As we exit the summer and move right into the fall season, some of you will either head back to school or settle in to college. In keeping with the spirit of academia while tying to our interests in animation, two well-known names from both areas have come together to bring you a unique program that should stimulate both areas.
As reported by Cartoon Brew (among others), Pixar Animation Studios teamed up with online non-profit education platform Khan Academy for a new online curriculum titled ‘Pixar in a Box.’
This free program (which just launched Friday of last week) will give learners an inside look at the creative and technical process involved in a Pixar production. Specifically, it will give an in-depth look at how different faucets of production (art, tech, science, engineering, and math) are utilized in order to create top-of-the-line animation.
The curriculum was created with middle and high school students in mind, but it is free and accessible to everyone. It will consist of interactive exercises, video lessons, and hands-on activities (among many other resources provided by Khan Academy). The lessons currently available are mostly math-based, but – as mentioned previously – future lessons will delve into science, the humanities, and art.
Oh, and did I mention that this is all free?
Below is a video providing a general description of how the program works as an overview of the various stages of production at Pixar:
Pixar President Ed Catmull formally unveiled the curriculum last Wednesday during an evening event on the Pixar campus. Describing the collaboration he said, “By working with Khan Academy on Pixar in a Box, we hope to encourage the excitement of learning and creative thinking for middle and high school students and to provide the tools to do it.”
The event also featured a live demonstration by two of the program’s creators, Khan Academy content producer Brit Cruise and Pixar senior artist and research group lead Tony DeRose. Pixar University director Elyse Klaidman was also there to present at the unveiling and participated in a Q&A session afterward.
At that Q&A, it was revealed that the demand from teachers at every grade level for animation-based curricula was what drove them to pursue this project. “Many students start to lose interest in academics in middle and high school, partly because they don’t see how academic concepts relate to things they care about,” explained DeRose. “Pixar in a Box aims to address this disconnect by showing how Pixar filmmakers use these concepts for creative benefit in their everyday work.”
Khan Academy founder Sal Khan also voiced his support for the project while reiterating his goal for an education that comes without a price tag: “Our mission at Khan Academy is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. Sparking student interest in math and other academic fields is a key part of that, and we’re delighted to collaborate with Pixar to achieve this goal.”
If you want to know more about the project or if you’re interested in this curriculum, click here to check it out.
Do you have any thoughts on ‘Pixar in a Box’? If you currently attend school or college, will you use this program?
Brandon is your average nerd with a love for nerdy things (games, comics, anime/manga, etc.). He also loves reading and writing and plans to be an author someday. For now, he writes with passion and curiosity about the world of animation. He lives with his family in North Carolina and is currently attending college.