Ever since I learned about Pixar In A Box on the Finding Dory press trip, my son begs to get on the computer to see what’s new at Khan Academy online. And I don’t stop him.
From animation to patterns to effects, Khan Academy offers a series of free lessons called Pixar in a Box… and they are amazing fun. I look at it as a behind-the-scenes look at how Pixar artists do their jobs, as children (and adults) will be able to animate bouncing balls, build a swarm of robots, and make virtual fireworks explode! Pixar in a Box incorporates the subjects you learn in school — math, science, computer science, and humanities — to teach learners about the visuals you see in your favorite Disney Pixar films! (And the best part? The lessons are FREE!)
When we spoke with Tony Derose and Elyse Klaidman on the Cars 3 blogger trip, and both were excited to share their passion for Pixar in a Box:
DeRose, a Senior Scientist at Pixar and the Research Group Lead at Pixar in a Box, described how the intent of Pixar in a Box is to show kids, parents and teachers how concepts they are learning in the classrooms are used for creative benefits at Pixar. “Each of the topics focuses on a creative challenge faced at Pixar Studios. In Character Modeling, the challenge is to create the shapes of the characters in movies. That involves some pretty complicated geometry. And it turns out that there are some really nice mathematical ideas there, in particular the idea of averaging. So if kids are wondering why do I have to learn averaging, well, that’s how we make our Pixar characters!”
Klaidman, Director of Exhibitions and Educational Partnerships at Pixar Animation Studios, further elaborated on how Pixar in a Box uses the subjects taught in school to create films, “So how many of you from your kids, or other kids you know or kids you have taught have heard the question Why do I have to learn this? Why is this important? That is why Pixar in a Box exists. To support educators in their goals to incorporate content that will help students know this is why. You study math and you may actually be able to make a movie with that!” So she showed us, then encouraged us to think about new ways to stretch the brain.
We learned how numbers have a factor in bouncing a ball and how a group of circles can easily transform into the skin of a dinosaur, just by increasing the radius and squeezing several circles together. It’s quite fascinating, even for adults!
Take a look at this introduction to patterns:
As you go through the different lessons, you’ll notice how patterns, story telling and effects play an important role in your favorite Disney Pixar films! From the characters to the tire screeching to mud puddles, look for these concepts in the new Cars 3 trailer!