needless to say, it’s one hot design!

Also via Moxom’s Twitter comes the layout of Pixar’s 2011 SIGGRAPH booth. As always, the folks behind RenderMan designed their display to go along with the studio’s latest release. The tire tracks were a nice touch, right?

runs from August 9-11 in Vancouver, BC.

Your thoughts?

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2011 RenderMan Teapot Silhouette Revealed!


Posted by Martin • August 4, 2011

For decades, hordes of eager industry professionals have flocked to SIGGRAPH to check out the latest innovations in CG.

Pixar is a staple of the conference, offering the most up-to-date in rendering technology. Ironically, the biggest lines tend to form for a considerably less high-tech commodity. Eager fans have been queuing each year to get their hands on the latest Walking Teapot, a small wind up toy produced to promote Pixar’s RenderMan product.

The official Facebook page for the much sought after collectible recently posted a silhouette of the 2011 iteration of the teapot. In the image, a landscape from an early CG animation test can be seen. As trends have shown, the teapot will most likely tie-into this year’s Pixar film, so expect to see Cars 2 theming when it’s fully revealed later this month.

Get your hands on your own Walking Teapot at SIGGRAPH 2011, running from August 9-11 in Vancouver, BC.

What do you predict this year’s Walking Teapot will look like?

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Pixar at SIGGRAPH 2010: Booth + Walking Teapot Revealed!


Posted by Martin • July 23, 2010

With Comic-Con in full swing, it’s easy to forget Pixar’s expansive presence at another big-time convention.

SIGGRAPH 2010 is right around the corner, and the studio’s RenderMan booth (seen to the right) is looking phenomenal! If you’ll be in attendance, stop by from July 27th through the 29th to get some free swag.

Remember the preview image from our exclusive interview with RenderMan’s Chris Ford? Well, the collectible teapot has finally been revealed! This year’s model resembles a Toy Story favorite — and here’s the tin it comes in.

But it’s not all about the free stuff. Make sure to stop by Pixar’s website for RenderMan’s speaker schedule. More information on the annual conference (held in Los Angeles this year) can be found on the official website.

Note: All images have been provided by RenderMan’s go-to guy, Peter Moxom

Will you be attending SIGGRAPH 2010?

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Exclusive: RenderMan’s Chris Ford Chats with Upcoming Pixar + 2010 Walking Teapot Preview!


Posted by Martin • April 29, 2010

For over 20 years, Pixar’s RenderMan has been raking in top accolades for its industry standard rendering capabilities.

Not only does this software "power" the studio’s films, but it’s also responsible for rendering "every single Visual Effects Academy Award winner over the past 16 years!" So, why don’t we hear much about the folks behind Pixar’s hidden gem? 

At Upcoming Pixar we’re here to change that, so we recruited the help of Business Director Chris Ford to spread the word. We met during our Pixar tour (with Renee Lamri) and from then on I knew this needed to be done!

Below, you’ll get insight on the rich history of the studio’s crucial software and some future plans to push its boundaries. We even learn about Pixar’s Seattle location, the iconic Walking Teapots (including a preview of this year’s "model"), and the Brain Trust’s involvement in development:

Upcoming Pixar: How would you describe Pixar’s RenderMan; rendering?
Chris Ford: RenderMan is the software technology developed by Pixar that is used to create the images you see on the movie screen for all of our films. Essentially, after all of the characters and sets have been designed, modeled, animated, textured, shaded and lit, rendering is the process in which the final high resolution cinematic image is created.

UP: If RenderMan were a superhero, what would his super power be?
CF: Why, RenderMan is Mr. Incredible! Mature and knowledgeable, still able to beat young upstarts, and perform amazing feats!

UP: What’s the origin story behind RenderMan (real or fictional) and how has the software evolved over the years?
CF: In 1988 Pixar released the RenderMan Interface Specification as a standard format for describing 3D data, and then in 1989 Pixar released a renderer based on that specification called Pixar’s PhotoRealistic RenderMan which is one of the most important technologies responsible for the revolution in visual effects and feature animation over the past 20 years.

This is certainly not to downplay the contributions of other technologies, but ultimately everything depends on being able to render images at such high quality that they can stand on their own merits or be convincingly blended with live-action. 

UP: In your opinion, how has RenderMan stayed on top for over 20 years?
CF: There are three key factors I would like to highlight. First, RenderMan is the product of a working animation studio which is critical to our long term success. Second and just as importantly, RenderMan is used by the entire visual effects industry and each day it is stress tested and pushed to the very limits. It is the ever increasing demands of visual effects as much as animated feature films that keeps us on our toes and advancing the state of the art. The third key factor is the RenderMan community itself… it is the spirit of cooperation, feedback, and communication between all of us that keeps RenderMan ahead of the curve.

UP: RenderMan has been implemented on blockbusters like Jurassic Park, and more recently Star Trek and Avatar. What’s the philosophy behind licensing the technology to third parties instead of just using it in-house?
CF: It is certainly beneficial to Pixar that the entire feature film industry is continually pushing RenderMan’s limits and the same is true in reverse. There are always new effects and techniques that different studios want to use that have often already been tested and used in other productions. There is no substitute for broad exposure across the industry and Pixar would not be able to exercise the creative options it has done without the beneficial feedback that all RenderMan users have provided. It’s a win-win for everyone.

