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Animation pioneer Ed Catmull, 73, Pixar co-founder and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, will retire at the end of the year and serve as consultant through next July, marking his 40th year in the industry.
Simply put, there would be no animation and VFX industries as we know it without Catmull’s visionary tech contributions. Beginning with Pixar’s innovative shorts and ground-breaking “Toy Story” (1995), the first CG feature, he’s literally taken Pixar and Disney to infinity and beyond, serving as Yoda to John Lasseter’s Luke Skywalker, creating a multi-billion dollar industry.
Academy - Award - Tech - Recipient - Success
In looking back, the five-time Academy Award tech recipient never anticipated such astounding success: “The goal of making the animated feature was a goal that lasted 20 years,” Catmull told me. “And in the process of getting together people who shared a similar goal, then there was something beside the movie that was created, which was a style and a way of thinking, and people who were always wanting to create something that was new and challenging and different.
“And it was only after ‘Toy Story’ that I could think about it in different terms, and in terms of that creative culture. And the goal was different: How do you make a sustainable culture? Something that is dynamic and unstable? The thing is, I believe strongly, that successful groups are inherently unstable. And so you can’t think of it in terms of: ‘I’m going to grab on to what I’ve got and hang on to it for dear life.’ Rather, if we’re going to keep changing, how do we adapt and modify and bring people in and help people grow and let people do great things, but don’t let us get stuck in the past by always heading off in an exciting direction?”
Catmull - Pioneering - Work - Computer - Animation
Catmull’s early pioneering work in computer animation...
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