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The Pixar Touch: The Making of a Company

3.94  ·  Rating details ·  8,723 ratings  ·  307 reviews
The Pixar Touch is a lively chronicle of Pixar Animation Studios' history and evolution, and the "fraternity of geeks" who shaped it. With the help of visionary businessman Steve Jobs and animating genius John Lasseter, Pixar has become the gold standard of animated filmmaking, beginning with a short special effects shot made at Lucasfilm in 1982 all the way up through the ...more
Hardcover, 304 pages
Published May 13th 2008 by Knopf (first published January 1st 2008)
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Average rating 3.94  · 
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Aug 24, 2018 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
I expected a book entitled The Pixar Touch to focus on what made/makes Pixar great. Instead, it reads more like a biography about the creation of Pixar, starting with the early careers of Pixar's founders and tracing their bumpy history with Disney.
In many ways, I enjoyed it. As a child, I took for granted movies like Toy Story and The Incredible. It is eye opening to see all the effort that went into developing the technology to make the movies possible. I never knew how close Toy Story 2 (the
May 14, 2013 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Honestly, this is probably a four star book but I have a bit of a soft spot if not just an immense amount of respect for Pixar as a company and (nearly all of) their movies (I'm looking at your, Cars...). The Pixar Touch is a very nice getting-to-know-you type of book, going through all of Pixar's history in less than three hundred pages. Of course the entire story can be summarized by mentions of Pixar software/hardware, Steve Jobs, and Disney drama.

Nevertheless, Price manages to expand on all
Mar 27, 2009 rated it it was amazing
This was a fascinating story. The company called Pixar made it big by being the pioneer in computer animation, replacing the "old-style" hand-drawn animation techniques of the Disney tradition. But it was a long, painful process to get to "fame and fortune." The book includes some early history of computer development, the gradual evolution of graphics hardware and rendering software, and the persistent and painstaking efforts that led to sophisticated computer animation. We meet the key persona ...more
Apr 21, 2012 rated it really liked it
Shelves: top-favorites
In Walter Isaacson's biography of Steve Jobs, there's a picture of Jobs with John Lasseter. They were both laughing (as people normally do in pictures that are featured in biographies) & the caption reads "With John Lasseter, August 1997. His cherubic face & demeanor masked an artistic perfectionism that rivaled that of Jobs." Chapter 22 of that book talked about Pixar, from the point where Lasseter & his team had had the first half of Toy Story ready to screen by November 1993. The short chapte ...more
Feb 06, 2018 rated it it was amazing
What a beautiful book about a company I hold dear to my heart. The writing was natural, and Price's knack for journalism has left me deeply satisfied and utterly inspired!
Gijs Grob
'The Pixar Touch' describes the development of the successful animation studio, from its humble beginnings as a dream of a bunch of visionary computer science students to its assimilation within the Disney Company in 2006, when somehow things became full circle for Pixar (this last chapter is titled 'homecoming' for obvious reasons).

