Pixar Animation Studios is an American computer animation film studio based in Emeryville, California, United States. The studio has earned numerous awards for their feature films and other work, including twenty-six Academy Awards, five Golden Globes and three Grammys. Pixar is best known for these CGI-animated features created with Photorealistic Renderman, its own implementation of the industry-standard Renderman image-rendering API used to generate high-quality images.
Pixar was founded as the Graphics Group, one third of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm that was launched in 1979 with the hiring of Dr. Ed Catmull from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), where he was in charge of the Computer Graphics Lab (CGL). At NYIT, the researchers had pioneered many of the CG techniques. After moving to Lucasfilm, the team worked on creating the precursor to RenderMan. In 1986, Pixar was acquired by Apple co-founder Steve Jobs.
As of 2011, Pixar has released eleven CGI (Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the application of the field of computer graphics or, more specifically, 3D computer graphics to special effects in art, video games, films, television programs, commercials, simulators and simulation generally, and printed media.) films, all released under the Walt Disney Pictures banner.
Pixar has produced eleven feature films, beginning with Toy Story in 1995. It was followed by A Bug's Life in 1998, Toy Story 2 in 1999, Monsters. Inc. in 2001, Finding Nemo in 2003, The Incredibles in 2004, Cars in 2006, Ratatouille in 2007, WALL-E in 2008, Up in 2009 and Toy Story 3 in 2010. All films that Pixar has produced have been largely successful, both critically and commercially.
Eight of Pixar's films released since the inauguration of the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2001 have been nominated for that award, commencing with Monsters, Inc.. Six of the eight have won the award: Finding Nemo, The Incredibles, Ratatouille, WALL-E, Up, and Toy Story 3. Up and Toy Story 3 are among the only three animated films to be nominated for the Academy Award for Best Picture.
In 2004, the deal between Pixar and the Disney Company would be only for distribution, as Pixar intended to control production and own the resulting film properties themselves. The company also wanted to finance their films on their own and collect 100 percent of the profits, paying Disney only the 10 to 15 percent distribution fee. More importantly, as part of any distribution agreement with Disney, Pixar demanded control over films already in production under their old agreement. Disney considered these conditions unacceptable, but Pixar would not concede.
Disagreements between Steve Jobs and then Disney Chairman and CEO Michael Eisner made the negotiations more difficult than they otherwise might have been. They broke down completely in mid-2004, with Jobs declaring that Pixar was actively seeking partners other than Disney. Pixar did not enter negotiations with other distributors. After a lengthy hiatus, negotiations between the two companies resumed by the Walt Disney Company bought Pixar. The transaction made Jobs the largest shareholder in Disney adding Pixar to Disney in 2006.