By Vicki Little
Have you ever wondered about the jobs of those creators behind your beloved big furry monster or your favorite ice princess? Pixar movies are fun for all ages. I have an image in my head of child-at-heart adults throwing paper airplanes at each other on the job as the creative juices and brilliant ideas are flowing. Maybe that’s not really what happens, but imagine how much fun those Pixar animators have? What a cool job it would be, creating kids’ movies all day and watching your ideas come to life. Now imagine that you and the kids could, in fact, make movies like that, too. Kids young and old can now get a taste of what being an animator is like with Pixar In A Box (PIAB). Pixar and Khan Academy joined forces to let kids try their hand at what the Pixar artists and engineers do to create movies.
Kids who like math can use their understanding of parabolas to model grass in movies like Pixar did in Brave. Or they can use their weird love of combinatorics to create crowds similar to the one with robots in WALL-E.
The program covers six topics: Environment Modeling and Character Modeling, Animation, Crowds, Sets and Staging, and finally, the hardest course in Rendering. Each topic has videos that give an introduction to the tools and programs used in the process. There also are interviews with Pixar employees and samples of how ideas are used in movies. In addition, they offer a series of short exercises where the “student” can actually work through processes that are involved in creating different scenes. While some exercises are targeted towards older kids in middle and high school, there are plenty of sections for the younger crowd as well.
So how much is it? Glad you asked because it is free. You can even try it yourself! This just may be the least expensive high-tech education you can give your children. Maybe one day they will repay you by making a character in your likeness!
Vicki Little is a work-at-home mom with two young kids. A Colorado native, she is the Publisher and Editor of Macaroni Kid Aurora and Downtown Denver. In her free time, she enjoys volunteering, reading, camping, or enjoying a bottle of wine with friends.
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