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Home » The Magic Ingredient That Brings Pixar Movies to Life: Danielle Feinberg (Transcript)

The Magic Ingredient That Brings Pixar Movies to Life: Danielle Feinberg (Transcript)

Danielle Feinberg at TED Talks

Danielle Feinberg – Pixar’s director of photography

When I was seven years old, some well-meaning adult asked me what I wanted to be when I grew up.

Proudly, I said: “An artist.”

“No, you don’t,” he said, “You can’t make a living being an artist!”

My little seven-year-old Picasso dreams were crushed.

But I gathered myself, went off in search of a new dream, eventually settling on being a scientist, perhaps something like the next Albert Einstein.

I have always loved math and science, later, coding. And so I decided to study computer programming in college. In my junior year, my computer graphics professor showed us these wonderful short films. It was the first computer animation any of us had ever seen.

I watched these films in wonder, transfixed, fireworks going off in my head, thinking, “That is what I want to do with my life.”

The idea that all the math, science and code I had been learning could come together to create these worlds and characters and stories I connected with, was pure magic for me.

Just two years later, I started working at the place that made those films, Pixar Animation Studios. It was here I learned how we actually execute those films. To create our movies, we create a three-dimensional world inside the computer.

We start with a point that makes a line that makes a face that creates characters, or trees and rocks that eventually become a forest. And because it’s a three-dimensional world, we can move a camera around inside that world. I was fascinated by all of it.

But then I got my first taste of lighting. Lighting in practice is placing lights inside this three-dimensional world. I actually have icons of lights I move around in there.

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