Wednesday, April 14, 2010

Visiting Pixar: Inside the Studio

The moment you enter through the doors at Pixar you are instantly struck by the immensity of the building and the beauty of its design. The photographs in this post are meant to try and capture those feelings for the thousands of Pixar fans who have the far-off dream of being given the opportunity to tour the studio, like I did for so many years.

Taken on April 1, 2010, the photos in the Visiting Pixar series are currently among the most recent published anywhere of the studio. I've grouped them according to theme and each one comes with a short (sometimes humorous) description. For you photography buffs, I took them using a Nikon D3000 DSLR camera with AF-S DX NIKKOR 18-55mm f3.5-5.6G VR lens. They have been significantly compressed to allow posting to Blogger.

If you are unfamiliar with the history behind Pixar's storied campus in Emeryville, California, a good place to start would be the book To Infinity and Beyond! by Karen Paik, published by Chronicle Books, pages 164-173.

Enjoy.

Atrium

That's Nick Pitera (wearing red) chatting with Martin from Upcoming Pixar.


Stairs to the second storey and entrance to women's washroom. The women's washroom is denoted by a Bo Peep figure, the men's by Woody. I would have ventured closer to get a better shot of the signs, but let's be honest, that would have looked bad.

The atrium ceiling and elevated walkway, photographed from near the doors.

Some close-ups of the ceiling and skylights so you can feel the immense architecture.

Up color script on display on the second floor. The artwork can be seen online here in good quality.

Close-up of Toy Story 3 concept art. And no, don't ask me about the porcine aircraft.

It's Luigi from Cars!

Sulley and Mike from Monsters, Inc. guard the entrance.

LEGO Buzz Lightyear and Woody greet visitors to the studio.

From one end to the other, the atrium is presently full of things celebrating Toy Story 3.

Another incredible piece of concept art from the film. The doorway on the left of this and the previous photo is to one of the Pixar theatres.

Cafe Luxo

Self-serve coffee from Weaver's and Peet's Coffee & Tea. Notice the Pixar logo on the stainless-steel drain.

Empty tables about a half-hour before lunchtime. Concept art from A Bug's Life hangs on the wall.

The eatery fills up surprisingly quickly at noon. Standing at the far left is Up producer Jonas Rivera. Me and the other Pixar bloggers had a chance to greet him and writer/co-director Bob Peterson.

A few employees remain early in the afternoon and enjoy a lively conversation.

Bill of fare with the week's menu, displayed on the side of a refrigerator. You can see some healthy options are available, like steamed organic brown rice. I appreciate the fact that the hard-boiled eggs served are cage free.

Cereal Room

"Can I take pictures in the cereal room? It's not confidential?" I joked. Publicist Chris Wiggum deadpanned: "It's just cereal."


The famous cereal bar

The Cereal Room is about more than just cereal, actually. Its equipped with an espresso machine, a wide selection of teas, and a salad bar (not shown).

Spell check!
Mailroom

Pixar Studio Store

Operating hours for the store, open only to employees and guests of the studio, are Monday to Friday 11:00 AM to 4:00 PM. It's the only place in the world you can buy Pixar shirts, caps, mugs, stickers, and more. One blogger shelled out $94.

Everything Else

These signs were the bane of my existence during the tour. No photography is allowed in the areas past them. That means many of the cool things I got to see, like the Renderfarm and animation department, were off-limits to my camera lens.

Next week in the Visiting Pixar series, a look at the outdoor portion of Pixar's amazing campus.

55 comments:

Nate D said...

Think you'd be able to smuggle me into Pixar if you go again?

Anonymous said...

Don't know why, but I have the feeling that the ´woody and buzz´ concept art would be the perfect last shot of the movie.

ckat13 said...

In the Cereal Room, did they have my favorite, Cinnamon Life?

Mike said...

I'm so sorry I just accidentally rejected 6 thoughtful comments. This is what happens when you get up at 3:30 AM to check your blog :( My appologies to the commenters, and thanks.

Jordan said...

"Cinnamom Toast Cruch" made me laugh out loud.
Was the studio store showing Toy Story 1 on the TV there?

