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Character animation at Pixar in 1995

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Just stumbled upon this incredible little documentary on how they used to animate characters at Pixar circa 1993 and figured I'd share it with you guys.



P.S Can anyone recognize the software they were using?

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What I find funny is that it looks like a very small animation studio, just two guys in a totally silent environment. I guess it was kind of the case back then but must have a changed a lot today.

No idea what the software is.

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  • Silver Contributor

Wow, that's great. Everyone making 3D for movies back then always used Silicone Graphics computers. Maybe have been Unix based. At first I thought it was a NeXT computer, which would make sense since Steve Jobs owned it. 


I'm also amazed at how great the animation was considering the process was very non-artist friendly. Like a programmer who wrote the software being asked to create the artistic portion of the movie as well. I can't imagine not being able to pose a character on-screen, but relying on a spreadsheet looking thing. Crazy.


Thanks for posting.

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Interesting......thanks for sharing.  I did not listen to the audio as I am in an airport (killing time until my next flight) and probably couldn't hear it anyway.


The spreadsheet looks like a numerical representation of the animation curves for each object.  If you notice, you can scroll left or right within each cell and the object's position updates accordingly.  Not too much different than what you have today.  The spreadsheet is just an early version of the animation tracks showing the keyframes  and you right click on each keyframe to get their numerical values.


Also, at that time, Pixar's animation software was home grown.  I say "at that time" as I am not sure if their animation software (I think it is called "Marionette") has been replaced by something commercially available.  



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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/7/2018 at 9:45 AM, BigAl3D said:

Wow, that's great. Everyone making 3D for movies back then always used Silicone Graphics computers.


SGI confirmed. :)


Screen grab from the longer behind the scenes documentary.



Screen Shot 2018-12-19 at 10.50.50 AM.png

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