Inside Pixar Studios

Ask a cg artist what their dream job is, and there's a good chance you'll hear Pixar. In high school that was my only goal, and even though Blender Guru has taken me in a completely different direction, I've still longed to visit the place.

Unfortunately it's not open to the general public, so even if you're in Emeryville this is the closest you'll get to 'seeing' the Pixar Studios:

But! If you happen to know somebody who works there then you're allowed past the gates.

That guy on the left is Colin Levy, who directed the Blender Open Short Sintel. Shortly afterwards he was offered a job as a Layout artist at Pixar, where he's worked since 2011.

So since I was staying with him for 2 weeks (working on his new short film), he gave me a tour. Not everyone get's to see inside, so I made sure to bring my camera so I could share it with you.

What's Behind the Gates

When you enter, the first thing you'll see is a pathway leading to the iconic Luxo Jr lamp and ball, which became an icon for Pixar after their groundbreaking short in 1986:

Right next to it is the main Pixar building, posthumously renamed after Steve Jobs' death. For those curious why, it's because he bought the company in 1986 and kept it afloat for the years following.

When you enter the doors you're greeted to a beautiful atrium:

The architecture (also partly designed by Steve Jobs) allows for beautiful light to fill the floor:

Giant canvases around the building feature shots from Pixar's shorts and features. Can you guess what this artwork is from?

In that main foyer you'll also find a fully staffed restaurant called Cafe Luxo, that serves different lunches every day, for a very cheap price:

Since there's no restrictions for guests, I ordered myself a (delicious) grain-fed beef burger and broccoli (gotta eat ya greens yo):

Which was devoured outside:

Inside the main building you'll see lots of life-size characters. Mike and Sully greet people by the door:

As do these guys:

And the Incredibles hang out on the second floor:

You can check out the display case of every Oscar Pixar has ever won:

Or buy some Pixar swag from the souvenir shop! (and yes I got a full bag full)

Whilst there you also got to see glimpses of the many perks of working there. Like playing a game of ping-pong in your spare time:

Swimming in the pool outside:


Or walking in the gorgeous surrounding park:

Or just relaxing in the shade:

There is actually a lot more that I couldn't show you as cameras were forbidden in some areas. But in summary, visiting Pixar feels a lot like watching one of their movies: fun and full of surprises.

If working at Pixar is your dream job, then keep striving for it! Like Colin, you may just end working there someday :)

Andrew Price