No pictures of the RenderFarm? "Open 24 hours a day" with a cool little neon sign and a moon and a cow or something? Yeah, I've seen that in photos. Why is that so secret?

All in all, I've seen as much of Pixar's building as I need and/or want to through the bonus features on their DVDs, specifically the Monsters, Inc. and Finding Nemo DVDs. That's about when they moved from Richmond. In addition, the menu intro of the short films DVD collection is a sped-up walk from the gate to the theater, passing through the lobby.

Moreno said...

Actually, I've decoded what's up with the porcine aircraft (and the entire train sequence) using the first image of the first trailer.

I'm sure it's gonna be awesome. But you already know that :P

Zeynep said...

Mouth watering. Thank you very much! The lego woody and buzz are amazing!

luciddream said...

mouth watering.. really.. the lego buzz and woody is marvellous.

Owen Williams said...

Brill, thanks for showing

acooper2 said...

I guess mine was one of the one's you rejected. That's okay. Basically, I just had to say thank you. These are awesome pics and I'm now even more jealous that I wasn't there! And that concept art of Woody and Buzz watching the car drive away... wow, that perfectly captures how I want this movie to feel.

Aaron Ludwig said...

So awesome. Thanks for the inside peek!

Boone said...

Quick note: Hollywood Studios (Walt Disney World) also sells some Pixar t-shirts. I bought one when I was there last year.

GlobeReacher said...

One question: Why does Pixar have a mail room?

Anonymous said...

For mail that the employees receive.

Anonymous said...

Hey Mike - awesome pics! Will you be screening Oceans to review?

luizacls said...

Great post Mike!!! Thanks so much for all the amazing pictures and I'm looking forward to the "outside portion" of the studios!
Keep up the good work!

Mike said...

Anonymous #3: I'm watching Oceans tomorrow...

Molly Mouse said...

SO COOL. Keep these posts coming!!

Coco Mault said...

I couldn't help myself when I was there...lol. http://www.flickr.com/photos/contusion/2546901179/

Also, if I worked there, I'd eat so much cereal.

Abhijith said...

Great pics. Happy that I got to see the studio this way atleast.

Daniel Duvall said...

Hey Mike, Did you get more pictures of the studio store? I love this blog, check out mine! I dont have mine updated though.

HyperNerd said...

Amazing! I would give vital organs to visit that place :)

Amy P. said...

Amazing photos! I may have seen photos of the inside the studio before, but not from YOUR perspective. Loved the cereal bar pics LOL!

Anonymous said...

"One blogger shelled out $94."

That wasn't you at all, was it? ;)

Mike said...

Maybe.

Anonymous said...

I love the clouds in the Pixar logo picture. Especially in the top righthand corner. They really make the picture different from other ones I've seen with not so much sky in them...

Nicola said...

Excellent pictures, thanks for sharing! I'm jealous - I saw a girl at WonderCon with a Pixar hoodie and now that I know it's guests and employees only into the shop I'm feeling sour. Glad to hear you had such a great time! It'd be amazing to work in a building like that.

persian said...

thanks,,,i will be there soon,hopefully:-)

SaRuRo said...

Hi,

I will visit Pixar studios in may 27 to assist to the emery ed act. Do you know if it could be possible to buy something at the pixar studio store?

Thanks and regards from Barcelona, Spain

angelo :D said...

i want to go there too!! i love pixar! LOVE not LIKE!! :D

Steph said...

Moreno, at first I had NO clue what you were talking about, but when I watched the first trailer again, I suddenly got it. VERY clever on Pixar's part. Now I have expectations. LOL

If it's what I think it is, I'm super excited beyond words or text. ^__^

Moreno said...

I believe it IS what you think it is, Steph. I'm glad you got it.

I will be epic.

Mike said...

Question to all commenters: Would I start getting negative and or nasty comments if I did a post about the stuff I got?

Russell said...

@Mike: From me - not at all. I can't speak for everyone else, but you deserved this trip to Pixar, and all promotional items you may have gotten. : )

Mike said...

