Happy 23rd Birthday Pixar

On February 3rd 1986, 23 years ago today, Pixar was founded. Technically speaking, Pixar began in 1979 as a Graphics Group in the Computer Division of Lucasfilm. But the company did not get named “Pixar” until it was bought by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs in 1986.

At that time, Pixar was a high-end computer hardware company, producing a product called the Pixar Image Computer, a system which never sold that well and was primarily used by government agencies and the medical community. Pixar employee John Lasseter created short demo animations using the computer and premiered them at the computer graphics convention SIGGRAPH in an attempt to show off the device’s capabilities and drive sales to the system.

Pixar was loosing money fast, and Lasseter’s work garnered the interest of outside companies which ended up hiring the company to create computer animated commercials. It was from there that Pixar developed a relationship with the Walt Disney Company, who in 1991 signed a deal with Pixar to produce three computer-animated feature films, the first of which was Toy Story. And the rest was history.

For anyone interested in more on the subject, I highly recommend The Pixar Story documentary (which is available on the special edition of WALL-E) or the David Price book The Pixar Touch. Happy Birthday Pixar! Thanks to Pixar Planet for the tip.

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