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Through The Years: The Story Of Toy Story
How the CG classics were born

This week sees the release of Toy Story in 3D. Two of the most influential films ever made, here's the tale of how the adventures of Woody and Buzz came to our screens and why they're so darn good. It's a story 20 years in the making, so let's start waaaay back, as the men behind Toy Story took their first steps towards the film.


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Through The Years: The Story Of Toy Story
Ed Catmull (pictured), a student of computer graphics at the University of Utah, solved three key problems in the field of computer graphics - the problem of (here's the technical bit) getting computers to understand depth; covering three-dimensional shapes in detail by wrapping images around them in a process called "texture mapping" and using a "subdivision surface" to build irregular and curved shapes in the computer. In other words, he persuaded computers to recognise shapes other than squares and triangles. Catmull reckoned he was on to something with the potential to create ground-breaking, gorgeous films; everyone else thought it might be useful to scientists. Maybe. Despite this, a digitized hand animation he created as a student demonstration was the first computer graphic used in a film, in 1976's Futureworld.
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Have Your Say
What are your memories of watching Toy Story for the very first time? Register or login now to have your say.

Your Comments
1 Further References
Posted on Friday October 2, 2009, 10:14 by tyro
Good job for referencing "To Infinity And Beyond", a wonderul book. Those more interested in the LucasFilm years should read Michael Rubin's "DroidMaker". Rubin also hosts a fantastic Q&A session with Ed Camtull, Alvy Ray Smith, Andrew Stanton and Brad Bird that is available on YouTube here: Set aside 100 minutes and just revel in their genius. The Pixar story is one of the strongest real life tales of friendship, trust and belief in the power of story. Read More

2 Toy Story
Posted on Thursday October 1, 2009, 22:02 by Alistair
I was twelve years old when Toy Story was released, so I wasn't really at the age to fully appreciate its technical achievement. It was the characters that really endeared me to the film. Of course, ys something completely new. It's certainly one of those films where you can see the cinematic landscape change before your very eyes. The final removal-van chase was mind-blowing, and certainly kept me on the edge of my seat. I honestly believe it is up there with some of the best action scenes in cinema history. On a technical level Toy Story has been bettered by recent PIXAR films but I believe it remains their very best film. Which just goes to prove that the visual aspect means little in comparison to a great story and great characters. I mean, the film would have been just as great if it was 2D, but it just so happened to be a D filmhis has given it its place in cinema history. My favourite scene from any PIXAR film is when Buzz finally realises he isn't a real space-man. IRead More

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