Tuesday, 17 April 2012

Animator Profile: Pixar Studios

Figure 1: Pixar Studios

   Based in California, Pixar Animation Studios was originally an independent company before being bought by Disney. Pixar which specialises in computer generated animation. Some may even consider it to be the new Disney in CG animation as Austin Bunn speculates in his article written after a visit to Pixar Studios.

   “Pixar hasn't just turned into the new Disney. It has out-Disneyed Disney, becoming the apprentice that schooled the sorcerer.” (Bunn, 2004)

   Originally, it was a company devoted to the experimentation of 3D technology in order to see what limits they could push and they have succeeded in doing so to essentially bring new height and expectations to the world of CG film. It is arguable that Pixar has become the birthplace of the CG film movement.

   It is arguable that the innovativeness of Pixar has killed off any hopes of 2D becoming the mainstream way of creating animated films, but can be proved otherwise with more and more 2D animation beginning to gradually come back into play, if not only to sate the feeling of nostalgia that some audiences have.

   Pixar is best known for its moving and family-friendly animated features such as the Toy Story franchise, The Incredibles and Monsters Inc.

   The company is a significant figurehead within the world of animation due to how successfully it brought to light the advent of 3D technology. However, they were only doing meagre commercials for clients in the beginning and it was only when they presented the innovative realism of their “Renderman” that the company grew positive, critical acclaim. Even after their rise to fame, their innovative efforts haven't stopped there. They have continued to push the limits of CG animation in order to create animations that are more realistic, even while still pushing back the creep of the uncanny with ease. This is what makes Pixar a company for all CG animators to look up to; they strive to further their efforts, to push boundaries and break bars. However, simply pushing the bar isn't the only reason for their success.

   Pixar excels in original, comprehensive, yet touching and emotion-provoking story-telling. Their character design is charming and truly their own. The genres of story are familiar to us, but are told in such a way that it becomes a completely new move that nobody has seen before. It isn't an easy task for most animators or animation companies to create an original story with an original cast of characters, most of the ideas being presented nowadays have been recycles over and over again, but Pixar achieves originality and perfects it. 

   Take their 2008 film 'Wall-E' as a prime example of this. Even though neither robot is given any dialogue beyond simple sentences, the story surrounding the two main protagonists, Wall-E and EVE, tugs at heart-strings and jerks tears. 

We can empathise with both characters and become emotionally attached even though they are just simple machines; nothing more than just personified material objects.. There aren't many other film companies that share this magical touch that Pixar has. Roger Ebert mentions this.

“...here is a film, like “Finding Nemo,” that you can enjoy even if you’ve grown up. That it works largely without spoken dialogue is all the more astonishing; it can easily cross language barriers, which is all the better, considering that it tells a planetary story.” (Ebert, 2008)

   Ebert explains that the stories that Pixar can tell are able to be understood by all audiences. This is especially true with the the story behind Wall-E. It is a simple love story set in the future, but told in a way that everyone can relate to and this is where Pixar truly shines.

   Pixar is truly a company that excels at its profession: to create touching films that can be enjoyed by all whether the viewer is young or old. Their originality and their unique story telling should be remembered for years to come.


Bunn, Austin. (2004) Welcome to Planet Pixar
http://www.wired.com/wired/archive/12.06/pixar.html?pg=1&topic=pixar&topic_set (Accessed on: 17/04/12)


Fig. 1. Pixar Studios [Online image] http://www.italymag.co.uk/italy/pixar/pixar-set-next-animated-film-florence (Accessed 17/04/2012)

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