Thursday, 28 January 2010

My Pixar Book Collection

I am a BIG book nerd and have been building my collection for many years now. I recently bought the book below To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios and am enjoying it so much that I wanted to share it with everyone. Since I planned to do this post I figured why not share all of my favourite books!

I have a big collection of illustration and animation books and eventually I would like to share them all with you. As these types of books tend to be a bit on the expensive side I always like to have a peak inside or read a book review before I buy. So I hope if you are reading this with the intention of buying one of these books that I can help you make up your mind. So here is my first book related post... this is my Pixar book Collection! :)

I am a massive Pixar fan! After all it was after watching a 'making of' special on 'A Bugs Life' on the Disney channel which made me decide I wanted to work in animation. ^-^

To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios

This a large hardback book with a fabric cover and it looks lovely on my bookshelf! This book is different from some of my other animation related books as there is a lot of reading. I am not complaining though as there are some great images from the Pixar films scattered throughout the book.

You can read about the founders of Pixar and how the company grew from a small computer graphics department to the huge animation studio it is today. There are details behind each of the Pixar films (including the shorts) and directors explaining what inspired them and any problems they might have come across. As this book was published in 2007 it only explores up to the film 'Cars', if they ever republish it would be great to read about the backgrounds of their more recent films.

Close up of fabric cover

'Monsters Inc.' Double page spread

Toy Story

I am still slowly working my way through this book and it is great to read about the history of one of my favourite companies! I am finding it really inspiring to read the stories of the early founders of Pixar and how they overcame many of problems thrown at them when starting up.
It features some great images from the movies and of the production artwork. The double page spreads look brilliant as the paper and print quality is really high.

Even though I haven't finished reading this book I highly recommend it to anyone who loves Pixar and just wants to know more about the company. I just can't get enough of it! I also think it is a really inspiring read for anyone who aspires to one day run their own studio.



This book is a bit more for suited for general fans of the Pixar films. I bought this book expecting more concept art and stories behind the making of each film and was slightly disappointed by the lack of it. That's not to say it is a bad book though, as an animator I am always wanting that little bit more! :)

It opens with a few pages looking at Pixars history with lots of pictures and profiles of the people who started it all. The book then moves on to looking at each feature film and even some of the short films. Even though it wasn't what I was expecting it is still a nice book full of great images from all the Pixar films released so far.

Character Profile on Russel from 'Up'

Each movie is explored in detail with character profiles (including minor characters in the films), fun facts about the movie production, characters quotes and details on all the settings within each film. For example one section explore how the ant hill works in 'A Bugs Life'.
There is also a very short section looking at the themes of the films such as friendship and love and the relationships between the characters.

Behind the Scenes section on 'Toy Story'

Towards the end of the book there is a 'Behind the Scenes' section on each film including credits, short Q&A with people who worked on the film and facts about the film production e.g. "Monsters Inc: It took 11-12 hours to render a single frame of Sulley because of his 2.3 million individually animated hair strands". As an animation geek I would have liked more of this but I think 'To Infinity and Beyond' filled my need for that. The thing I really loved about this book was that it is very colourful and full of great images from the films. It also gave me a chance to learn about all the characters in each of the Pixar films, the back story on even the minor characters shows just how much work went into creating these stories.


Pixar 20 Years of Animation

I went to the Pixar Exhibition at the Science Musuem in London back in 2007. It was amazing and at the time I saw this gorgeous book in the shop area but for some reason I didn't buy it, instead I bought some high quality artwork postcards. Fast forward a year and after gazing at the postcards on my wall I realised I did actually really want the book. So began a mad hunt online to find it. I eventually managed to find and order it online and had it shippped over from the exhibition in Melbourne, Australia, it was definitly worth the extra costs.

The book is split up into sections for characters, sculpture, story, colorscripts, worlds and media installations. I loved everything about this book! The images below will speak for themselves.

Concept art from 'Monsters Inc.'

Leaf seasonal colour palette for 'A Bugs Life'

Colour scripts for 'Finding Nemo'

Everything in the book was featured in the exhibition which shows off the concept work behind the films. A lot of people are unaware of the number of traditional artists that work on the Pixar films and it is great to see the different styles of work from pencil sketches, ink drawings, pastals, clay and more!

I hope this post has helped anyone who is looking into buying these books.^-^ I have recently added quite a few books to my collection so I will posting again soon!

Adrenaline Alley Progress...

Progress is being made with the Adrenaline Alley project. There have been a few changes... we will now be creating content to be integrated into the main site being produced by Webforma Studios. There will be separate flash files for each section of the park containing video and photographs.

Andy R operating the camera

We started collecting all the content for the site this week with sessions at the park this Tuesday and Wednesday. We've already captured some great shots of the empty park as well video/photos of professional skaters / bmxers and audio tracks for the films. ^-^ A couple more sessions are still needed but after that we should have everything we need to work with.

Ben capturing the vert

Thursday, 14 January 2010

Sunday, 10 January 2010

Mailarky provides a searchable forum-like interface to millions of conversations that are carried out on thousands of Discussion/Mailing lists.

Mailing lists are a way to provide managable, transparent, E-Mail based communications to communities of people. Some of these communities are made up of tens of thousands of people, meaning that millions of conversations take place on these lists. Mailarky exists to archive these conversations and provide a useful, searchable, forum-like interface to this mass of information. is a project set up by my boyfriend and his friend. I am posting about this here to help the little google bot find it. If you are interested then you should check it out as well. :)

Saturday, 9 January 2010

ctrl g and Adrenaline Alley

For ctrl g's next project we'll be working with our local skate park Adrenaline Alley

"Adrenaline Alley which opened in 2006 has hosted over 93000 visitors and has become known as the biggest, safest and best parks in the UK with a great atmosphere and welcoming attitude. They have become an award wining social enterprise. The founder, Mandy Young has picked up awards for BBC Enterprise in Sport sponsored by EMDA, Finalist - Business Women of the year 2009, Pride of Northamptonshire, Anne Frank Award, High Sherrif's Award and many more including the PAG -Volunteer group of the year 2008."

The park has a range of features including the UK's only Resi jump box, a foam pit, a bowl to Europe's first and only 14ft x 76ft resi/vert ramp. The park also houses music practice rooms as well as a recording studio and an education room that is used by schools and groups in the local area. (Click on the image above to see more)

A selection of ctrl g are going to be working together over the next couple of months to create a flash micro site which will be included in the parks brand new website. It will be a kind of tour of the park allowing users to explore all the different areas through video and photographs.

Although we have been meeting and planning together for the last couple of months today was the day when everything has come together. We have assigned roles, looked at the park and now have a strong plan in place to create the site. This is a very exciting project for us as our final product will be accessed by users all over the world.

As always I will update with the progress on here. ^-^

Friday, 8 January 2010

Walt Disney Animation Studios: The Archive Series - Animation

I recently came across this book on Amazon and this week I finally got to have a peak inside via Jim Hill Media.

I really want this book to add to my bookshelf. ♥ I mean just look at the drawing below! Dumbo has a special place in my heart, I think it was the first movie I ever fell in love with around the age of 4. I will definitely be purchasing this book when some more money comes in. ^-^

Monday, 4 January 2010

Hello Twenty Ten!

A new year and some new content on my showreel and website. :)

Showreel 2010 from Steff Lee on Vimeo.