Last Thursday students were positively tickled to visit with representatives from Pixar, the groundbreaking animation studio famous for producing such modern classics as Toy Story, Finding Nemo and The Incredibles. In a packed lecture held in the RISD Auditorium, Pixar Technical Director Michael Frederickson revealed some of the behind-the-scenes magic that goes into making the studio’s Academy Award-winning films.
For instance, when designing the backdrop of the action comedy Cars 2, the Brown alum rendered 40,000 individual buildings to accurately portray the architectural complexity of London. “I spend hours and hours agonizing over the smallest detail,” Frederickson told the audience. “There’s a lot of collaboration that has to happen before we get to the good stuff.”
He was also instrumental in designing some of the physical attributes of the main characters in Up, the heartwarming film about a boy and a 78-year-old man who fly to South America by fastening thousands of helium-filled balloons to a house (pictured above). Scott Clark 96 IL was the lead animator on the 2009 project.
In addition to sharing secrets of the trade, the Pixar crew also visited campus with a specific mission in mind: to enlist RISD talent. Senior Recruiter Peggy Dollaghan encouraged current students and recent graduates with animation expertise to apply to the company’s training program. Frederickson added that he interned with Pixar before landing his “dream job” at the California-based studio.
“The amount of talent here in this room is humbling,” Frederickson told the RISD students in the audience. “It’s inspiring to imagine all the great things you’ll go off and do.”
Go to Pixar’s website to read more on how to apply for an internship.