From 1979 to 1989, the fledgling digital animation company Pixar would evolve from the computer division of Lucasfilm and prove it can stand on its own. In 1984, when Pixar made their first short called The Adventures of André and Wally B (1984), they were still the “LucasFilm Computer Graphics Project.” For the time during which it was made, the short demonstrated, in the Pixar website’s own words, “ground-breaking technology such as complex flexible characters, hand-painted textures, and motion blur.” (Pixar 2016) It created a narrative using animation technology that no other film studio was using at the time. However, compared to what Pixar would make in later years, this was only the beginning. The characters from André and Wally B (1984) were put together using very simple shapes and movements and the film was incredibly short, being roughly two minutes long. Then, in 1986, Steve Jobs purchased Lucasfilm’s Computer Division and establishes it as an independent company called “Pixar.”
As of the last four years, Pixar has advanced in huge ways technologically. Take Brave (Chapman and Andrews 2012), for example, which demonstrates a vast improvement in animation through realistic hair on humans and animals and expressive, uniquely designed human characters. These two aspects of the film’s animation have grown from previous Pixar films. In Monster’s, Inc. (Docter, Silverman, and Unkrich 2001), Pixar brought one of the film’s main characters, Sully, to life by individually animating each hair on his body. Similarly, the bears in Brave (2012) have fur coats composed of individually animated hairs that are detailed to the extent that they respond realistically to being soaked in water. The Incredibles (Bird 2004) was the first Pixar film to make humans the main characters and give them a wider range of facial expressions and body types. Brave (2012) continues this trend with its uniquely designed human characters, ranging from the large, imposing, and boisterous King Fergus to the youthful, scrappy, and confident Merida. Since Brave (2012), With their films such as Inside Out (Docter 2015), Finding Dory (Stanton and MacClane 2016), and the upcoming film Coco (Unkrich 2017), Pixar continues to prove itself the pioneer of animated feature films in the modern film industry.
“The Pixar Timeline 1979 to Present.” Pixar, 2016, http://www.pixar.com/about/Our-Story. Accessed 4 Oct 2016.