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This company, like many others, was born out of a dream. But the idea of creating a full-fledged animated film, created using a computer, rather than traditional drawings, did not come to them immediately.
Alvy Ray Smith was a real hippie from New York. For a long time he was looking for himself. Although Smith received an excellent education in his hometown, he was not interested in further scientific activities. It was too boring for a young man, and New York itself was alien to him. As a true fan of computing, and even a hippie, Smith aspired to get to California, which he eventually succeeded.
Here he got a job teaching at the University of Berkeley, having immediately met many computer scientists. But the most significant was the acquaintance with Dick Shoop, who worked at the Xerox PARC research center. Dick interested Smith so much with his designs 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 was also an artist at heart. That is why there is nothing strange in the fact that he was so impressed by the most powerful Xerox machines that could work with graphic images, light, and shadow. At that moment, an insight descended on the professor, and he realized what he wanted to do in life.
Only Xerox didn't need new employees. But the team could not pass by such a keen talent, hiring him unofficially. He received money in secret, in the form of payment for additional materials. But the truth soon came to light and Xerox management 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 making a full-fledged cartoon using only computers. For this, Shure bought several powerful computers and resorted to the help of mathematicians and programmers. Here, on the east coast, Smith returned. Here he met Ed Catmall, with whom he quickly began to work together. Ray Smith's talents were appreciated by Shura, who gave him the opportunity to participate in the project.
Although young people worked together, it was not only this that connected them. Despite their 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 were just getting started with animation. Nothing really existed yet - people began to create special machines and programs that in the future will present unique cartoons that will gather full houses.
However, enthusiasm enthusiasm, but Alex Shure soon began to have financial problems. He began to get rid of his disadvantaged assets, which included a company that researched computer animation. All technology and staff went to George Lucas, the famous director of the then-thundering "Star Wars". In 1979, he founded the Computer Divison studio.
He himself believed that the future of the film industry lies in the use of digital technologies. But he could not pay due attention to the promising direction. That was until Lucas saw the movie Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, the most spectacular scene of which was created on a computer in his own studio. Then the director began to cooperate more actively with the computer animation team.
It was a time of real creative flowering for Lucas himself. True, he was more and more involved in business than directing. Lucas bought several film studios - Lucasfilm, which made films, Industrial Light & Magic, which worked on special effects, Skywalker Sound, as well as the animation division. True, professional successes turned into troubles for him in his personal life and future divorce.
At that moment, Lucas had to think about what would happen to his empire. Indeed, according to the laws of California, all jointly acquired property should be divided equally between 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 the wife a multimillion-dollar penalty. Again, a small studio doing research in computer animation was under attack. Lucas decided to sell it first.
But no one wanted to pay 30 million for a dark horse. The most persistent and interested buyer was Steve Jobs, who had to find himself just after leaving Apple. Jobs paused and then offered Lucas $ 10 million. The director was already desperate to sell this studio, so he agreed to sell it in 1986.
The new company was named Pixar. 92% of its share belonged to Jobs, and 4% went to Ed Catmell and Alvie Ray Smith, who became the direct managers of the project. At that time, the company was not at all like the current one. Jobs himself assumed that she would make money by selling specialized computers and programs; there was no talk of creating animated films on her own. Pixar had a creative atmosphere that, from the outside, resembled organized chaos. Nevertheless, each employee knew what he should do and did it with pleasure.
The first major result was a solution called "Pixar Image Computer". This computer cost $ 200,000. And although we managed to make several transactions, it was clear that it would not be possible to make a profit. Jobs and his team could not find the required number of clients for such an expensive and technically complex solution.
Several medical institutions ditched Pixar Image Computer primarily because it was difficult to handle. Nobody wanted to waste time on additional training. Although Pixar's sales offices were in seven cities across America, they employed an impressive number of employees, computers were never sold.
Jobs himself didn't spend much time on Pixar, appearing only at monthly finance meetings. Alvy Smith and Ed Catmell had a hard time convincing the main shareholder that all the divisions of a losing company were important. It was not businessmen or techies who saved the company, but 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 Pixar creations have become the main event of the Siggraph conference - the main event in the world of computer animation. The second hit of the company was called "Luxo Junior".
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. And Jobs' main project, Next, was not doing well. So Alvy Ray Smith and Ed Catmell had to try hard to knock out the budget for the new cartoon. Steve gave up only after he was promised an increase in sales of the new software product "Render man" due to the release of the tape.
After the release of Tin Toy, it became a sensation. The cartoon even won an Oscar in 1988, which impressed the Disney studio. The whole world was enthusiastically talking about “Pixar” itself. And Render Man did sell well, bringing in a lot of money for the company. 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, but due to a conflict with Steve Jobs, Elvie Ray Smith left it. And all due to the fact that at one meeting the director expressed his disagreement with the owner's opinion. In 1995, in collaboration with Disney, Pixar released its first full-length cartoon, Toy Story.
With a budget of $ 30 million, he has raised over 360 million worldwide. In 2006, after lengthy negotiations, the studio was sold to Disney for $ 7.4 billion. Then it was decided to merge. The wealthy Jobs returned to Apple, while Pixar continued to direct cartoons under the direction of Ed Catmell and John Lasseter.
All subsequent Pixar projects were even more successful. Both Toy Story, Flick's Adventures, and Monsters Inc.'s Finding Nemo have earned $ 2.5 billion. The studio has already received 15 Oscars and even more nominations.