Ah, that's so nice of you :)

Movie Music Enthusiast said...

I have no problem with hearing about it either. I'd love to hear about more elements of your amazing trip - including promotional items. Are you allowed to post pics?

Steph said...

I wouldn't have a problem hearing about all the loot you got! haha

Besides, if I were in your position, I'd wanna show off my new stuff too! I mean, it IS Pixar, after all, and it IS....new stuff. LOL :)

Anonymous said...

Anyone that would have a problem with that is nuts! You spend a lot of your own time on this for no pay, Pixar isn't paying you for this. So you completely deserve what you've received back from Pixar.

I know I, as a Pixar fan(atic) that I really appreciate what you do. :)

So, please do tell us what you got, I'm curious what they gave you.

Sonal said...

This was so cool!! I wish I could go to. This seems like such a good place to work. Thanks for sharing.

The Movie Kid said...

Hey Mike, guess what?? I'm going to Chicago to see Toy Story 3 in May, thanks to that post. There, I'm going to meet Lee Unkrich, Joan Cusack, and Jeff Garlin!! Thank you, and please check out my blog at the following link:

moviekid-zach.blogspot.com

mlunatico said...

I want to go to the pixar studio store!!! ASAP!!! Nice article, thanks for sharing this.

Anonymous said...

Wonderful post about the Emeryville campus of PIXAR! I too was (luckily!) able to take a tour recently as well and was thoroughly impressed with the building and the atmosphere. What a cool place to work!

It is regrettable that your post failed to mention Bohlin Cywinski Jackson (BCJ), the architects responsible for this magnificent work space. The PIXAR Studios in Emeryville are also featured in the forthcoming book: Bohlin Cywinski Jackson: The Nature of Circumstance, co-published by Rizzoli International Publications and ORO editions (www.oroeditions.com). Set to release in the coming months, The Nature of Circumstance chronicles some of the best built work of BCJ, including the new Apple Store on 5th Avenue in NYC and PIXAR in Emeryville. Peter Bohlin, Principal of BCJ just won the coveted Gold Medal in Architecture from the American Institute of Architects.

Alan / Falcon said...

Bohlin Cywinski Jackson were responsible for the building, but you have to give Steve Jobs massive credit for it as well. The Pixar people have called it "Steve's Film" for all the time and love he dedicated to its design and creation.

GlobeReacher said...

Why on earth would anyone give negative comments in regards to your Pixar items? The worst thing you could possibly hear is, "Boy, I wish I could get my hands on something like that."

Nate said...

Glad you took pics of the arcetecture as well as the shops.

Nat said...

Thanks for posting this, love following ur blog. Its posts like these that keep us 'in training' animation students fired up....even all the way from Australia. Keep up the fantastic work :)

Cotton Yarn Manufacturer said...

Such a very fine pictures. thanks for sharing it...

Anonymous said...

Anyone have any insight regarding post merger business process integration with respect to Pixar and Disney? Since Pixar embodied innovation and creativity, I'm wondering if big D changed things around and if so what?

Anonymous said...

HOW IN THE WORLD DID YOU GET INTO PIXAR STUDIOS!!!!!! I MUST KNOW!

Mike said...

I write a blog :)

Jenny said...

Hi, not sure how I got to this blog but it's really cool!

Love the cereal!

My Grandkids would go crazy in there!

Might you have any advice as to how to submit a manuscript to one of the screenwriters at Pixar?

I've been googling for info all morning with little success.

Thanks for any assistance you can shoot my way.

jennymatlock at cox dot net

Mike said...

Sorry to disappoint you, Jenny, but Pixar has a strict and longstanding policy of not accepting any unsolicited manuscripts or story ideas. All the films are developed internally at the studio.

Lauren H said...

This was a fantastic blog, really opened your eyes to the fantasy land that is Pixar. How did you get permission to go on one of these tours? Would love to hear back from you.
Thanks :)

Kitty4Cat said...

That's so nice that you've seen all of that!

...and...?

Did you actually had the incredible chance to talk to Nick Pitera?! :D <3

Nayeong Sung said...

This is great! I really want to work at Pixar