Pixar and Khan Academy Release Free Online Course for Aspiring Animators

 February 13, 2016
Posted by jenn

Pixar in a BoxUp there with being an astronaut, comic book artist, or the President, there’s one job that your average kid would probably love to snag: Working at Pixar. Animation and Pixar enthusiasts of all ages, take note! Pixar in A Box (or PIAB) is a collaboration between Khan Academy and Pixar Animation Studios that focuses on real-Pixar-world applications of concepts you might usually encounter in the classroom. The latest batch of Pixar in a Box, released today, gives Makers a rare peek under the hood so that you can get a whiff of the warm engine that keeps those Pixar pistons pumping. There’s no need to register for the course, nor a requirement to watch the lessons in order — just head to their site and start exploring!

Lena Fleischer watches Pixar in A Box, on August 12, 2015, a partnership with Khan Academy and Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, Calif. (Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar)

Lena Fleischer watches Pixar in A Box, a partnership with Khan Academy and Pixar Animation Studios in Emeryville, California. Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar

This new series of behind-the-scenes introductory videos and online exercises introduces computer science fundamentals by taking a closer look at the tools Pixar engineers and artists use to craft some of your favorite animated movies. There are two series with a couple dozen videos each which give the animation nerds in your life, young and old, a chance to get a sense of what it’s like to work at Pixar.

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Most topics start with a broad overview and follow up with a second lesson that delves more deeply into the geeky details. The deeper dive of the Rendering lesson, the most difficult session from the first series, yielded one PIAB student’s home-built basic ray tracer

This new release follows on a successful inaugural season of a dozen of lessons that touch on the math behind the movies, like how parabolas are helpful in modeling grass in Brave or how combinatorics helped Pixar build a diverse crowd of robots in WALL-E.


Some of these lessons stem from a popular talk by PIAB co-creator Tony DeRose as seen at TED-Ed. We already know DeRose at Maker Media from his work mentoring the teams behind the 720° flight simulator (akaThe Viper) and the fire-breathing dragon, Saphira. He also co-founded Young Makers with Dale Dougherty. PIAB is another way he’s working to encourage more kids to learn about STEAM subjects.

(Taken from Makezine.com by Binka) Original Post Here