UP: What role does Pixar’s Brain Trust of directors play in the development of new versions of RenderMan?
CF: Our Directors are always looking for distinctive visual styles and effects for our films and this certainly drives our development. We all learn from each other. John Lasseter put it very well when he said that "Art challenges the technology, and technology inspires the art. That’s it in a nutshell the way we work at Pixar."

UP: Was there any Pixar film (or films) that pushed RenderMan to its limit during production?
CF: They all do in different ways! For example, Monsters, Inc. pushed hair and fur rendering, Nemo pushed underwater lighting effects, and Ratatouille raised the bar overall on sheer visual complexity and realism, just taste that delicious digital food!

UP: Tell us a little bit about the separate RenderMan offices in Seattle, WA.
CF: Much of the RenderMan team is actually located in Seattle in Pioneer Square’s Smith Tower [the city’s oldest skyscraper.] One advantage to having a separate location is that the team is highly focused on rendering specifically and independent of the daily demands and rhythms of the studio. We also have members of the RenderMan team who are located in our main Emeryville studio and who work with each production. This separation is a useful discipline that keeps us focused on the core quality values of RenderMan.

UP: What’s the story behind those Walking Teapots?
CF: Pixar’s RenderMan walking teapot is sort of an industry joke, which began as homage to Martin Newell’s Utah teapot. Martin created the original Utah teapot in 1974… today most people working in CG know about what is now an icon.

In 2003, Pixar’s Dylan Sisson had a brainstorm to take the iconic Utah teapot and put legs on it and voila, the “walking teapot” was born. For the last seven years, Pixar has handed out walking teapots at the SIGGRAPH computer graphics industry event. [T]he walking teapot gets a new look [every year], and it’s become something of an underground sensation.

UP: What’s the next big thing for RenderMan?
CF: The first rule of rendering is that you can never have enough! It is a given that in future RenderMan will handle more data, create ever greater visual detail and realism, and every Director will still want more! One new technology we are currently working on is called re-rendering which enables Technical Directors to more effectively interact in real time with lighting and shading before committing to a final full resolution render that traditionally can take hours. We continue to put a lot of effort into making the user experience of RenderMan as accessible as possible to a wider audience.


I’d like to thank Chris Ford for his time and hope our readers enjoy his perspective on Pixar’s less talked about innovation.

For more information, check out RenderMan’s recently refurbished official website. Also, make sure to "like" Walking Teapots on Facebook — it’s the official fan page!

Can any of you guess what Pixar character the Walking Teapot silhouette is "dressed up" as? Personally, I’m not so sure.

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Snazzy: 3D Glasses RenderMan Walking Teapot

Pixar, RenderMan

Posted by Martin • September 15, 2009

I didn’t do a very good job covering Pixar’s presence at this year’s SIGGRAPH but I did stumble upon something I think you guys will love.

As you may or may not know, each year since ’03 Pixar’s RenderMan has given out a limited amount of walking teapots at their booth. This year’s release celebrates the studios’s first feature film in stereoscopic 3D. Naturally, the wind-up china is wearing anaglyph glasses; the box itself is even in 3D! 

You can learn more about the RenderMan walking teapot tradition in this article from SIGGRAPH. Visit Pixar’s special page dedicated to the wind-up toys for more including downloadable wallpaper and a gallery of fan photos.

I don’t own any of these but I’m wondering if anyone here has a collection. Please tell us about it in the comments!

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Brand New RenderMan Site is Now Live

Monsters, Inc., Official Website, Online, Pixar, RenderMan

Posted by Martin • July 31, 2009

It is an event when Pixar’s website is updated, and an even bigger one when a major portion is redesigned!

The RenderMan portal of has just launched with a brand new design. The industry standard in rendering has been the leader for over 20 years and this website celebrates how truly epic that is! Included in the page is information for professionals and curious fans alike.

In the "What’s RenderMan?" section you’ll find information about the product itself such as awards it’s won/movies it’s been used for, specific technical specifications, FAQs and more. As you delve further into the site you’ll notice a selection of RenderMan products and links with information for purchasing titled: "The Tools." There’s also a "News" area featuring press releases, testimonials and the such. Finally you’ll see the "Support" section which is meant for those in the industry who have purchased the software.

There’s lots to look at but remember, much of the facilities on this branch of are meant for professionals only, so I’d advise you to please respect that.

Related: Speaking of websites, Jim Hill Media is reporting that Disney has just registered the domain MONSTERS2.COM, clearly another clue pointing towards the rumored sequel.

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RenderMan Studio 2.0 & RenderMan for Maya 3.0 Now Available!


Posted by Martin • May 10, 2009

Here’s a post for the tech professionals. Updated versions of Pixar’s award winning rendering software, RenderMan, have now been released.

RenderMan Studio 2.0 is a more customizable version of its predecessor with more features and is available for $3500. Studio 2.0 also comes with an update to Slim, Pixar’s lighting software. If you own this product, you can update it now for $400. RenderMan for Maya 3.0 allows users of the animation software to render their movies with full compatibility to Maya 2009, available for $995. This version can be updated starting for $295. The software has aided in the rendering of hundreds of films, including the Pixar library.

Each product is available at Pixar’s RenderMan online store.
Note: You may remeber, RenderMan celebrated it’s 20th anniversary not too long ago, it’s great to see it still being the industry leader after all this time.

(via VFXWorld)

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