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Worth a Watch: Pixar Short Films

Instead of holing up in the office tonight, I'm comfortably working on the laptop on my sofa with the Pixar Short Films Collection - Volume 1 providing background entertainment.

If you're interested in animation or digital illustration or painting, check it out. The first short of the collection, The Adventures of Andre & Wally B, is from 1984, when most of us didn't even have in-home computers, and despite its obvious rough edges (as compared to today's full-length wonders), it's pretty good.

Luxo Jr. is the Pixar promo we all know--the one where big lamp, little lamp, and ball mess around until the big lamp's beam focuses toward the viewer. I remember how impressive and super-future-y it seemed the first time I saw it (but I'm not sure what movie it preceded... Dan thinks maybe Toy Story 2).

Tin Toy, from 1988, is noteworthy because it demonstrates not only the great advances in rendering technology (and design skills) in just four years, but also the weird limbo where dazzlingly realistic geometric/math-based shapes were possible but construction and natural-looking animation of organics (like the nightmare-inducing baby character) were still great challenges.

My favorite short is probably For the Birds, which is just so cute, vibrant, and well-paired with non-verbal "voices."

Boundin' is a good example of effectively synching animation and music.

Especially on Blu-Ray, this set of (sometimes meaningful, but mostly for exercise) shorts is fun eye candy, with great music and sound production and lots of celebrity voices.