As one of America's most beloved film and animation studios, there are plenty of fun facts about Pixar that everyone knows. For instance, everyone knows about their easter eggs and in-jokes like "A113" and the Pizza Planet truck. But despite the studio priding themselves on all their interesting quirks, there are plenty of facts about Pixar that most people don't know. That being said, here are 10 things you (probably) didn't know about Pixar!
The First Composite
In 1985, a film was released called Young Sherlock Holmes. As the title suggests, the film focuses on an adventure of the famous detective himself in a more adolescent stage. The mystery at hand involves certain people having vivid hallucinations leading to their demises.
One of the hallucinations in the film is that of a priest who sees a knight from a stained glass window come to life and attack him. The knight was the first computer-generated composite in movie history, and it was executed by none other than Pixar animation studios (then part of Lucasfilm's Industrial Light & Magic division; we'll get to that later)!
Pixar is a filetype! A ".pxr" file is an image format which came from Pixar's Image Computer (produced when they were The Graphics Group. Again, we'll get to that later). The filetype is actually still supported by some photo editors and other software like Photoshop!
Taking it to the Streets
Sesame Street, one of the most popular shows on television, is usually remembered for its segments with Jim Henson's muppet characters. But if you're familiar with the show, you'll know that it also consists of various shorts (some animated, some not) designed to educate or entertain.
In the early 90s, Pixar actually produced four animated shorts that were shown on Sesame Street. The shorts starred Luxo and Luxo Jr.—Pixar's infamous mascot—and taught kids about weights and directions. The photo here is from a short entitled "Surprise."
Shorts for Everyone
Throughout their early lifespan, Pixar was commissioned by several companies to produce animate shorts (mainly for commercials). These shorts were commissioned for companies including Tropicana, Trident, Listerine, IBM, Volkswagen, and Kellogg's.
What's even more interesting is that Pixar actually did some work for other movie studios. The Paramount logo from 1994 was actually produced by Pixar.
If you've ever watched a DVD, you're no stranger to this: you press "play" on the menu, but after you do, instead of the movie starting, you get the THX logo accompanied by its unforgettable sound effect. The splash animation was actually one of Pixar's commissioned jobs from above. Which is funny considering . . . well, we'll get to that later.
But do you remember how, sometimes, the THX logo will "break," and a little robot will come in to fix it? Well, his name is Tex, and he's a Pixar original too. He was, in fact, created by Pixar legend John Lasseter.
Lucasfilm and Other Jobs
What came to be was a new addition to Lucasfilm's ILM called "The Graphics Group." In a world where practical special effects were still the norm, The Graphics Group sought to produce groundbreaking computer-generated special effects instead. Remember the Genesis effect in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan? This was some of The Graphics Group's first work. The organization even produced its own hardware: the Pixar Image Computer (which is where the file format came from).
However, it came to be in the mid 80s, after they had even produced their own short (The Adventures of Andre & Wally B), George Lucas decided to sell the now-called Pixar away, and the new owner was none other than Steve Jobs. Jobs saw Pixar through to their success, and it's no doubt that his knack for innovation is part of why the studio has been so successful.
Now here's the funny part . . . In 2006, Disney purchased Pixar. Six years later, Disney bought Lucasfilm . . . what an inception!
The Non-Pinocchio Marionette
Pixar uses their own, proprietary animation software, called "Marionette." Apparently, how the software works (its interface, style, etc.) is practically unknown outside of Pixar. They use this proprietary software so that they can update it to meet their needs.
They also have their own rendering software, aptly called "Pixar's RenderMan."
He appeared first (naturally) in Toy Story as Hamm the piggy bank, then as PT Flea in A Bug's Life. Since Pixar's third film was a sequel to Toy Story, he returned to reprise his role as Hamm. By that point, he had become a regular at Pixar, so he's now referred to as their "good luck charm," which is fitting!
A list of his roles in every Pixar film is as follows:
- Toy Story series: Hamm
- A Bug's Life: PT Flea
- Monsters series: Abominable Snowman
- Finding Nemo: School of Moonfish
- The Incredibles: The Underminer
- Cars series: Mack
- Ratatouille: Mustafa the waiter
- Wall•e: John
- Up: Tom the foreman
- Brave: Gordon
- Inside Out: Fritz
- The Good Dinosaur: Earl
- Finding Dory: Bill the crab
Ironically, one of Pixar's most beloved films (in their most beloved series, mind you) almost didn't even make it to theaters. At the time (the late 1990s), Disney didn't yet own Pixar—Disney only distributed their films. Disney originally envisioned Pixar's Toy Story 2 as a direct-to-video sequel, and it was actually written outside of Pixar. However, since the script seemed so incredible, Disney upgraded the film to a theatrical release, handing it over to Pixar.
This is the second article as a part of 2016's Pixar Month! Check out the already posted articles under the "Pixar Month 2016" tag, and come back to be on the lookout for more!