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The Toy Story Films

General Information:

Media Type: Book
Type: Other
Release Date: 2012-08-07

Geek's Thoughts: This book by Charles Solomon explores the story of how the Toy Story films came to be. It starts off with a brief history of Pixar as well as John Lasseter and his experimentation with computer generated work at Disney. It goes through some of the early shorts as well as commercials that Pixar created along the way as the team learned their medium. It chronicles the three Toy Story films giving you some insight on what it took to create the trilogy. You are taken on a journey through the twists and turns the project took to get Toy Story to the big screen then you explore each of the three films to learn about their trek. Also included is some of the Disney/Pixar story and how the relationship was formed, managed, collapsed, and eventually merged.

This is a larger format, 11x11 inch, hard cover book printed in full color. I really enjoyed the extra flexibility the large format gave the author and how it allowed for quite a few images to be allocated the full two page spread. You get to see some of the key moments from all three films in great detail and are not stuck with just looking at a small thumbnail. On other pages with the text you still had enough room for a decent size image. I found the narrative to be a quick read providing some information as well as some great stories/quotes from the key Pixar and Disney folks. The book has a good balance of narrative to images for me.


In thinking back to what I just finished reading the most interesting tidbits that stick out are the discussion of how Pixar evolved from commercials and shorts to feature length and in the process had to create a new workflow on how a film is created. There is a great flowchart graphic showing the Disney Animated Feature process and then right next to it the Pixar one so you can see the differences in the sequencing required for computer animated films.

I also really enjoyed studying the story boards, color panels and concept art and seeing how that translated to the films. There are several full pages that feature these and all caused me to pause and really look at them.

The techgeek in me really would have liked to have learned more about the technology side of the films. It is brought up and referenced at several key points. Including the software and hardware limitations and evolution as well as the computing requirements, rendering time, but I would have really have liked to learn more about this side of the creation process. The couple numbers that were referenced were amazing in terms of the time per frame, number of frames, etc to produce the films.

All in all this is a great read for fans of the films. It captures many of the moments we all remember and shares some of the stories from the team that created them.

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