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Pixar's Scientific Method

Pixar s Scientific Method The New Yorker


Catmull, a bearded seventy-year-old genius with the air of a math-curious Bob Balaban, helped develop many of Pixar’s pioneering computer-animation technologies. I was there to walk through the exhibit with him; he was seeing it for the first time that day. We began in front of a huge model of Buzz Lightyear, astronaut toy hero. “I founded the company and did a lot of the original technical work,” Catmull said. “Initially there was no field, so we were bringing people out of academia. A lot of the original art and math and science came from the people who had their Ph.D.s in this area and were working on a set of problems. When I graduated, my goal was to make the first computer-animated film. I figured it would take ten years, because I knew there was a whole bunch of work in front of us; it took twenty.” Catmull graduated in 1974; he and his peers worked for Lucasfilm, Steve Jobs, and then Disney, developing technologies like RenderMan, a 3-D-rendering program, along the way. “Toy Story,” the first fully computer-animated movie, came out in 1995. 

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I find the science of Pixar fascinating and I wonder why more organizations don't work this way.

By the way I really dislike the new New Yorker paywall. I can't read this article.