|Directed by||John Lasseter|
|Story by||John Lasseter|
|Produced by||William Reeves|
Tin Toy is a 1988 American computer-animated short film produced by Pixar and directed by John Lasseter. The short film, which runs five minutes, stars Tinny, a tin one-man band toy, trying to escape from Billy, a human baby. The third short film produced by the company's small animation division, it was a risky investment: due to the low revenue produced by Pixar's main product, the Pixar Image Computer, the company was under financial constraints.
Lasseter pitched the concept for Tin Toy by storyboard to Pixar owner Steve Jobs, who agreed to finance the short despite the company's struggles, which he kept alive with annual investment. The film was officially a test of the PhotoRealistic RenderMan software and proved new challenges to the animation team, namely the difficult task of realistically animating Billy. Tin Toy later gained attention from Disney, who sealed an agreement to create Toy Story starring Tom Hanks and Tim Allen, which was primarily inspired by elements from Tin Toy.
The short film debuted in a completed edit at the SIGGRAPH convention in August 1988 to a standing ovation from scientists and engineers. The film went on to claim Pixar's first Academy Award with the 1988 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, becoming the first CGI film to win an Academy Award. With the award, Tin Toy went far to establish computer animation as a legitimate artistic medium outside SIGGRAPH and the animation-festival film circuit. In 2003, Tin Toy was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".
In a living room, a toy one-man band player named Tinny looks around, and sees a baby named Billy arrive. At first, Tinny is delighted at the prospect of being played with by Billy until he sees how destructive the infant can be. When Tinny tries to walk out of Billy's reach, the musical instruments on the former's back begin to play, attracting Billy's attention. Tinny begins to run, but is pursued by Billy. During a pursuit with the excited Billy pursuing him, Tinny soon finds cover under a couch, there finding a collection of toys in hiding, similarly terrified of Billy, because they have gone through the same experience. Unaware of this, Billy accidentally trips, but falls over on the hardwood surface floor face first while searching for Tinny, and begins to cry. Feeling sorry for the baby, Tinny sees this, and leaves his couch sanctuary, and begins to play near Billy to calm him down. Upon seeing this, Billy stops crying and picks up Tinny to play with, the latter fearing the worst. However, Billy soon lets go of the toy, more interested in his packaging, but ignores Tinny, and then plays with his box because Tinny came in with it. This annoys Tinny, who again plays music, tries following around Billy in hopes of being noticed, and goes to pursue him, but is still angry and ignored, and ends up trying to stop him no matter where Billy goes with Tinny pursuing him. Eventually, Billy, whose face is now covered in a shopping bag, leaves the room, followed by Tinny. The newly optimistic toys from underneath the couch are safe to come out.
Pixar, purchased in 1986 by entrepreneur and former Apple Computer head Steve Jobs, received many accolades for films produced by its small animation division, headed by former Disney animator John Lasseter. Lasseter's primary role, as defended to Jobs by company founders Edwin Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith, was to produce short films to promote the company's own Pixar Image Computers.The department was never meant to generate any revenue as far as Jobs was concerned, but after the release of two shorts, Luxo Jr. (1986) and Red's Dream (1987), some of the engineers working on the company's products wondered whether it made sense to keep the animation group going at all. Pixar was losing money every year and Jobs was supporting the cash-strapped company SO through a line of credit with his personal guarantee.
The engineers felt they were working hard to make money for Pixar while Lasseter's group was only spending it. Their passion was for building computers and software, not entertainment. Eventually, they discerned, to their chagrin, the reason why the company was supporting the division: the real priority of Catmull and Smith was to make films.The engineers were not alone in wondering about the value of Lasseter's short films. On repeated occasions in the late 1980s, Catmull barely dissuaded Jobs from shutting down the animation division due to financial constraints. At this same time, Jobs was clashing with Alvy Ray Smith, which would eventually lead to his resignation from Pixar after a heated argument during a meeting. Things were by no means well at the company and Lasseter and his team of animators knew this, and were afraid to ask for money to finance another short, which they storyboarded as Tin Toy.
