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AICN Games: Monki Tells You About A Cool New Book Called THE ART OF PIXAR SHORT FILMS!!

Greetings humans, Monki here with a look at the new book, The Art of Pixar Short Films that just hit stores earlier this week.

After writing on and off for AICN for nearly eight years, I've ended up on some strange mailing lists. Packages land on my doorstep with all kinds of goodies inside. Sometimes its a new game, sometimes its the complete Blade television series and just a couple of weeks ago, it was The Art of Pixar Short Films.

The Art of Pixar Short Films by Amid Amidi, Foreword by John Lasseter
Published by Chronicle Books, LLC

This book is a must-have for Pixar junkies. (I'm looking at YOU Harry.) Cover to cover this thing is full of incredible art from some of the earliest days of Pixar. This image just above this paragraph is actually one of the first pieces of art that John Lasseter created for Pixar. It represents an early sketch for the short The Adventures of Andre & Wally B., which was actually the first short Pixar produced, not Luxo Jr. like most people assume. (Yes, I know, technically they were part of LucasArts at the time. Same guys though.)

Every single page is draped with interesting art. Everything is represented here, from simple pencil sketches to final renders, and all of it is crisp on the page.

The Art of Pixar Short Films by Amid Amidi, Foreword by John Lasseter
Published by Chronicle Books, LLC

The first third of the book (about fifty pages) tells the story of the evolution of Pixar shorts. In it, the entire development team chips in to provide insight into this important piece of Pixar history. Author Amid Amidi gives wonderful insight into the Pixar process with stories and anecdotes you won't find anywhere else.

Super tech geeks will crap their pants as some of the detail that shows up in here. For example, during the rendering phase of The Adventures of Andre & Wally B. the techs working to complete the film actually borrowed some usage of Cray machines (supercomputers back in 1984) to render, even going so far as taking over Seymour Cray's terminal. That's super-geek shit right there. I realize about 99.9% of you won't give a damn about that, but I think it's pretty sweet.

The Art of Pixar Short Films by Amid Amidi, Foreword by John Lasseter
Published by Chronicle Books, LLC

There are all kinds of nuggets of cool in this book. Did you know that Pixar didn't have permission to use the name "Luxo," even after they had finished production on Luxo Jr.? No one had bothered to ask. Whoops.

If an image is worth a thousand words, this book would be a Joyce novel. You really do get to see some cool stuff here. One of my favorite pieces is a clay sculpt used for reference for Geri's head from Geri's Game. The amount of detail that goes in to these shorts is astounding. Check out the below image of the bone structure of some of the tiny birds from For The Birds.

The Art of Pixar Short Films by Amid Amidi, Foreword by John Lasseter
Published by Chronicle Books, LLC

It's kind of hard to do this book justice via a write-up, you really need to take a gander at all the beautiful art that is contained within. I've had it in my living room for a couple of weeks now and every time I have friends over they end up getting caught up in it for a good amount of time. The book is definitely an easy way to show off your passion for all that is Pixar.

Oh, and for what it's worth, this book covers up until Lifted as far as theatrical shorts and Mater and The Ghostlight for the DVD shorts. Unfortunately nothing from Presto! or Burn-E here. I'm sure there will eventually be another one though!

The Art of Pixar Short Films is available now from your favorite book retailers. Until next time, back up the tree I go!


Readers Talkback
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  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST

    looks good

    by Eats_sandwich_gets_laid.

    but i'll wait for the movie adaptation

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:35 a.m. CST


    by fractaljinn


  • Feb. 27, 2009, 10:52 a.m. CST

    The Pixar Formula

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    I love the movies they have made so far, and they are usually very entertaining but the formula is getting a little tiresome. They must sit around and say "Complete this sentence: 'THE SECRET LIFE OF _____' ". And there is a movie! Secret life of: toys, bugs, monsters, fish, superheroes, cars, rats.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 11:36 a.m. CST

    Emperor was a jerk!!!

    by BurgerKing

    Your lack of appreciation for the art of Pixar is making my mind explode!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 12:25 p.m. CST


    by DivisionPost

    Very true - it even kind of fits for WALL-E. Doesn't seem to fit for Up, though.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 12:43 p.m. CST

    That looks great actually. If I had some spare cash Id have that

    by Col. Tigh-Fighter

    I love me some PIXAR

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 12:58 p.m. CST

    Knick Knack

    by Dasinfogod

    From the article, I see that Pixar has extended revisionist history much in the same manner as Lucasfilm & Disney for imagery that they find embarrassing or outmoded.<p>The snowman's motivation in original version of KNICK KNACK was clearly the voluptuous figure of the mermaid - re-rendered as a family-friendly flat-chested fish-woman ever since it was tacked onto FINDING NEMO. That's fine, but don't suppress the original as if it never existed.<p>It should have been included as an easter egg on the shorts DVD, but nowhere to be seen. Thank goodness I still have the laserdisc version to prove to friends it actually existed once...

