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In case you didn’t know where the Pixar logo comes from

Last week, I got caught up on a couple of Pixar flicks I missed on release (Tangled and Brave). A great joy. I’ve been a huge animation fan since forever and a computer graphics perfeshunal since pretty much the beginning, so it’s a cinch I’m a ginormous fan of 3D animation.

Damn, but the early stuff was awful. I had a friend who dated a guy who wrote software for 3D modeling in the early 80s. I thought that was the shit. They had this big expensive rig that built and animated a 3-D teapot. I think it took, like, three days to render a single freaking teapot. And it looked like ass. I loved it.

In 1988, I got to go to SIGGRAPH for the first and only time, and there I saw my very first Pixar film. Which was THE very first Pixar film — or at least the first one released under the name Pixar.

I still think Luxo jr is a masterpiece of character animation. I’m not alone. When it first started to roll — given when this was made — I think most of us just expected a render test (Pixar made their money selling dedicated animation hardware and software in those days). I was not expecting a clean, simple, brilliant short film.

Sadly, this was 1988, so I also got to see Pixar’s second and third releases at the same sitting — Red’s Dream and Tin Toy. Oh, jesus, that godawful clown! Oh god, that hideous lumpy baby! Brrrrrrr.

Even now. Every single time Pixar tries to do realistic humans — oh that Uncanny Valley!


Comment from feynmangroupie
Time: November 15, 2013, 1:12 am

Ok, those were the stuff of nightmares. You’d think they would have recognized that they were terrifying and acknowledged by turning it into a horror flick. It would have been much easier to stomach the evil, if it wasn’t presented in such a benign and “charming” context.

Comment from weasel tablet
Time: November 15, 2013, 1:33 am

FG, Tin Toy won a f!ipping Oscar.

Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: November 15, 2013, 3:27 am

I really enjoyed Tangled and Brave, they were lots of fun.

Comment from Nina
Time: November 15, 2013, 4:21 am

I totally agree, I liked them both. I hope the new one set in Norway is good, too. Kickass princesses!

Comment from TimB52
Time: November 15, 2013, 5:14 am

Yes, I remember the olden CG days well. An except of this video (the night scene) was used as screensaver on the very first Apollo computers. We thought it was cool beans. Also thought this stuff was awesome too back in the day. I have it on VHS!

Pretty amazing how far it’s progressed. You can hardly believe anything you see on a screen anymore.

Comment from Oceania
Time: November 15, 2013, 6:20 am

Sorry to hear that Cascade has passed away today …
I didn’t realise it was a …

Comment from BJM
Time: November 15, 2013, 4:58 pm

Mebbe you’ve been following the Cyan kickstarter, or maybe not, (they reached the funding goal) they’ve been giving backers a little glimpse of the awesomeness of the U4 engine.


I loved “Brave”!

Comment from surly ermine
Time: November 15, 2013, 5:06 pm

I love the archery competition scene in Brave. Reminds me of my wife and daughter…hard headed people.


Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2013, 6:10 pm

The rigging and animation of Mama Bear in Brave was just an absolute joy. I’m amazed, after seeing clips from the movie occasionally, that that part wasn’t spoilered. It was the main plot device and I hadn’t seen it. Delightful work.

Comment from David Gillies
Time: November 15, 2013, 8:35 pm

I really liked both of them. Wreck-it Ralph was excellent too. Strictly speaking Brave was Disney Pixar and Tangled was Disney Animation Studios. I think Tangled was the most expensive animated movie of all time ($260 million). Sometimes it pays to pause these things on an HD monitor (i.e. 1920×1080 or higher) and just look. The opening sequence shot in Brave is a fully-realised world. Or the tracking shot of the chase out of the city in Tangled. There’s stuff there you simply wouldn’t think to look for. This goes a long way to explain the cost. The hardware isn’t the most expensive thing. Many years ago I saw a Silicon Graphics Reality Engine rendering a real-time flight simulator at MacWorld in Earls Court. That was a quarter of a million quid, and now a PlayStation 4 blows it out of the water.

The outro song in Tangled was by Grace Potter, who is utterly awesome.

Comment from Bob Mulroy
Time: November 15, 2013, 9:10 pm

Awesome new site, share it with everybody!


Comment from Christopher Taylor
Time: November 15, 2013, 11:09 pm

Wreck-It Ralph was terrific.

The mom bear was wonderful, so much personality and expression without losing her identity as a bear. Best part of the movie.

Comment from Feynmangroupie
Time: November 15, 2013, 11:54 pm

I hate Shrek. There, I said it. Do what you will.

Comment from S. Weasel
Time: November 15, 2013, 11:59 pm

Oh, god, FG — I totally hated Shrek. Well, I only saw the first one. But the plot is…princess traveling with ogre is desperate to hide the fact she’s an ogre? Because, that would really put him off or something?

Fuck that, I’m out.

Comment from LesterIII
Time: November 16, 2013, 12:06 am

I first saw “Luxo Jr” in 1990. It was the ‘Opening Short’ when I saw the insanely awful “Dark Angel” (AKA “I come In Peace”) starring Dolph Lundgren. Don’t harass me for my movie choice. We were a bunch of Jarheads in NYC for a security detail and had 6hrs to fuckoff with and couldn’t go very far or drink (duty and all that came with). The little neighborhood theatre was showing this and a chick flick. Hmmm, which to see to kill a few hours when booze isn’t an option?

The contrast between “Luxo Jr” and the horrendous “I Come In Peace” made it forever fond in my memory.

Comment from surly ermine
Time: November 16, 2013, 3:43 am

Some serious uncanny valley in “The Polar Express”. And way to hog all the roles Tom.

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