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To Infinity and Beyond:

A Look into What Pixar Has in the Works

By Michele Narup

Pixar and Disney have come up with some amazing animated movies though-out the years. Toy Story, Cars, Ratatouille, and The Incredibles are just some of the phenomenal creations they have brought to life. A well trained team work constantly to bring viewers something new and inventive with each new movie.

The company has a multitude of techniques and unique technology that bring each beloved character to life. The most well known is Pixar's RenderMan. "RenderMan’s powerful shading language and anti-aliased motion blur allow designers to believably integrate stunning synthetic effects with live-action footage. In addition, RenderMan is backed by Pixar’s technical staff, who know the challenges of creating digital effects.

RenderMan is used for Pixar’s own feature film productions. (" Pixar has allowed other companies to use its state of the art render technology in their films. It has won several awards such as the 1993 Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences's Engineering Achievement Award. This amazing rendering tool has been used on such movies as Harry Potter and the Order of the Phoenix, Ratatouille, Transformers, Mission Impossible III, and X-Men III.

Pixar has made RenderMan available for purchase to the general public since 2005. RenderMan for Maya 1.0 was announced on November 08, 2005. In June of 2007, Pixar announced an upgrade. The RenderMan for Maya 2.0 plug-in is available for the price of $995.00 via Pixar's website ( It is compatible with Maya 7.0, 8.5, and 2008.

Can having RenderMan on your PC or Mac automatically take you to Pixar's level of animation? Most likely not. However, on January 22 of this year Pixar announced RenderMan Certified Courseware. This will be divided into four main categories: "Fundamentals," "How To," "Production Elements," and "Library."

Courseware should allow universities, colleges, and training establishments detailed lesson plans that will cover all aspects of these materials for a classroom environment. "The Courseware is both awesome and stellar. This is going to fill a huge void in the world of CG, and everyone from students to seasoned VFX pros can finally turn to a single authoritative source to acquire their RenderMan knowledge." said Saty Raghavachary author of Rendering for Beginners: Image Synthesis using RenderMan. "I really look forward to using these materials to teach my RenderMan classes." The prices for Courseware are currently $9995 for Commercial, $3995 for Educations, and $1495 for Freelance.

Pixar has more in the works than releasing its rendering products to the world. It is primarily still an animation company. The company has always strived to have the best animation out there. Ralph Eggleston, a lead Pixar animator, says that Pixar's key focus is the art of storytelling and engaging an audience.

Looking back it is always the story that sticks out in the minds of audiences, not how delicious the food looks as Remi runs rampant through the kitchen. Story has always been the key component to making a movie memorable, and their next project is hoping to keep up with that consistancy.

Currently Pixar is working to develop a new movie called Wall·E. The concept was a collaboration of Andrew Stanton, John Lasseter, Peter Docter, Joe Ranft. In 1994 the quartett met at a small cafe and rolled out ideas that would become some of Pixar's most beloved movies (A Bug's Life, Monster's Inc., Finding Nemo). The only character discovered at that lunch not currently in mass DVD production is Wall·E.

Wall E

This particular movie is about a tiny robot. The story will take place in the year 2700, Wall·E has spent 700 years doing what he was built for, and then he discovers he has a bigger purpose. What is interesting about this particular movie is Pixar is taking a chance by having very limited speaking roles.

Wall·E is set to hit theaters June 27, 2008. With Pixar's reputation for setting an unbeatable standard in animation as well as unforgettable story-lines, Wall·E is sure to finish nothing short of another 3D animated masterpiece.