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 2:09 p.m. CST

    Not trying to be that troll guy, but isn't this about games?

    by TheMark

    I agree, this book looks like it kicks a little bit of ass, but where's my game coverage?? I don't want to type in another web site to find what i'm looking for...INSTANT GRATIFICATION.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 2:27 p.m. CST


    by Monki

    The issue of the mermaid's chest is actually covered in the book. There are some sketches of the watermellon-sized breasts attached to her as well as the "revised" versions.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 2:57 p.m. CST

    12 posts until we discuss breasts

    by Arcadian Del Sol

    well done.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 4:01 p.m. CST

    Of all the books out there we're now pushing this shit?

    by Walts_Turning_InTheGrave

    This place is becoming just another fucking Ebay/pimping site.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 4:04 p.m. CST

    Really wish Tartakovsky could get his

    by Dingbatty

    Orphanage animation studios to put out some big screen 2D toons to counter all this Pixar and Dreamworks garbage.

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 6:42 p.m. CST


    by brattyben

    Here Here! I agree 100% with you. That stuff seems more pleasing to me anyway. Like with the opening of Kung Fu Panda. That was some sweet 2-D

  • Feb. 27, 2009, 8:19 p.m. CST


    by Dasinfogod

    Thanks for the clarification regarding the book. I don't mind that there's a "family friendly" revised version of KNICK KNACK, but I wish Pixar would follow Spielberg's ET example and put both versions out there.<p>I just prefer the former version because it gives the snowman's antics a somewhat edgier vibe of desperation than the sanitized smitten version.<p>As for the 2-D front, it's partly market driven (reminds me of my childhood when the kiddies groaned at black&white movies, not knowing what they were missing out on) and gun-shy studio pencil pushers who want a sure thing at the boxoffice. ATLANTIS, TREASURE PLANET, TITAN AE, and HOME ON THE RANGE pretty much killed 2-D not because they weren't like Pixar/Dreamworks, but because they were fairly weak in the script. But what do I know? CARS was equally weak in story, but it's still cranking out millions in ancillary toy sales. I guess the flyover state yahoos can't get enough of that animated NASCAR action. But I digress...<p>I think the next major 2-D feature is Disney's THE PRINCESS AND THE FROG, which looks really fun, but sadly, the ethnicity is gonna be as hard a sell as MULAN or POCAHONTAS.<p>Anyway, if you want a good overview of the history of Pixar, be sure to check out Leslie Iwerks' THE PIXAR STORY; I won't go as far as to say it's a "warts and all" docu, but it doesn't whitewash the history of the company like you see from other similar ventures by Disneyland™ and Lucasland™.

  • that is a good story that never saw the light of day. filthy thieves. great animations, though...hard to stay mad at them.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:16 p.m. CST

    BurgerKing: No, I appreciate it

    by Emperor_was_a_jerk

    It's just that lots of people tend go a bit overboard with the praise for Pixar. They are good at what they do and have made some entertaining movies, no doubt about it, but much of their character designs look the same. Characters in Incredibles and humans in WALL-E, and some of what we have seen from "Up" all pretty much are the same. I guess it is their "look". I don't know. The "art" of Pixar is pretty much lavish, hyper realistic backgrounds, big-eyed bugs, fish and other creatures (and cars), and funny looking adult humans. I just want them to push their own boundaries. The first part of WALL-E did that, but then when they got to the ship (where for some unexplained reason all the real-life humans we saw in the commercial for the Axiom had turned into funny-looking cartoon people) the styles were all jumbled, and the story turned into a cliche chase. I was just disappointed compared to the stuff of WALL-E on earth. And of course Cars was just a 90 minute version of the talking cars from the Chevron commercials.

  • Feb. 28, 2009, 6:49 p.m. CST


    by BadMrWonka

    really? this is a book about art from Pixar short films. how is this not appropriate for this site?<p>god, some people just like to whine...

  • March 1, 2009, 3:23 a.m. CST

    Yeah, about the princess and the frog, Dasin...

    by Grievey

    Unfortunately, the "black princess" thing kinda feels like a "because we have to" thing. To me, at least. It's fine to have a black female role model, but hopefully there's a point behind it, other than mere political correctness. And don't point any fingers at me, either. You all know how it is in Hollywood. Movies with two white parents who have 14 kids, and somehow three of them ended up black and asian. I find it funny and somehow more racist than actually being realistic. Anyhoo, just my two cents.

  • March 1, 2009, 2:20 p.m. CST

    Wall-E Best Film of 2008

    by TheMovieHour

    Joe has taken more crap for refusing to get on the Slumdog Millionaire bus. He says Wall-E is the best film of 2008. <--best up and coming movie podcast around, numbnutzz