This company, like many others, was born thanks to a dream. Two young people, absolutely different in their views of life, dreamed of creating computer animation. And the name of enthusiasts – Elvi Ray Smith and Ed Catmull. But the idea of creating a full-fledged animation film, created with the help of a computer, rather than traditional drawings, did not come to them immediately.
Elvi Ray Smith was a real hippy from New York. For a long time he searched for himself. Although in his hometown Smith received an excellent education, he was not interested in further scientific activity. It was too boring for a young man, and even New York was alien to him. As a true fan of computer technology, and even hippies, Smith sought to get to California, which he succeeded in the end.
Then he got a job teaching at the University of Berkeley, immediately acquainted with many computer scientists. But the most significant was the acquaintance with Dick Schup, who worked at the Xerox PARC research center. Dick, with his developments, was so interested in Smith that he even visited his place of work.
I must say that Smith was very fond of art. In fact, it was a professor who in his heart was also an artist. That is why there is nothing strange in that it was so struck by the most powerful machines Xerox, which could work with graphic images, light, shadow. At that moment, the professor received inspiration, and he understood what he wanted to do in life.
Only here Xerox new employees were not required. But even by such an enthusiastic talent the team could not pass, taking him to work informally. He received money secretly, in the form of payment for additional materials. But the truth soon revealed itself and the leadership of Xerox immediately closed Smith’s access to the company. But it allowed him to go his own way.
In those days businessman Alexander Shure opened his research center on Long Island. He dreamed of removing a full-fledged cartoon with the help of computers alone. To do this, Shura bought several powerful computers and resorted to the help of mathematicians and programmers. Here, on the east coast, Smith returned. Then he met Ed Catmet, with whom he quickly began to work together. Talent Rey Smith was appreciated by Shura, who gave him the opportunity to participate in the project.
Although young people worked together, it was not only this that linked them. Despite a completely different lifestyle, they became friends. It is likely that they were united by the same dream of creating a cartoon of the future. In those days, computers just started working with animation. Nothing really existed – people began to create special machines and programs, which in the future will be presented with unique cartoons that collect complete halls.
However, enthusiasm for enthusiasm, but Alex Schure soon began to have problems with finances. He began to get rid of his unprofitable assets, which included a company that researched computer animation. All technology and staff went to George Lucas, the famous director of the then-roaring “Star Wars”. In 1979 he founded the studio “Computer Divison”.
He himself believed that the future of the film industry was the use of digital technology. But he could not pay due attention to the perspective direction. So it was until Lucas saw the film “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, the most spectacular scene in which was created on a computer in his own studio. Then the director began to cooperate more actively with the computer animation team.
That was a time of real creative blossoming for Lucas himself. True, he was more and more engaged in business than directly directing. Lucas bought several film studios – “Lucasfilm”, a filmmaker, “Industrial Light & Magic”, working on special effects, Skywalker Sound, as well as the same animation unit. True, professional successes turned for him into troubles in his personal life and a future divorce.
At that moment Lucas had to think about what would happen to his empire. After all, according to the laws of California, all co-owned property should be divided equally among them. And it was just about all the companies of Lucas. Then he had to think about getting rid of some of his assets. After all, it was necessary to pay his wife a multi-million dollar forfeit. And again under the impact was a small studio, engaged in research in the field of computer animation. Her Lucas decided to sell first.
But no one wanted to pay 30 million for a dark horse. The most persistent and interested buyer was Steve Jobs, who just at the time after his dismissal from Apple needed to find himself. Jobs paused, and then offered Lucas 10 million dollars. The director was already desperate to sell this studio, so agreed in 1986 to sell it.
The new company was named “Pixar”. 92% of its share belonged to Jobs, and 4% went to Ed Kathmell and Elvie Ray Smith, who became the immediate supervisors of the project. At that time, the company was not at all like the current one. Jobs himself assumed that she would earn on the sale of specialized computers and programs, there was no talk of self-creation of animated films. In the “Pixar” reigned a creative atmosphere, from the side resembling organized chaos. Nevertheless, every employee knew what he should do and performed it with pleasure.
The first major result was a solution called “Pixar Image Computer”. This computer cost 200 thousand dollars. And although it was possible to make several transactions, it was clear that the profit could not be achieved. Jobs and his team could not find the necessary number of customers for such an expensive and technically complex solution.
Several medical institutions abandoned Pixar Image Computer primarily because the treatment was difficult. No one wanted to spend time on additional training either. Although Pixar’s sales offices were in seven cities in America, they had an impressive number of employees, computers were never sold.
Jobs himself did not spend much time on Pixar, appearing only at monthly financial meetings. Alvie Smith and Ed Kathmell had difficulty convincing the main shareholder that all units of the unprofitable company are important. Saving the same company is not businessmen, and not techies, and animator John Lasseter. He was able to fully experience the new computer world, making it alive.
One of the first cartoons of the company was the one and a half minute “Andre and Wally B”. Despite the short format, technology experts appreciated the work. Since then, all the creations of “Pixar” have become the main event of the Siggraph conference – the main event in the world of computer animation. The second shot of the company was called “Luxo Younger”.
The first cartoons won a number of awards, it was clear that a new industry was emerging. But Steve Jobs himself had serious financial problems. He came to the conclusion that it is necessary to reduce the financing of a loss-making enterprise. Yes, and in the main project, Jobs, Next, things went unimportantly. So Elvi Ray Smith and Ed Kathmell came to try hard to knock out the budget for the new cartoon. Surrendered to Steve only after he was promised an increase in sales of the new software product “Render man” because of the tape.
After the “Tin Toy” came out on the screens, it became a sensation. The cartoon even received an Oscar in 1988, which impressed the Disney studio. About the very “Pixar” with enthusiasm spoke the whole world. Yes, and “Render Man” really began to sell well, bringing the company a lot of money. This product was used to create special effects for such famous films as “The Matrix”, “Titanic”, “The Lord of the Rings”.
Now there was no concern for the fate of the company. The company developed, that’s just because of the conflict with Steve Jobs, she left Alvi Ray Smith.And all because of the fact that at one meeting the director expressed his disagreement with the opinion of the owner. In 1995, in cooperation with Disney, Pixar released its first full-length cartoon “Toy Story”.
With a budget of 30 million dollars, he collected over 360 million worldwide. In 2006, after lengthy negotiations, the studio was sold to Disney for 7.4 billion dollars. Then it was decided to merge. Get rich Jobs returned to “Apple”, and Pixar continued to shoot cartoons under the guidance of Ed Catmell and John Lasseter.
All subsequent Pixar projects were even more successful. Thanks to both parts of the “Toy Story”, “The Adventures of Flick” and “The Corporation of Monsters” with “The Quest for Nemo,” $ 2.5 billion was earned. The studio has already received 15 Oscars and even more nominations.