Thursday, November 27, 2008

Working for Pixar

After one year and a half to process my visa, finally the US accepted to welcome me. It is an interesting time for America. The first black president in history was just elected, and a deep financial crisis is changing lots of things.

So I started a new employment at Pixar Animation Studios, located very near to San Francisco. And the other good news is I am finally doing what I love again: writing shaders.

Actually the first three weeks here were spent on an wide training. It is something I have never found anywhere else: to invest three whole weeks into getting someone ready for production, regardless of their deparment. It is probably a good thing, as my rate of learning in this course, managed by the Pixar University, was probably higher than by being thrown into the production. It also allowed us to learn about a different pipeline and how to deal with other people in other roles, with reviews and how to tackle potential problems in the most efficient way.

There is something about Pixar that is hard to understand until you are inside. It is about what they call the "Culture" of the company. It realy feels like a family, where it is hard to get in, but once you are in everyone treats you with respect and care. It is interesting how I heard very few "Welcome!" and many "Congratulations!". Everyone here is very well taken care of. Creativity and originality are nurtured and encouraged. Every office is an eye candy in its own way. There are daily projections and seminars of interesting topics, there are plenty of courses at the Pixar University to improve one's skills. There is a gym and a pool, videogames, table tennis and so on. And last but not least, the food in the cafe is really good! People who finally make it at Pixar do not usually want to leave. And Pixar tends to want the people they invested on to stay and improve.

Everyone takes very seriously the confidentiality of the projects they are working on. They won't even talk to their closest friends and family until the news are public. So I won't either. All I will say is, it is good to be here.

Wednesday, November 5, 2008

Guardians of Ga'Hoole and Knowing

Director Zack Snyder, responsible of titles such as "Dawn of the dead", "300" and "Watchmen" has started a new project: it is an animation feature called "Guardians of Ga'Hoole", based on the first book of a series for children written by Kathryn Lasky.

Soren, a young barn owl, is kidnapped by owls of St. Aggie's, ostensibly an orphanage, where owlets are brainwashed into becoming soldiers. He and his new friends escape to the island of Ga'Hoole, to assist its noble, wise owls who fight the army being created by the wicked rulers of St. Aggie's.

Since the whole project is being produced by Animal Logic, I had a chance to put my hands on some of it. The early work already looks very impressive, and I am looking forward to see how this movie will turn out by the time is released. Due to the limited amount of work I put into it, I doubt I will have a credit on the end titles for that, but look out for the shaders of the iridescent snake!
Also, my last work in Animal Logic, before leaving the country again, was on a sci-fi movie starring Nicholas Cage, called "Knowing", directed by Alex Proyas, that will be released in theaters on the 30th March 2009.

I ripped a synopsis from IMDB: A teacher (Cage) opens a time capsule that has been dug up at his son's elementary school; in it are some chilling predictions -- some that have already occurred and others that are about to -- that lead him to believe his family plays a role in the events that are about to unfold.