Pixar, in partnership with Khan Academy, has launched an exciting educational program geared towards kids and teens (or the curious-minded) to learn about the math and science that helps bring their films to life called, Pixar in a Box. The series of free online courses engage students as they explore varying degrees of complexity by pairing education and entertainment — effectively making learning fun & showcasing how education is truly applied in the workforce.
The official tagline from Pixar states that as you learn about the technical aspects, “you’ll also learn a lot about Pixar’s filmmaking process. To see how these lessons fit together, it’s helpful to get to know the Pixar production pipeline. We’ve broken this pipeline into a series of topics for you to explore.”
The main topics within the interactive lessons are an introduction, Environment modeling, Character modeling, Animation, Crowds, Sets & Staging, and finally, Rendering (with additional sub-topics along the way such as Editorial, Lighting, or Art & Story). Additional topics are planned for future programs as well (such as computer science, arts, and humanities), so this is only the beginning.
To get started all you need to do is head to the Khan Academy site. Although you don’t have to sign up to enjoy the lesson plans, doing so will save your progress and as we’ve explored the lessons, we’d recommend it — there’s an amazing wealth of information included. Each lesson should be able to be completed within an hour and each topic is broken into two lessons with recommended grade levels for completion.
Lesson 1: Modeling grass with parabolas – all ages
Lesson 2: Calculating parabolas – grades 7 – high school
Lesson 1: Modeling with subdivision surfaces – all ages
Lesson 2: Mathematics of subdivision – grades 7 – high school
Lesson 1: Introduction to animation curves – all ages
Lesson 2: Mathematics of animation curves – grades 8 – high school
Lesson 1: Building crowds (combinations) – grades 4-7
Lesson 2: Counting crowds (binomial coefficient) – high school
Sets & Staging
Lesson 1: Geometric transformations – grades 7-8
Lesson 2: Mathematics of rotation – high school
Lesson 1: Rendering 101 – all ages
Lesson 2: Mathematics of rendering – high school+
PIXAR POST PODCAST
In addition to the amazing lesson plans, for those interested, we also wrapped up our own exploration into Pixar’s pipeline with a series of employee interviews (presented as part of our Podcast) earlier this year. We talked with employees from many of the main departments and the anecdotal stories will pair up perfectly with the technical aspects of the lesson plans. Listen in as we chat with –
- Louis Gonzales (Story)
- Chloe Kloezeman (Editorial)
- Craig Foster (Art)
- Mahyar Abousaeedi (Layout)
- Aaron Hartline (Animation)
- Angelique Reisch (Lighting)
- Jason Johnston (Effects)
- Laura Meyer (Localization)
Who’s planning on getting started with the Pixar in a Box lessons? We know we’re going to get involved right away and enjoy the wealth of information. Leave a comment below or chat about these lessons with other Pixar fans on the Pixar Post Forum.