Pixars Oscar-winning Tin Toy marked the first time a human character with bendable arms and knees, surfaces, and facial components was digitally animated
For Pixar Animation Studios, the real breakthrough wasn't Toy Story but Tin Toy, the landmark 1988 short film about an infant boy who terrorises his toys. It was Tin Toy, which won the first ever Oscar for a computer animation, that helped pave the way for Toy Story and the entire Pixar portfolio.
Tin Toy, in fact, was a breakthrough in so many ways, lt was the first project to use Pixar's Marionette, the trademark animation software system for modelling, animating, and lighting, as well as RenderMan, the now-legendary rendering software system for photo-realistic image synthesis. Toys made the perfect subject for this short not only because of their plastic surfaces (the more organic your subjects, the harder it is to ‘describe them to a computer), but also because director John Lasseter (currently Pixar's executive vice president of creative) is such a toy fanatic,
1988 was an instrumental time for the animators at the Northern California-based studio because so many of them were having children. So, naturally, they were inspired to make a film about how children relate ta their toys. "What Ive learnt is that to be a great animation director, you have to have a part of you that never grows up," Lasseter insisted. "When I cirect, I put every cell of my body into my movie. Its always been about striking a balance between technology and Storytelling for us."