A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Pixar Animation Studios

Pixar in a Box

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Pixar Animation Studios

Ever since my Disney press trip to San Francisco and my amazing Pixar Animation Studios tour I have been completely obsessed with everything Pixar! It was an incredible experience I will never forget. I was able to go behind-the-scenes of Pixar. I learned more about camera & lighting, a day in the life of animators, script to screentravel inside the mind of Disney Pixar’s Inside Out and was even able to speak with The Minds Behind Inside Out. Now you can get a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Animation Studios too!

Khan Academy just launched Pixar in a Box, a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process. It’s a free online curriculum that shows how Pixar filmmakers use science, technology, engineering, art and math to create movie magic.Khan Academy

The new online resource is live on KhanAcademy.org. Through a series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities, students will discover how the academic concepts they learn in school enable Pixar filmmakers to create new worlds, animate unique characters and tell stories through animation. Although designed especially for students in middle and high school, these resources are available to learners of all ages, completely free of charge.

“Our mission at Khan Academy is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” said Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Khan Academy. “Sparking student interest in math and other academic fields is a key part of that, and we’re delighted to collaborate with Pixar to achieve this goal. Pixar in a Box gives students a new way to engage with key academic concepts and see how creative these concepts can be.”

“For years, we’ve heard from teachers at every grade level interested in creating animation-based curricula,” said Elyse Klaidman, Director, Pixar University and Archives.  “We’ve wanted to provide free online resources for them, and Pixar in a Box makes that dream a reality. We hope that it not only gives students a behind-the-scenes look at how our movies are made but also gets them excited about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) concepts.”

Khan and Catmull officially unveiled Pixar in a Box at a special event yesterday evening on the Pixar campus in Emeryville, CA. After an introduction from Klaidman, local educators learned the story behind the project and then received a live demonstration of Pixar in a Box from two of its creators – Brit Cruise, Content Producer at Khan Academy, and Tony DeRose, Senior Scientist and Research Group Lead at Pixar. The evening concluded with a question-and-answer session moderated by Klaidman.

“Many students start to lose interest in academics in middle and high school, partly because they don’t see how academic concepts relate to things they care about,” said DeRose. “Pixar in a Box aims to address this disconnect by showing how Pixar filmmakers use these concepts for creative benefit in their everyday work.”

Starting today, students can access Pixar in a Box and learn:

  • How combinatorics are used to create crowds, like the swarm of robots in WALLŸ
  • How parabolas are used to model environments, like the forest in Brave.
  • How weighted averages are used to create characters, like Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
  • How linear and cubic interpolation are used to animate characters.
  • How trigonometry is used to create the worlds in which Pixar stories take place.
  • How simultaneous equations are used to paint all of Pixar’s images.

“These lessons are the first phase of the project,” said Cruise. “While the first year focuses on math, future Pixar in a Box lessons will explore science, computer science, arts, and humanities.”

All Pixar in a Box resources are available free of charge at PixarInABox.org. The site will be updated as additional lessons become available.

A Behind-the-Scenes Look at Pixar Animation Studios

Melanie Kampman

Melanie Kampman is a web designer, developer and owner of Giveaway Bandit and Farm News for Kids. She lives in Northwest Missouri on a large family farm with her husband and eight year old son, the Giveaway Bandit. They raise cattle with a variety of pets including horses, chickens, ducks, and a slew of cats. By Melanie Kampman If you are interested in writing a sponsored post on Giveaway Bandit please email me at melanie (at) giveawaybandit (dot) com.

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