On Wednesday June 13th, I had the pleasure of visiting the Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, CA. As I’m sure everyone knows, I am a huge Pixar fan. Visiting the studio was a dream come true. The studio itself is not open to the public in any way. There is no studio tour or visitor’s center. To get beyond the gates you have to be invited. My thanks to the incredibly generous Peter Moxom – Renderman Extraordinaire – for making my visit possible. I am forever grateful.
The studio is beautiful. I’ve seen many pictures and footage of the campus but nothing beats walking onto the grounds in real life. You are, of course, greeted first by the huge Luxo Lamp and ball. I never get tired of seeing this and stopped to take many pictures. Entering the wide open atrium, you are immediately struck by the enormity of this main hall. Filled with lots of natural light, the room is impressive. Reception is a relatively small desk, hardly noticeable among all the other things to look at. There’s the pool tables, a glass case filled with the studio’s awards, concept art from the latest feature, life-size statues of Mike and Sully, Guido and Luigi from CARS and a Lego sculpture of Woody and Buzz. Beyond that, the great hall stretches into the distance. Off of this wide-open concept is a cafeteria, studio store, the famed cereal room, employee mailboxes and a screening room off the back wall. By now, it is legend that the building was purposely designed to bring all studio personnel to a central location. Whether you’re eating lunch or on your way to another office, it’s difficult not to pass through this central hub. The psychological effect of this immediate. Everyone is right there. People aren’t hiding in offices and hallways. It truly makes it feel like a campus rather than am office building.
While much of the animation wing was off limits, I did have the chance to view a gallery of concept art for BRAVE. This was fantastic. Everything you love about the ART OF… books was right there in front of you. Sculptures, fabric studies, color scripts and some incredible drawings and sketches were on display in support of the studio’s latest feature.
My visit to the studio was followed up with a screening of La Luna and BRAVE in 3D in the amazing Presto Theater located in the studio’s newest building. This is probably the perfect way to watch a Pixar film. The image was better than anything I’ve ever seen in a theater and the sound was simply amazing. It was the perfect ending to the perfect day. I feel so fortunate to have had the opportunity to visit the studio. Everyone I met was so kind and generous with their time. It was an experience I will not soon forget. My thanks to Peter Moxom, Catherine Hicks, Andrew Gordon and Arik Ehle for their time.