Khan Academy launches Pixar in a Box, a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process
Free online curriculum shows how Pixar filmmakers use science, technology, engineering, art and math to create movie magic
Pixar in a Box is a new online resource that explores the academic concepts behind Pixar Animation Studios’ creative process – goes live on KhanAcademy.org. Through a series of video lessons, interactive exercises, and hands-on activities, students will discover how the academic concepts they learn in school enable Pixar filmmakers to create new worlds, animate unique characters and tell stories through animation. Although designed especially for students in middle and high school, these resources are available to learners of all ages, completely free of charge.
“Our mission at Khan Academy is a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere,” said Sal Khan, Founder and CEO of the not-for-profit Khan Academy. “Sparking student interest in math and other academic fields is a key part of that, and we’re delighted to collaborate with Pixar to achieve this goal. Pixar in a Box gives students a new way to engage with key academic concepts and see how creative these concepts can be.”
“Learning makes us beginners again,” said Ed Catmull, President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. “In my experience, creativity involves missteps and imperfections, which is one more reason it is important for every one of us to keep learning – in order to remain flexible and keep our brains nimble. By working with Khan Academy on Pixar in a Box, we hope to encourage the excitement of learning and creative thinking for middle and high school students and to provide the tools to do it.”
“For years, we’ve heard from teachers at every grade level interested in creating animation-based curricula,” said Elyse Klaidman, Director, Pixar University and Archives. “We’ve wanted to provide free online resources for them, and Pixar in a Box makes that dream a reality. We hope that it not only gives students a behind-the-scenes look at how our movies are made but also gets them excited about STEAM (science, technology, engineering, arts, and mathematics) concepts.”
Khan and Catmull officially unveiled Pixar in a Box at a special event yesterday evening on the Pixar campus in Emeryville, CA. After an introduction from Klaidman, local educators learned the story behind the project and then received a live demonstration of Pixar in a Box from two of its creators – Brit Cruise, Content Producer at Khan Academy, and Tony DeRose, Senior Scientist and Research Group Lead at Pixar. The evening concluded with a question-and-answer session moderated by Klaidman.
“Many students start to lose interest in academics in middle and high school, partly because they don’t see how academic concepts relate to things they care about,” said DeRose. “Pixar in a Box aims to address this disconnect by showing how Pixar filmmakers use these concepts for creative benefit in their everyday work.”
Starting today, students can access Pixar in a Box and learn:
- How combinatorics are used to create crowds, like the swarm of robots in WALL?E.
- How parabolas are used to model environments, like the forest in Brave.
- How weighted averages are used to create characters, like Buzz Lightyear and Woody.
- How linear and cubic interpolation are used to animate characters.
- How trigonometry is used to create the worlds in which Pixar stories take place.
- How simultaneous equations are used to paint all of Pixar’s images.
“These lessons are the first phase of the project,” said Cruise. “While the first year focuses on math, future Pixar in a Box lessons will explore science, computer science, arts, and humanities.”
All Pixar in a Box resources are available free of charge at PixarInABox.org. The site will be updated as additional lessons become available.
About Khan Academy
Khan Academy is a 501(c)3 nonprofit with a mission to change education for the better by providing a free, world-class education for anyone, anywhere. We believe that students of all ages should have free, unlimited access to the best educational content, and that they should be able to consume and master this content at their own pace. In addition, we believe that there are incredible opportunities to use intelligent software development, deep data analytics, and intuitive user interfaces to more effectively surface and present these educational resources to students and teachers around the world. Our library of content covers kindergarten to early college math, science topics such as biology, chemistry, and physics, and reaches into humanities with tutorials on economics, finance, music, philosophy, and art history. We have over 26 million registered students and to date, we have delivered over 580 million lessons and 3.8 billion exercise problems. For further information, visit KhanAcademy.org.
About Pixar Animation Studios
Pixar Animation Studios, a wholly owned subsidiary of The Walt Disney Company, is an Academy Award®-winning film studio with worldenowned technical, creative and production capabilities in the art of computer animation. Creator of some of the most successful and beloved animated films of all time, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters, Inc.,” “Cars,” “The Incredibles,” “Ratatouille,” “WALL•E,” “Up,” “Toy Story 3” and “Brave,” the Northern California studio has won 30 Academy Awards® and its films have grossed more than $8.7 billion at the worldwide box office to date. “Inside Out,” Pixar’s fifteenth feature, is currently in theaters worldwide.