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Colin Levy Joins Pixar

Colin Levy, Director of Sintel, has joined Pixar. It's pretty amazing what working on a Blender project can lead to :) Congratulations Colin!!

Colin writes:

So! Here's the skinny: I've been offered a 12-month Resident TD position in Pixar's Camera & Staging department. So what that means is that starting September, I'll be working on an actual film in production, involved in the kind of work that's also sometimes called "layout" or "previs". Basically, placing/animating cameras and blocking characters, developing the shot design and timing of action within scenes.... at least that's what I think!

I don't know exactly what to expect, and I'm sure it'll take me a while to get up to speed. Mainly I'm looking forward to soaking in the creative energy and talent at Pixar. I know I'm gonna learn *so* much.

There's no doubt in my mind that I owe this opportunity almost completely to Sintel. When I had my interview with the guys at Pixar, basically that's all we talked about! (They seemed pretty impressed -- and very curious about the whole "Open Movie" concept!) Seriously, I feel deeply indebted to Ton and the Blender community.

Like a lot of kids my age, I've been dreaming of working at Pixar since I was in middle school-- about when I first discovered Blender, hah. So needless to say, I feel incredibly lucky to be in this position! Can't wait to start. :)

147 Comments

  1. Congrats to Colin for his new job position! It's pretty amazing to see how far he's come in the past few years, and I'm looking forward to seeing what he accomplishes in the future.

  2. Got to say, even though Sintel was probably the last piece in the puzzle that got you there, your talent and skill in the field is undeniably a MAJOR factor too!
    Congratulation you unbelievably lucky young man!

  3. Hey Colin,
    I am really happy for you! Watching Sintel was and of course still is a pleasure and I am happy to got the chance to meet you in person in Amsterdam 2009.
    Good Luck at Pixar! You deserved it, you worked really hard for it! :)

    Thomas

  4. Congratulations Colin!

    Great to see that Sintel could do such a thing for you, and lets hope Pixar learns something from Open Movies, like they did from debian ;)

  5. Ha ha, makes you wonder how many of those people using "professional" applications that scoffed at blender are cursing that they didn't get an opportunity such as this.

    Grats Colin, hope this leads to even bigger and better things for you!

  6. Alex Delderfield (AD-Edge) on

    Whoa, huge congrats to Colin! Talk about a milestone, I wondered where his direction would be after graduating, right to the top it seems :P

    Great to see where working on a Blender movie can get you as well, inspirational.

  7. Congratulations!!! From my point of view, and am sure also that of many others, you have demonstrated talent well beyond Pixar standards, so this is something that many of us had seen coming for you. Learn a lot and bring some of that knowledge back to the community ;)

    Regards!

  8. It just goes to show that when you connect with your passion it will propel you onto greater things.

    Congratulations!

  9. OMG. Well done Colin - so this is how far Blender can take somebody if they have immense talent and work hard. Keep up the good work and make us proud.
    Now if I only had some talent.

    Bill

  10. Tears of happiness :)

    Congrats ... and who knows, maybe someday in the future Blender will find a place in Pixar's pipeline.

  11. Congratulations Colin !!!!

    I hope this only be the start of something bigger and better for you, you deserve it.
    Learn as much as you can, and show them your talent. Never forget where you came from, and , as somebody else said, bring some knowledge back to the comunity.

    Some of this knowledge would be very useful for the following blender foundation short.

  12. Congratulations!

    I am fascinated that they are fascinated at the Open Movie idea. Can't imagine the day where Pixar would give all their assets away on a supplementary DVD for people to learn from and play with, complete with tutorials on how to do what they do.. still, stranger things have happened. :)

  13. I'm very happy to hear that....congrats! There is one similarity between Pixar and Blender- I respect them most :)
    Hope you learn a loooot more and meanwhile Pixar starts using Blender :))

  14. Congratulations Colin !!!!

    I hope this only be the start of something bigger and better for you, you deserve it.
    Learn as much as you can, and show them your talent. Never forget where you came from, and , as somebody else said, bring some knowledge back to the community.

    Some of this knowledge would be very useful for the following blender shorts.

    I think Blender community should be very proud of this too.

  15. Congrats Colin ;) !

    Enjoy your time there !

    I hope this means that the industry is starting to consider Blender more seriously .. at least it's an opportunity !

    Cheers,
    ______
    JG

  16. (GASP) WOW!!! Congratulations, Colin! Woo hoo! I'm so glad you're getting this wonderful opportunity, and that PIXAR noticed Sintel! Good luck, dude! SO posting this article on my Facebook!