In the spring of 1988, cash was running so short that Jobs convened a meeting to decree deep spending cuts across the board. When it was over, Lasseter and his animation group were almost too afraid to ask Jobs about authorizing some extra money for another short. Finally, they broached the topic and Jobs sat silent, looking skeptical. Tin Toy would require close to $300,000 more out of his pocket. After a few minutes, he asked if there were any storyboards.Catmull took him down to the animation offices, and Lasseter started his show. With the storyboards pinned on his wall, Lasseter did the voices and acted out the shots—just as story men had done on the Disney lot for decades—and thereby showed his passion for the project. The stakes here were much higher than before, however. Ralph Guggenheim, manager of the animation unit, recalled, "We knew that he wasn't just pitching for the film, he was pitching for the survival of the group." Jobs warmed up to the project and agreed to provide the money. "I believed in what John was doing," Jobs later said. "It was art. He cared, and I cared. I always said yes." His only comment at the end of Lasseter's presentation was, "All I ask of you, John, is to make it great."
That fall, after completion of Red's Dream, most members of the company gathered at Stillwater Cove, near Fort Ross, to design new software that was designed completely for the work of an animator.From the meeting came Menv software ("modeling Environment"), the first program specifically designed to facilitate the workflow of an animator, separating the various phases of the animation (modeling, animation and lighting), later renamed Puppets. To show the application of the new program, it was approved the production of a short. Inspired by the birth of his daughter Julia, William Reeves proposed the idea to create a human baby. Lasseter had an inspiration for the new opera based on the observation of his nephew, intent to put any toy in the mouth on the way. Lasseter said, "In terms of toys the child must have seemed a terrible monster!"
The story was about Lasseter's love, classic toys, and was inspired by a visit made in 1987 at the Tin Toy Museum in Yokohama, Japan.It was told from the perspective of a toy one-man band named Tinny, who meets a baby that charms and terrorizes him. Escaping under the couch, Tinny finds other frightened toys, but when the baby hits his head and cries, Tinny goes back out to cheer him up. Tin Toy was inspired much like Luxo Jr., namely, Lasseter's observations of a friend's baby. This time, he opted for a more ambitious task, attempting to mimic a human baby in its appearance, the movement of its arms, and its fickle moods.
The short film was officially a test of the PhotoRealistic RenderMan software.This was the only Pixar short rendered on the RM-1, a RenderMan specific computer that was never sold to the public. As with Luxo Jr. and Red's Dream, it was also a chance for Lasseter to one-up his earlier efforts, taking his animation and storytelling to another level. The baby proved difficult to model and animate; "it just became an incredible burden," remembered Flip Phillips, a new member of the team at the time. In early attempts at a model of the baby's head, he appeared to have the face of a middle-aged man. The final version of the baby (known to the team as Billy) had a much-improved face with 40 separate facial muscles, but his skin had the look of plastic. When he moved, moreover, his body lacked the natural give of baby fat and his diaper had the solidity of cement—compromises made necessary by lack of time and the still-developing technology.
The picture on the table is a photograph of director John Lasseter.
Lasseter and his technical directors slept under their desks at times to get Tin Toy finished before SIGGRAPH in Atlanta in August 1988, but to no avail. What the SIGGRAPH audience saw was the first three-fifths or so of the film, ending a cliffhanger moment with Tinny running into his box and watching in horror through the box's cellophane as Billy advances towards him."Even though it wasn't complete, people were wowed by it," producer Ralph Guggenheim remembered. The audience of scientists and engineers to which it was shown at SIGGRAPH greeted it with a standing ovation. These praises were joined over the years, positive assessments of public and critics, who praised the innovation and technology in it. Luke Bonanno called it "One of the best Pixar short films," while other critics wrote that the film was "A fascinating glimpse of a fledgling art form." and many praised the ability to move in just a few minutes and have been able to "encompass the full range of emotions you feel when a toy is used by a child." Some criticisms were leveled at the character of Billy, who was called "the most frightening and disturbing piece of animation in the history of this art form." Dario Floreano stated that the uncanny valley concept was taken seriously by the film industry because of negative audience reactions to Billy. It is unknown when this short was first released in its entirety.