Price goes at lengths to delve into the deep past, rendering the origins of Pixar's key players, Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith and John Lasseter. It takes a long time b
Michael Scott
Aug 07, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: bio, my-favs, non-fiction
The Pixar Touch tells the story of the establishment of Pixar as the leading 3D computer animation company. Sure enough, Price gives us a vivid account of the grinding and growth of what essentially is the success of a garage company (albeit an academic garage). We are told how Pixar started as an imaging branch of Lucasfilm, went on as a hardware company, awed at SIGGRAPH for years, and only later could focus on making feature animated movies. We get to learn about the process that led to the f ...more
Jun 22, 2011 rated it really liked it
This is a fun book; it is of special interest to me, as my brother works for another major computer animation studio. I did not realize how large a role that Steve Jobs played in the development and financing of Pixar. The company is wildly successful, and has contributed enormously to the state-of-the-art in computer animation. Just as important as the animation technology, the creativity, story-lines and dialogues developed by Pixar are wonderful. This book does a good job of helping one to un ...more
Jul 08, 2009 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: 2017
Awesome book explaining in detail how Pixar is able to churn our great movie after great movie. Also reaffirms that Steve Jobs is a douche
Diana Harvey
Aug 06, 2017 rated it it was amazing
The Pixar Touch read more like a novel than it did a non-fiction book! Reading non fiction can sometimes be very tedious no matter how much you might like the subject. I was happily surprised that it was not written as 300 pages of sheerly academic information but instead read more like a set of stories. The book included enough technical detail that I learned more than I ever thought I would about computer animation and movie production, but not to much to be overwhelming to a reader.
Hearing t
Chaise Crosby
Feb 07, 2017 rated it really liked it
This was a fascinating read for me; all the more so because I've always been a huge fan of Pixar. Having read Steve Jobs last year, it was interesting to read some of the same stories from a different perspective. This book was very enlightening as far as the struggles that the Pixar team went through to get off the ground and for the immense work that has gone into computer animation at Pixar. I'm tempted to go through and watch each of their movies again with newfound appreciation!
Jul 03, 2017 rated it it was amazing
Shelves: non-fiction
This is an engaging and fun look at the founding and history of Pixar. It gets a little dense when discussing the different technology Pixar pioneered but Price never veers too deeply into it to make it entirely inaccessible. As much as a Disney buff as I am, knowing all the details of Disney's history, it was fun to finally know Pixar's history too! now I just need a sequel since so much as happened with the company since this book was published.
Aug 25, 2017 rated it liked it
Interesting read. Enjoyed learning about how Pixar got started. Also enjoyed learning about the inspiration for some of the movies and the revisions they went through.
Jan 21, 2009 rated it liked it
Interesting history of Pixar's turbulent beginnings. The Pixar founders just wanted to make computer animated entertainment. But to keep the financing going, they had to masquarade as a hardware/software company for Lucasfilm and then later for Steve Jobs, who purchased Pixar for a mere $5 million from Lucasfilm. It's amazing how none of the financial backers (George Lucas & Steven Jobs) or potential buyer (Disney/Eisner/Jeffery Katzenberg) never saw the creative potential of Pixar. It's safe to ...more
Jun 25, 2009 rated it liked it
I really enjoyed the beginning of this book and was especially intrigued by the role the University of Utah (my alma mater) played in the earliest developments in computer animation. However, I have to confess I got a bit bored during the descriptions of one technological development after another, and then by the in-depth description of all the politics and feuds in the Disney and Pixar worlds. That was followed by details of the plot development of eight or nine Pixar films. Yawn. Still, the m ...more
Christopher Litsinger
If you are enough of a Pixar fan to watch the movies with the director's commentary, most of this will seem familiar.
One interesting omission comes early on in the book when discussing the failure of the first Toy Story script: Price does not mention Katzenberg's pushing for more "edge" which is well covered in the Jobs biography, and seems central to the story to me. This kept me from fully "trusting" the book.
Perhaps the most interesting bit for me was the description of The Incredibles charac
Beth Robinson
May 27, 2015 rated it liked it
Shelves: 2016
This book was a solid company biography. It balanced well the stories of the decision-making individuals, the technology, and the movie-making. With some of the topics discussed, I expect there are other interpretations of the facts the story was based on. Especially since it delves into corporate politics. But that's okay.

