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Lasseter's Epiphany: "This Is What Walt Was Waiting For"



(p. 52) In a trailer on the Disney lot, Lasseter huddled with Rees and Kroyer to look at the first computer-generated scene to come in--a race among drivers in virtual motorcycles known as light cycles. The scene had no character animation and its graphics were rudimentary, but it brought Lasseter an epiphany. The dimensionality of the scene was something he had never witnessed before. If this technology could be melded with Disney animation, he thought, he would have the makings of a revolution. Until then, three-dimensional effects in animation had required difficult, costly sessions with the multistory "multiplane" camera, practical for only a few key sequences in a film, if that. The computers could even move the audience's point of view around a scene like a Steadicam. The possibilities seemed infinite.

"I couldn't believe what I was seeing," he said later. "Walt Disney, all his career, all his life, was striving to get more dimension in his (p. 53) animation . . . and I was standing there, looking at it, going, 'This is what Walt was waiting for.'"

He was not able to interest the animation executives in it; they did not care to hear about new technology unless it made animation faster or cheaper.



Source:

Price, David A. The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company. New York: Alfred A. Knopf, 2008.

(Note: ellipsis in original.)

(Note: my strong impression is that the pagination is the same for the 2008 hardback and the 2009 paperback editions, except for part of the epilogue, which is revised and expanded in the paperback. I believe the passage above has the same page number in both editions.)





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