In many ways, Pixar Studios revitalized the movie industry when it brought Toy Story to the big screen in 1995. The studio turned digital animation into a multi-million dollar business, by enabling the medium to reach older demographics. However, Pixar was not always this successful, the studio nearly went bankrupt before releasing Toy Story; they managed to stay afloat by taking on commercial projects on behalf of Tropicana, Listerine, and Lifesavers.
Recently however, Toy Story 3 went on to win 2 Oscars, and is on its way to exceeding $400 million in profits and further expanding the demographic reach of Pixar, according to a recent New York Times article.
In 2005, a remarkable panel of Pixar’s best talent gave a talk entitled “A Human Story of Computer Animation” at the Computer History Museum. Featuring computer animation pioneers Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith (Co-Founders of Pixar) alongside a few others, the talk captured Pixar’s technical history in a very careful and precise manner. It demonstrated just how intertwined the development of digital animation has been with other technological innovation since the ’60s. Many of its pioneers worked alongside technology enthusiasts at Xerox, Adobe, Lucasfilm, and Apple. And it is this industry knowledge that has helped Pixar to outpace Disney, and eventually forcing the struggling corporate giant to purchase Pixar.
NYTimes blogger Melena Ryzik recently got a behind-the-scenes look into Pixar Studios. The video below illustrates the detailed work that went into creating the world of Toy Story 3 and also reveals how interior design has enriched the workplace at Pixar.