Pixar: star adventures table lamps

Because of this adventure (Pixar), jobs was on the verge of ruin, became a billionaire, spoiled myself (and many of those with whom he worked) health, and… without Pixar our world would be a darker and duller.

The most amazing thing in this story that it could easily not be. Coincidence. And because the technology of computer animation have nothing to do with the destruction of people and property (i.e. defense), they might not happen at all, ever.

Because computer animation, the cost, complexity, and intellectual complexity, comparable almost with space exploration. All attempts (I know of several, the earliest dates back to 1974 and is relevant to our subject), and had spent budgets of the pioneers, came to nothing.

The idea of computer animation has fascinated Steve, so he figured that that could be a valuable tool in the future of medicine. Visual display of the status of human organs and three-dimensional human body model based on studies using x-ray, ultrasound and other.

About pixel film he didn’t think at all. He was well aware of the fact that it did not, and the last thing I wanted to do it.

Ancient history of computer graphics

In 1955, Aleksander Shura, academician and entrepreneur, founded the old Westbury, new York Institute of technology (NYIT). In the year when was born Steve jobs.

In 1974, NYIT alegzander the Shura created the computer graphics lab, CG Lab, for the development of what today is called computer animation. Needs CG Lab, were very expensive, but Aleksander Shura money spared. Because of this, NYIT has faced serious financial problems – but the project continued.

Among laboratory staff was Edwin Catman, Alvie ray Smith, Jim damn, Ralph Guggenheim, David Difrancesco and Jim Clark. In ten years they turned to computer animation to reality, as employees of Pixar.

Jim Clark did not stay at Pixar – he has created and led several companies, most famous of which Silicon Graphics and Netscape.

In 1979 CG Lab started to create an animated feature film in The Works, with a duration of 90 minutes. Very quickly it became obvious that this task CG Lab. To accomplish it needed a real Studio, and experienced animators.

And there was a very ugly story, very similar to betrayal. I don’t know what George Lucas found out about CG Lab and desires of its employees, but in 1979 they suddenly got offered a job in the computer Department of Lucasfilm. Six of the best and most promising employees CG Lab, at the same time, resigned.

To Shura about anything not guessed, they get to Lucasfilm in a roundabout way, for a year. George Lucas wouldn’t have to wait that long, the video effects for movie hits he needed “yesterday”.

In 1986 CG Lab showed the audience snippets of The Works, with a total duration of approximately ten minutes. Maybe if not for the betrayal…

But what happened is what happened.

A slave to George Lucas

Somehow, all great CEOs, despots and scoundrels. From a human point of view. They are charismatic, and incredibly smart, but to work with them, not sugar.

Soon, a group of computer graphics in the computer Department of Lucasfilm has increased to 40-50 people. Computer animation itself, the film company was not interested. Expensive, technically difficult, none of its competitors does nothing of the sort.

The group was engaged in computer video effects. Star wars, some parts of Star trek and has gained invaluable experience. Technology used for video effects, rapidly improved. Edwin Catman and Alvie ray Smith invented the “alpha channel” parameter defines the transparency of a pixel. It is rather “opaque”, because when alpha is equal to one background of the pixel is invisible, and when alpha is zero the pixel is completely transparent and invisible.

Explosions, clashes, transformation… All of it paid good. Effects was developed by powerful computer technology REYES (“Render Everything You Ever Saw,” that is, “Display all that you have ever seen”), the ancestor Pixar’ovskogo RenderMan.

In 1983, after a series of Star wars “Return of the Jedi” Lucasfilm profits fell sharply. The layoffs started. Lucas decided to put computer Department for sale – nothing personal, it was way out of his pocket. A secret that had not been done, and companies began to leave the best and most valuable employees.

This would be all over (except for special effects, for which demand has already spawned a proposal), but a group of computer effects and animation, about a third of the computer Department of Lucasfilm, decided to stand out as a separate company. George Lucas didn’t mind. The company had to pay its withdrawal from the Lucasfilm as soon as she will find the funding.

The President of the company was Edwin Catman, Vice-President, alvey ray Smith. Only the new company had 42 people, and they even continued to work. But the investor is delayed.

The company turned to 45 potential investors, but everywhere was refused. Jobs never said “no”, but the amount that Steve suggested that George Lucas seemed to last a ridiculous and uninteresting. When Lucas is desperate to find a buyer, Steve jobs made him a new offer, this time 5 million. One and a half times less than the previous proposal, which was funny.

Steve named the company Pixar and invested $ 5 million.

Table lamp

Just before acquiring Steve jobs nameless company from George Lucas, John Lasseter from the Department of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), took a 2-minute video Luxo Jr, which has become the hallmark of the company and the first step in seduction jobs.

Lasseter was easier than the staff of the advanced technology group (ATG) at Apple, which had “harness” dozens of Mac II for processing the video Pencil Test, he had a supercomputer at a cost of 135 thousand dollars in 1986, optimized to perform such tasks.

At rest, the two minutes required a lot of work and bloody sweat, but the result was stunning. Judge for yourself:

The characters in the movie, Luxo Jr (small lamp, cub) and Luxo Sr (parent?) – animated copy of Luxo, a popular table lamp Norwegian company Lux ASA produced since 1934. The plants on its production was in Norway, Sweden and California, USA.

The main character of this movie became the company logo and hit the logo.

The video was taken for the soul, people are seriously discussing who is who – Luxo Sr is a father, mother or just to mentor young men. It’s funny, but true: two minutes and five seconds of video, and such a result.

Steve, dreaming about medical technology and the sales of copies of the computer over 135 thousand have watched it several times, with the grim expression on his face, and nothing without telling anyone, left the office. Leaving the perplexed authors of the film in a state close to panic. Is that all?

The popularity of tiny video speak dozens of his remakes, mediocre, and just plain stupid to very funny. For example, here is one of the clips on the motives of Luxo Jr, voiced by Ringo Starr (for those who don’t know, this is the drummer from bitlovskiy Quartet):

In fact, the mockery of a company logo is like the use of regimental colours for wiping shoes, but…

No logo didn’t really hurt, I guarantee.

The voice of Ringo Starr is the author of the video was borrowed from “Thomas the Tank Engine”, I don’t know what this engine is, but I liked it.

Medicine and supercomputers

Jobs and computer animators (people with a very sophisticated sense of humor) found each other. Steve was gone for several days, after which the division of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM, industrial light and magic) was converted to the Department, all staff wages were increased and given complete freedom of expression.

When John Lasseter said to jobs about Apple’s request to help with the creation of the video Pencil Test, he thought for a few seconds and nodded.

And with the production and sale of supercomputers didn’t work out. And medicine, too. Nobody wanted to invest in these projects, and their own money Steve was coming to an end. And everything else was also not brilliant.

Pixar and NeXT at a cost of $ 60 million a year, and it seemed like it would never end. In 1994 Steve was about to sell Pixar in more skilled hands, but, thankfully, not found wanting. Because suddenly everything changed. Something happened, what no one was hoping for.

In the sequel, Oscar and copper pipes, and the RenderMan Shader language.

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