Week Four Research and Development

Pixar began its feature film history with the release of Toy Story in 1995. Toy Story was not only their entry film but the first 3D feature length animated movie to be produced and screened commercially. In the 90s, 3D animation existed mostly in the short film format. The Animation field was exploring what exactly could be made with the use of CGI. Pixar was the first to push forward making 3D  feasible as a movie genre.

Pixar’s ability to create its own recognisable style was a very large factor . The style needed to be on par with the current technology as although CGI was feasible it was still at a tentative early stage. Many conventions of modelling have been pioneered by Pixar and it is for this reason the character designs in Toy story can still be admired today.


toystory poster


One should also consider the experiments that were conducted before the development of Toy Story that contributed to the success of the use of various techniques. The Pixar team tried modelling a human like character, which was the baby in the short film “Tin Toy”. This was specifically made to practice for the upcoming feature film Toy Story. It was from this test that Pixar discovered many problems related to what is now referred to as  the uncanny valley effect, a problem where the level of human likeness of a character sits at a point that is uncomfortable for viewers. This was something which was prominent in the final modelling of the baby character in Tin Toy.

Pixar showed that it learnt from this and  the creative decision was made, with the characters in Toy Story designed specifically to appear  stylised and to have a cartoonish simplification.

Toy Story was the first of many triumphs for the Pixar company and is a movie that is not only still entertaining to audiences, but still worth studying within the industry.

Also in relation to Pixar I have found the blog belonging to an animator, Carlos Baena; who has worked on such Pixar films such as Ratatouille, Cars, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. Many of the Pixar movies inspire me however The Incredibles is very high on my list of favourite movies. Carlos Baena worked on the animation of Mr Incredible in one of the action sequences in the film, specifically the initial fight sequence between Mr incredible and the Omni Droid, and the opening scene to the movie (both pictured below).


omnidroid fight

opening scene incredibles



Carlos Baena’s Personal Blog:




Shepherd, J. (2015, November 22). Toy story turns 20 years old: A brief history of the Pixar classic. The Independent – News. Retrieved from http://www.independent.co.uk/arts-entertainment/films/news/toy-story-turns-20-years-old-a-brief-history-of-the-pixar-classic-a6744036.html

Pixar, 2012. (1986). Pixar. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.pixar.com/about/Our-Story

Nevius, C. W. (2005, August 23). Pixar tells story behind ‘toy story’. Retrieved March 14, 2016, from http://www.sfgate.com/bayarea/nevius/article/Pixar-tells-story-behind-Toy-Story-2614947.php

CGW: Feature: Toy story: A triumph of animation (08.95). (1998). Retrieved March 14, 2016, from https://design.osu.edu/carlson/history/tree/related%20materials/08stry1.html

Disney. The uncanny valley and CGI – the challenge of creating realistic humans. Retrieved March 21, 2016, from http://simplymaya.com/articles/uncanny-valley/uncanny-valley.mhtml


TOY STORY poster. (1995). Retrieved 14 March 2016, from http://au.movieposter.com/poster/MPW-51901/Toy_Story.html

Disney. (n.d.). The Incredibles official site presented by Disney movies. Retrieved 21 March 2016, from http://movies.disney.com/the-incredibles

CRAP MY KIDS WATCH: ‘The Incredibles’ – is syndrome really that bad? (n.d.). Retrieved 21 March 2016, from http://www.crapmykidswatch.com/2012/08/the-incredibles.html


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