Khan Academy Launches Pixar in a Box, a Behind-the-Scenes Look at Pixar Animation Studios’ Creative Process!

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Khan Academy launches Pixar in a Box, a behind-the-scenes look at Pixar Animation Studios’ creative processFree online curriculum shows how Pixar filmmakers use science, technology, engineering, art and math to create movie magic 

“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.”

“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 WALLŸ
  • 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.

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