  17. Hey congrats Colin!
    You totally deserve it.

    I live near Pixar, maybe I'll run into you in Emeryville and I'll get to ask for your autograph! WoohoO!

    Keep up the good work, and try and sneak Blender into their workflow ;)

  18. I would be in awe to just tour Pixar. With that being said, I must also say that they are lucky to have found you. You are a man of many talents with the drive to get it done.

  19. Congrats Colin. I know from that first movie you did as a kid you were going far.
    So as a gift, I'm going to give you a piece of advice my Grandmother gave me:
    "Weeds are better dealt with young."

  20. Congrats! :D Don't forget us little people down here. And I really hope that you don't just drop Blender like a hot potato once you get in with the big boys. But seriously, I hope you're ready for long hours and weekends, I've heard it's a grueling business, fun but very demanding.

  21. Nice! That's awesome news for you! Congratulations!

    (I was half tempted to write a "Pixar isn't open source! Down with Pixar" mock comment but decided not to.)

  22. Paulo Bardes on

    Colin, you have no idea how much I want to do your exact same move: Learn a lot using blender, build a good portfolio and then try to join the Pixar team.

    It may be a stupid question but what does TD means?

  23. comeinandburn on

    Woo hoo Colin! this is a great example of how hard work pays off!!! I'm sure that Sintel helped take you over the top but your body of work is incredible ... this is well deserved.

    good luck and keep us informed.

  24. Congratulations!

    I feel compelled to add my own voice to the pile of anonymous well wishes you have already gotten. I have loved following your path through Sintel and The Secret Number, and (with no right at all :) take pride in watching you pursue your passion.

    You'll do great, Lars.

  25. Well, now we've seen that Pixar has noticed a talented Blender artist. Dare we hope that someone at Pixar HQ is now going to take a more serious look at Blender itself?

  26. Big congrats!!! I love to see, as the rest of us, someone succeed and move on to an incredible opportunity. Saying that, you've obviously shown you are very talented, so I believe it's a 2-way win. Both parties are fortunate, you and Pixar. :o) Hope it's all you hope for and more! Congrats!

  27. Congratulations. I know they may have focused on Sintel, but I've watched you develop from much earlier work. It all builds on what comes before, and I'm sure you will continue to learn and develop while you work with them. Please keep us updated on what you are doing.

  28. That is fantastic!!!! Congratulations! You've achieved what we other merely dream about.

    Btw. I'm sure BRAVE is inspired by Sintel! :-P

  29. Congratulations to Pixar for making such a great catch!

    Hope they can keep up, learn a lot and have some serious fun.

  30. Would be cool if the tool you use at Pixar for your camera and staging work is Blender.

    Sintel was a pretty good resume. Congradulations!

  31. Congratulations Colin! We as a community can definitely say, that you've made us proud. You've made it to the most difficult institution in 3D animation industry through your sheer hard work and talent. Please keep in touch with the community and share knowledge as you've been, always. Cheers!

  32. Congratulations Colin! We as a community can definitely say, that you've made us proud. You've made it to the most difficult institution in 3D animation industry through your sheer hard work and talent. Please keep in touch with the community and share knowledge as you've been, always. Cheers!

  33. Congratulations, Colin! Best of luck.

    @Paulo: TD = Technical Director. It varies depending on the company, but usually it's a person who works with artists on the more technical aspects of their work. For instance, a Character TD does the rigging of characters (which is more technical) while a Character Artist actually does the modeling. An Animation TD might create tools to help animators, or work on crowd simulations, while an Animator actually does pure animation.

  34. Oh my gosh, you guys. You just made my day!! I sent that blurb to Bart last night, got up this morning and there were already 50 comments.

    Literally tearing up a bit. :P Amazing to feel such support. The internet is an incredible place. :D

    I feel very, very lucky. Will definitely keep you updated!

    --Colin

  35. congratulations colin! you really deserve it!!
    hopefully you could still use blender there and maybe the future will bring more open source stuff like ptex from the industry.
    all the best for your future:)

  36. Colin,
    Your work has always been top notch. I work at the California College of the Arts, where we have several teachers who work at Pixar. I've been preaching Blender and showing Sintel to my fellow animation students, and they've been very impressed. . . "That's Blender!"
    Hope you have a chance to drop by CCA and visit our animation suite of classrooms and labs.
    Pam

  37. Very cool news! Congrats Colin!

    @Paulo Bardes - "TD" stands for "technical director" - big movie studios often have multiple TDs over various aspects of production (lighting, animation, etc).

  38. Congratulations Colin! :D
    I hope can see some Pixar's movie in where you will participate :) ^^

    Greetings!