Tin Toy went on to take the Academy Award for Best Animated Short in 1989 at the 61st Academy Awards, it was the third CGI short film to get nominated for the Academy Award (Behind Hunger and Luxo Jr.) and was the first CGI animated short film to receive an Academy Award. With the award, Tin Toy went far to establish computer animation as a legitimate artistic medium outside SIGGRAPH and the animation-festival film circuit.A member of the Academy's board of governors, animator William Littlejohn, saw in Tin Toy a window into the potential of the young medium. "There is a realism that's rather astonishing," he told The New York Times . "It emulates photography, but with artistic staging." Robert Winquist, head of the character animation program at CalArts, went further, predicting that computer animation was "going to take over in a short time." He publicly advised animators, "Put down your pencil and your paintbrush and do it another way."
The short film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant" in 2003.Tin Toy garnered some home media releases via inclusion on Tiny Toy Stories in 1996, the VHS and DVD releases of Toy Story in 2000, and the Pixar Short Films Collection, Volume 1 (2007). Tin Toy is also available for streaming on Disney+.
1988 – Best Animated Short Film
1989 – Seattle International Film Festival – Best Short Film
1989 – World Animation Celebration – Best Computer-Assisted Animation
2003 – National Film Registry
Apart from the home video editions of the short film, Tin Toy was not the subject of any type of merchandise, like all of the other short films that have been produced by the company. The only exception is the reproduction of vinyl Tinny, produced by MINDStyle in 2010.Pixar, in fact, sold the license to the manufacturer of Tin Toy MINDStyle objects, which created a maquette of the vinyl character Tinny inside of the line Art Toy Collectible limited Edition of 500 pieces, the price of ninety dollars. The box, which is a faithful reproduction of the packaging of the toy view in short, in addition to containing the model of Tinny, presents a certificate of authenticity printed on a card showing the storyboard in pencil of a scene from the short.
The success of Tin Toy gained attention from Disney CEO Michael Eisner and Walt Disney Studios chairman Jeffrey Katzenberg, who approached Pixar to produce a computer-animated film. In the early 1990s, Pixar began to make arrangements with Disney to produce the first computer-animated film. The project went through, but considering the abrupt transition from shorts to feature a few minutes to an hour and a half, Pixar set out to create a special half-hour to see if they could manage a production that was similar to that of an actual film. Driven by the victory at the Oscars that year, a sequel to Tin Toy called "A Tin Toy Christmas," was originally planned as a half-hour-long television special to be used to convince film studios that Pixar was capable of producing a feature film.This idea was brought to the table at the initial talks with Disney for Toy Story . The basic idea was that Tinny was part of a set of toy players who are not successful and remain unsold for years. Separated from other components, Tinny ends up by mistake in a toy shop of our age where he meets several characters, including a soft pink bear named Lotso.
The project was abandoned because the television network that would have produced the film could not afford the fees required (according to director Pete Docter, the special would have required a sum of eighteen times higher than the allowed budget).Disney was uninterested in the concept and urged Pixar to produce a feature immediately, which became a critical and commercial success. The character of Lotso, however, was adapted for the third installment of the Toy Story series as the main villain.
Tinny himself makes a cameo in Toy Story 4 , appearing when Woody and Bo Peep enter a pinball machine to meet Duke Caboom.