I knew some of the pieces about how the individual movies were made, so I was especially intrigued by the early days when the very idea of computer animation was cutting edge
Nov 01, 2011 rated it really liked it
Shelves: read-in-2011
The Pixar Touch is a fascinating story of Pixar, from its humble beginnings in a garage to the animation powerhouse. The author deftly weaves together strands from business and corporate intrigue (Roy Disney vs. Michael Eisner! Disney vs. DreamWorks!), the history of computer animation and technology, and the personal stories of the major players in the history of Pixar. The book deepened my appreciation of the technical wizardry of the Pixar films and my admiration for the company. It's a quick ...more
Aug 06, 2011 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
The most interesting thing about Pixar's founding is that there were so many stars that had to align, and so many things that almost went wrong, that it's amazing that it exists at all, let alone in the shape it's in today. I enjoyed the look behind the curtain afforded by this book, and it gave me new appreciation for the movies. I'm going to have to go watch them all again now.
Oct 27, 2015 rated it really liked it
I've already known a little about how Pixar came to be from the Walter Isaacson's Steve Jobs book, this is a deep dive into the early years of Pixar, the John Lasseter story pretty much. For someone who loves the Pixar movies so much its great to know how some of them were made. its not the best book ever but for a Pixar enthusiast its definitely a must read.
Philip Palios
Jun 12, 2016 rated it really liked it
One of the best profiles of a company I've ever read. Price provides a fascinating history of Pixar from the very early days, documenting the rise of an entire new dimension to the film industry. He discusses the people involved just as much (or more) than the technology, but both accounts are interesting. Price's writing is elegant and engaging, making this book a page-turning joy to read.
Feb 01, 2019 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
This book was so good and so inspiring! I had no idea how much passion and grit it must have taken these artists and engineers to have persevered over the decades to achieve their ultimate goal, computer animated feature films. I continue to be in awe of the likes of these creatives who made it happen. Great read!!! 👍🏼👍🏼👍🏼
Sep 18, 2012 rated it really liked it
A fun history or Pixar. Even though I knew how things were going to end, I cheered every time they had a victory. It ends after the release of Cars, and I hope one day the author can do an updated version.
Oct 18, 2012 rated it it was amazing

A truly comprehensive journey through the history of Pixar. I thoroughly enjoyed John Lasseter's involvement in Pixar for leading the creative process. It allowed me to appreciate the films, knowing the background information.
Brian Kramp
Oct 28, 2015 rated it it was ok
You'll want to read Creativity Inc instead of this book. This is a mundane, outsiders view that didn't at all live up to its title. It felt like a collection of facts rather than stories about the processes that made such great movies.
Alex Givant
Apr 19, 2016 rated it it was amazing  ·  review of another edition
Shelves: tts, best-of-2016
Just WOW! This book tells you a story behind so much loved movies that Pixar created. I never knew that for "Finding Nemo" they hired marine scientist and cut fishes to make them more real on screen. These guys rock!
Daniel Olshansky
May 10, 2019 rated it really liked it
After reading Creativity Inc a few years ago, I have not been able to get it out of my mind and would classify it as one of all-time favorite all-time books. Having grown up watching Disney movies during one of their golden periods (between the late 80s and the late 90s), the introduction to Ed Catmull’s autobiography really resonated with me. As a Pixar film enthusiast, I fell in love with Pixar’s origin story and the process they follow to create new films. I’ve been wanting to read another bo ...more
Amy Jo
Oct 05, 2018 rated it really liked it
Reading and watching movies are my addictions of choice, and animated movies are especially dear to me even now that I am no longer a child, which is the expected target demographic of animated films. Therefore, it should be no surprise that Pixar movies are ingrained in my childhood and worldview overall. That's why I was so glad that I stumbled upon this book.

I like biographies (occasionally) of things I like and I like Pixar, so it was not that hard to enjoy this. Although I was afraid there
Namik Šepić
Mar 31, 2020 rated it really liked it
The Pixar Touch can be best summed up by its subtitle "The making of a company". It describes in beautiful detail the building of the Pixar empire from a garage company of the 1960's. Told with a biographical feel, author David Price eloquently weaves together the story of Pixar as a company with the story of the key personalities that made Pixar what it is today. The primary theme that I picked up from the book is that Pixar is a company that knew its mission from day one and has ever since sta ...more
Laura Bradburn
Jul 14, 2019 rated it really liked it  ·  review of another edition
As a fan of Disney and Pixar since childhood, I’ve always been interested in anything that gives an insight into how they’ve managed to become so successful.

This book definitely does that and provides a highly detailed account of Pixar’s rise to the top, from its humble start in Ed Catmull’s garage to its current home in California.

What I will say is, approach with caution if you’re not particularly interested in technical jargon. The first half of the book is heavy with computer and tech terms,
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