In the beginning, there was Toy Story. Then, as Pixar developed each subsequent film, they had a choice to make: what could we make the (still primitive) technology of computer animation do, and how can we tell a story based around that? One by one, the engineers tackled hair, water, particles - and those achievements highlighted by the characters and environments of their films.

Lately, it feels like computer animation has plateaued. Big technological innovations are harder to come by. And, as it becomes easier to do something, less care is put into how it is done, and why it's being done in the first place.

When the hurdles are taken away, when the ability to make something previously restricted to a few master craftspersons has become democratised, the sheer amount of competition can look scary. But it also becomes easier to differentiate yourself: as the one who still puts care into what they make, and why they choose to make it in the first place.

AuthorThomas Riggs