Toy Story is a 1995 American animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures. The first installment in the franchise of the same name, it was the first entirely computer-animated feature film, as well as the first feature film from Pixar. It was directed by John Lasseter and produced by Bonnie Arnold and Ralph Guggenheim, from a screenplay written by Joss Whedon, Andrew Stanton, Joel Cohen, and Alec Sokolow and a story by Lasseter, Stanton, Pete Docter, and Joe Ranft. The film features music by Randy Newman, and was executive-produced by Steve Jobs and Edwin Catmull. The film features the voices of Tom Hanks, Tim Allen, Don Rickles, Jim Varney, Wallace Shawn, John Ratzenberger, Annie Potts, R. Lee Ermey, John Morris, Laurie Metcalf, and Erik von Detten.
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A Bug's Life is a 1998 American animated comedy film produced by Pixar Animation Studios for Walt Disney Pictures as its second feature-length film, following Toy Story (1995). Directed by John Lasseter and co-directed by Andrew Stanton from a screenplay written by Stanton, Donald McEnery and Bob Shaw and a story conceived by Lasseter, Stanton and Joe Ranft, the film stars the voices of Dave Foley, Kevin Spacey, Julia Louis-Dreyfus and Hayden Panettiere. In the film, a misfit ant named Flik, looks for "tough warriors" to save his ant colony from a protection racket run by a gang of grasshoppers. Unfortunately, the "warriors" he brings back turn out to be an inept troupe of Circus Bugs. The film's plot was initially inspired by Aesop's fable The Ant and the Grasshopper.
Knick Knack is a 1989 American computer-animated short film produced by Pixar that was written and directed by John Lasseter. The short is about a snow globe snowman who wants to join the other travel souvenirs in a summer-themed party. However, the glass dome that surrounds him prevents him from doing so, thus leading to his many tries to break out of his snow globe. Knick Knack is Pixar's fourth short and the final short produced during the company's tenure as a hardware company.
Luxo Jr. is a 1986 American computer-animated short film produced and released by Pixar. Written and directed by John Lasseter, the two-minute short film revolves around one larger and one smaller desk lamp. The larger lamp, named Luxo Sr., looks on while the smaller, "younger" Luxo Jr. plays exuberantly with a ball to the extent that it accidentally deflates. Luxo Jr. was Pixar's first animation after Ed Catmull and John Lasseter left Industrial Light & Magic's computer division of Cinetron Computer Systems. The film is the source of Luxo Jr., the mascot of Pixar.
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Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), sometimes shortened to Disney Animation, is an American animation studio that creates animated features and short films for The Walt Disney Company. The studio's current production logo features a scene from its first synchronized sound cartoon, Steamboat Willie (1928). Founded on October 16, 1923, by brothers Walt and Roy O. Disney, it is the oldest-running animation studio in the world. It is currently organized as a division of Walt Disney Studios and is headquartered at the Roy E. Disney Animation Building at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. Since its foundation, the studio has produced 62 feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Wish (2023), and hundreds of short films.
Red's Dream is a 1987 American computer-animated short film written and directed by John Lasseter and produced by Pixar. The short film, which runs four minutes, stars Red, a unicycle. Propped up in the corner of a bicycle store on a rainy night, Red dreams of a fantasy where it becomes the star of a circus. Red's Dream was Pixar's second computer-animated short following Luxo Jr. in 1986, also directed by Lasseter.
The Adventures of André & Wally B. is a 1984 American animated short film produced by the Lucasfilm Computer Graphics Project, a division of Lucasfilm and the predecessor of Pixar. The short was groundbreaking by the standards of the time and helped spark the film industry's interest in computer animation.
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Luxo Jr. is a semi-anthropomorphic toy desk lamp character used as the primary mascot of Pixar Animation Studios. He is the protagonist of the short film of the same name and appears on the production logo of every Pixar film, hopping into view and jumping on the capital letter "I" in "PIXAR" to flatten it. John Lasseter created the character, modeling it after his own Luxo brand lamp. In 2009, the manufacturer of Luxo lamps sued Disney, the parent company of Pixar, for selling Luxo Jr.-branded merchandise.