Steve Jobs on Computer Animation as a Milestone for Film History, Before the Release of 'Toy Story'

Steve Jobs famously purchased Pixar from Lucasfilm for $10 million in 1986, selling the company to Disney 20 years later for $7.4 billion. In 1995, Pixar was ready to unveil its first feature film, Toy Story, which was also the first feature film composed entirely of computer-animated graphics. Before the film was released, Steve Jobs spoke at SIGGRAPH 95, a conference for those in the computer graphics industry.

In his speech, the full video of which was discovered by Mashable, Jobs presciently compared computer-animated films to such game-changing breakthroughs as sound and Technicolor, even as Toy Story had yet to be released in theaters.
I want to talk for a minute about a place in history. The computer graphics community has been climbing the wall of the castle for 20 years, standing on each others shoulders and made immense progress as we've seen today. And finally we have now scaled the castle wall and we're in the castle now with Toy Story and I think that's an achievement that many in this room should take proud ownership in.

And we should take a few minutes today, on the hundredth anniversary of the invention of the motion picture, to contemplate the contributions that we're making. We have now pioneered, I think really, the next major offshoot of the motion picture. It's going to be a medium in its own right, it's going to have unique talents in itself that we will find boundaries for as we explore it over the next many years.

Toy Story went on to become a blockbuster, taking in over $360 million at the box office and spawning sequels, spinoffs, and extensive merchandising as it garnered a prominent place in entertainment history.

Before Toy Story, computer graphics were used for either short films or to augment live action movies with special effects. Since Toy Story, there has been a boom in the production of computer-animated films and less of the traditional hand-drawn animated films. In early November, Pixar Animation Studios named its main building in honor of Steve Jobs.

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24 months ago

Not to discredit Pixar's accomplishments (quite the opposite, I think they're the best filmmakers on the planet), but the Canadian TV series ReBoot, the first fully CGI television program, started airing a year before Toy Story premiered.


As it says in the story it was the first fully computer generated feature film. There had been many short films as well as the TV show you mention before it but Toy Story took all this to a new level. Steve Jobs bank rolled Pixar for many years spending a vast amount of money on developing the company to the point where it could produce something like Toy Story, in computer animation he saw a future in something that many of the big players thought was a complete wast of time.
Rating: 7 Votes
24 months ago
Not to discredit Pixar's accomplishments (quite the opposite, I think they're the best filmmakers on the planet), but the Canadian TV series ReBoot, the first fully CGI television program, started airing a year before Toy Story premiered.
Rating: 7 Votes
24 months ago
One of history's great acquisitions.
Rating: 6 Votes
24 months ago

a tv show isnt cinema. jobs was referring to filmmaking. different beasts...


Theater is life.
Cinema is art.
Television is furniture.
- Author unknown
Rating: 4 Votes
24 months ago
This is a perfect example of what made Steve Jobs a genius. He understood the implications of every step taken. He saw the future before the rest of us imagined it.
Rating: 4 Votes
24 months ago
I'm an avid Pixar fan -- this is brilliant.

Thanks for posting this.
Rating: 4 Votes
24 months ago
The one and only great Steve Jobs, brilliant visionary who not only foresaw the future but understood the significance of each moment as it passed.

Love you forever Steve. Can never thank you enough. Think you are already needed back here.
Rating: 2 Votes
24 months ago

Sorry dude...but credit where credit is due. If it wasn't for George Lucas and ILM, we wouldn't have those magical cgi we have now.

The first major revolution was Terminator2: Judgement Day. Read about that before you discredit ILM and bow to the Steve.


In the clip, Steve does give Terminator its due, and references it as a landmark. However, I think there is some merit to saying that the unit that became Pixar wouldn't have accomplished what it did, when it did, under Lucas. The fact that he sold the unit to Jobs shows, on the surface, that he had a different idea for it. This not to say that we wouldn't have had a fully CGI feature film eventually, but I don't see Lucas as the one who would have done it.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago

In the clip, Steve does give Terminator it's due, and references it as a landmark. However, I think there is some merit to saying that the unit that became Pixar wouldn't have accomplished what it did, when it did, under Lucas. The fact that he sold the unit to Jobs shows, on the surface, that he had a different idea for it. This not to say that we wouldn't have had a fully CGI feature film eventually, but I don't see Lucas as the one who would have done it.


Also if you read the book iCon (Jeffrey S. Young) George Lucas was losing a heckload of money at the time. He was going to completely dismantle the CGI studio as he thought it was a big waste of time and money. Steve took the opportunity and proposed at exactly the right time. Lucas was DESPERATE.

...and to think there are idiots who doubt the visionary Steve Jobs was... the same idiots who think that all Steve did was create the iPad and shiny products.
Rating: 1 Votes
24 months ago
The World of technology misses Steve. I miss Steve.

And no, I didn't know him. I'm just stating my opinion that the World is a less exciting place without Steve.
Rating: 1 Votes

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