  39. I know this is a long shot, but once you are in at Pixar, could you get Pixar to help develop Blender? I know Disney plays hardball, but maybe, maybe, maybe??

  40. That's incredibly good news Colin! (So good I checked the posting date to make sure it wasn't a late April 1 post). Hopefully we'll get a behind-the-scene look at Pixar like you did for Sintel? :)

  41. Whoa! And so does the Blender world domination really begin. XD Or at least Colin's. :)
    I'm real happy for you and I hope the new job treats you well too. :) I'm curious to hear from you in the future too so keep us up to date as best as you are allowed to. :D

    Pixar interested about open source... Well that's... Funny thing, not so surprising really. They are mostly curious about the concept I think. But I hope they will support Blender in their pipeline though (or in other ways). Not necessarily all the way but in such sense that if one person wishes to use it in their studio in some way like in basic modelling, they could have some support available to it. Would be nice I think.

    @Wasa: Not sure how much you know but... Pixar uses their own 3D tools on the movies for 99% of the time. In-house software. Something like with Sintel. When an artists requests some feature, the software dev team will make it happen. They don't wait for 50 years for a patch to appear on Max. XD In a matter of fact, Pixar made harmonic coordinates system that appears as "mesh deformer" in blender, still not in Max or Maya for my knowing. They also own RenderMan renderer... And Disney owns Pixar nowadays.

    Well I guess I got all my hype included to this post here already. XD

  42. Congratulations from Japan! (We Blenderheads are just everywhere!) I haven't seen your older stuff (or if I have, I haven't connected your name with it), but next chance I get, I aim to rectify that. Make the most of the next year!

  43. Guardian 452 on

    I've mentioned before that I learned about Blender via a 3D forum where someone was shooting his mouth off about how he knew where to get cracked versions of the leading retail 3D packages. A regular contributor, who worked for Pixar, said "If you really want to learn 3D start with Blender" (I'm paraphrasing).

    The folks at Pixar seem to pay attention to the Blender community, and now that one of our own has made it, even more so! I'll wager they're usually as excited waiting for each open movie as we are.

    Congragtulations Colin! This is richly deserved. I for one look forward to hearing about your adventures with Pixar!

  44. JvIasterMind on

    Congrats Colin! You definitely deserved this opportunity!

    Ever since I first watched Suburban Plight (a long time ago), I knew you were going somewhere. All your work has been very amazing and Pixar is very lucky to have you!

  45. Way to go Colin!
    I'm sure Sintel has prepared you quite well for this amazing opportunity. Hope to see you directing a Pixar short in the near future!

  46. Many congratulations, Colin! You've worked many years to get there and you truly deserve it. I look forward to seeing your name in upcoming Pixar film credits.

    Please pass my congratulations to your Parents. I know they are very proud of you, too.

  47. Hello Colin,

    All the best for your future projects in pixar studios and i hope to see you once again directing an open movie project with blender.

    All the best once again.

  48. "There’s no doubt in my mind that I owe this opportunity almost completely to Sintel."
    Well Colin, and what was the thing that qualified you for Sintel if not your talent in the first place.
    I cannot describe how happy I am for you, like I'm the one joining Pixar :))

    Good luck and can wait to see the works you'll be doing there, I'm sure they will be posted here.

  49. Great News ! Congratulations Colin ! It is well desserved. I knew that you had the potential to reach high goals the first time I watched your works in the early age of Peerless Productions.

    I wish you the best in your future job !

  50. Congratulations Colin!

    I think its fair to say that most people in the Blender community or 3D in general, have at some stage thought: "How cool would it be to work at Pixar?"

    You my good sir get to live that dream!

    I wish you all the best in the future!

  51. @Darren W: He is already famous :P.

    Now you'll have to keep more secrets with Pixar don't you ?

    Congrats, man :DD

  52. Congratulation Colin !!

    It's like we all work for pixar now that you're in !
    Have a lot of fun working on amazing projects !

  53. zomg Colin, grats man!

    btw, I was always impressed with your Sintel videos. Your howto's exposed me to new terms, undiscovered features, camera tricks and procedures used in the real world. Thank you for those!

    And of course, best of luck @ Pixar! \o

  54. No fricken way! That's great Colin, been rooting for you for a long time, I always knew you would do great things.

  55. Martin Leurs on

    Hey, Congratulations Colin.

    This is so cool. Your first Video I saw was the spider which climbs on a wall and now you join pixar.

  56. blender pro on

    You people are so lame,I always knew Colin had the talent and predicted that he will be the next Steven Spielberg,however he is the fallen to open source,watch and see.

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