LASSETTER, John - LUXO JR - Pixar (1986) USA
From Jonathan Hodgson
Luxo Jr. is a 1986 American computer-animated short film produced and released by Pixar in 1986. Written and directed by John Lasseter, this two-minute short film revolves around one larger and one smaller desk lamp. The larger lamp, named Luxo Sr., looks on while the smaller, "younger" Luxo Jr. plays exuberantly with a ball that it accidentally deflates. Luxo Jr. was Pixar's first animation after Ed Catmull and John Lasseter left Industrial Light & Magic's computer division of Cinetron Computer Systems. It is the source of Luxo Jr., the hopping desk lamp included in Pixar's corporate logo.
Lasseter's aim was to finish the short film for the 1986 SIGGRAPH, an annual computer graphics conference attended by thousands of industry professionals. The film would come from his experiments with modeling his Luxo lamp. Lasseter worked to improve the story within the allotted two minutes. In animation, the film demonstrates the use of shadow maps within the rendering software. Lasseter applied the classic animation principles popularized by Disney's Nine Old Men to convey the lamps' emotions. Catmull and Lasseter worked around the clock, and Lasseter even took a sleeping bag into work and slept under his desk, ready to work early the next morning. In total it took about four and a half months to do.
The commitment paid off, and it was finished in time to be shown at SIGGRAPH. Before Luxo Jr. finished playing at SIGGRAPH, the crowd had already risen in applause. Luxo Jr. is regarded as a breakthrough in the animation medium as a whole, changing traditionalists' interpretation of computer animation. The short was the first work of animation to use procedural animation, the software written by Eben Ostby. It received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film, becoming the first CGI film nominated for an Academy Award.
The soundtrack music is an uncredited edit of three tunes on Brian Bennett's album Counterpoint In Rhythm: Finesse, Quicksilver, and Chateau Latour.