The Pixar Treasures

by Tim Hauser

The Pixar Treasures (Amazon)

In a nutshell

A brief history of Pixar, illustrated with numerous photos and pull-out reproductions of memorabilia.

Rating

Entertainment  
 Inspiration  
 Instruction  n/a
 Technical  n/a

Key quotes

“He gave me the impression that it wasn’t just talent that made good animators great.  It was that they didn’t quit.  He believed that if his animation was better than anyone else’s, it was because he worked harder.” – Brad Bird on Milt Kahl

“Animation is the most collaborative art form there is.  And never more so than here.” – John Lasseter

“One thing we see other studios do, and what we each try not to do here, is to merely illustrate dialogue.  We try to get beneath that and animate what the character is thinking, not what they are saying.” – Dylan Brown

My thoughts

The Pixar Treasures is like a grown up pop-up book for Pixar fans.  It comes in a box and almost every other page has some kind of pullout piece of memorabilia or artwork – see below for a full list.  There’s a real sense of playful fun throughout the book – in the numerous photos, caricatures, movie posters, artwork and all the little extra pullouts each in a specially designed pouch.  It’s great to get a closer look at some of the details that go by so quickly in the films – like the posters in Sid’s room, the Roundup gang collectibles or monster classifieds from Monster’s Inc.

The book documents the history of the studio, from the earliest beginnings of eager students at CalArts, through to their feature films, ending with Up and their hopes to inspire future generations.  Each Chapter is a double page spread, and has lots of photos. Some of the chapters are about obvious things, like the feature films, but there are also chapters about things that there are less well documented, such as the Pixar University, Exhibitions, Rides inspired by Pixar films and the Pixar Living Archive.

A lot of the text consists of quotes from Pixar people such as John Lasseter, Pete Docter, Brad Bird, Ed Catmull, Lee Unkrich and many more.  You get to hear about their philosophies and approach to work, as well as some interesting facts – many of which I hadn’t heard before.  For example that Sully’s anatomy is based on an extinct giant ground sloth called Megatherium, or that the 3D Toy Story zoetrope that tours with the Pixar exhibition was inspired by one made by Studio Ghibli with the Totoro characters.

The really unique thing about this book is all the cool little pullout items.  Often these are reproductions of one-off pieces that would normally only be seen by staff, so it’s a treat to be able to take a look at them – like the Muybridge inspired Luxo Jr Holiday card from 1992, or the invitation to the 2004 Incredibles wrap party.  Overall, it’s a nicely put together book, that clearly a lot of effort has gone into.  Flipping through, it seems to be mainly photos and artwork, but once you start reading the text, there is a surprising amount of information in there as well.

Not essential reading – expensive – but interesting and fun for Pixar fans.

Special pullouts

– Pamphlet and letter that Disney studios sent to aspiring artists in the 1970s
– Handwritten letter from Glen Keane to a young Ralph Eggleston
– CalArts pamphlet for prospective students
– Disney Visitor’s Pass from around 1980
– Pixar holiday cards from 1986 and 1992
– Mini pamphlet consisting of selected pages from a scrapbook created for A Bug’s Life
– “Autographed” publicity photos from Woody, Bo Peep and Bullseye
– Pullout timeline cartoon of the evolution of monsters
– The Art Department’s unofficial workflow chart
– Storyboarding – the process! (a storyboard about storyboarding by Joe Ranft)
Toy Story 3 production comic
– Sharks booklet (rough sketches)
Incredibles wrap party comic book invitation
– Small Presto poster
– Short flipbook with Buzz and Woody animations
– Radiator Springs postcards
– Front page of a newspaper from Ratatouille
– 
Buy N Large bumper stickers
Up house with tab to pull it up

Contents

Chapter 1 Introduction
Chapter 2 Aspirations
Chapter 3 Education
Chapter 4 Traditions
Chapter 5 Technical Experiments
Chapter 6 Personality
Chapter 7 The Brain Trust
Chapter 8 Toy Story
Chapter 9 A Bug’s Life
Chapter 10 Toy Story 2
Chapter 11 Monsters, Inc.
Chapter 12 Pixar Animation Studios
Chapter 13 Wild Workspaces
Chapter 14 Teamwork
Chapter 15 Family
Chapter 16 Storytelling
Chapter 17 Character Animation
Chapter 18 Finding Nemo
Chapter 19 The Incredibles
Chapter 20 Short Subjects
Chapter 21 Pixar University
Chapter 22 Exhibitions
Chapter 23 Cars
Chapter 24 Ratatouille
Chapter 25 Wall-E
Chapter 26 Pixarland
Chapter 27 Up
Chapter 28 Legacy
Bibliography and Image Credits
Acknowledgments and About the Author

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