It was the middle of the night at Pixar Animation Studios in Hollywood, California.
The entire staff was asleep, but one nap-deprived animator had just made a breakthrough on an animation project that he’d been working on.
The animator pushed through his exhaustion to get up and flip on the lights so he could capture his idea before it slipped away.
When he flipped the lights on the rest of the staff stirred and began to head to their desks.
As an animator, sleep is one of the few things you can always rely on, and everyone made an effort to get enough rest for their work days ahead.
After years of putting all his energy into his animation projects, it was finally time for Roger Craig Smith to take a break.
He stretched out his arms and yawned after a particularly intense night.
“Well, I guess it’s not like we’re going to get more work done now,” he said.
“I might as well head home and get some rest for tomorrow.”
Roger stood up and started walking out of the animation studio.
He turned around and saw all the other animators still at their desks, but they weren’t working on their projects—
they were writing something on a whiteboard.
Roger froze in place as he watched them write the words:
When Roger was young, he had a small hopping desk lamp that inspired him to become an animator.
As a child, Roger would play on his own desk lamp. But as a kid, a small desk lamp isn’t much to look at
but as an adult it can be viewed as a beautiful piece of art.
An animator’s journey
from small sized desk lamp to one of Pixar Animation Studios’ most iconic logos has inspired generations of creative minds around the world.
The story of how this particular item came to be included in Pixar’s logo was one that
Roger Craig Smith had been waiting to tell for the last 25 years.
When he joined Pixar in 1987, he was given a very specific assignment: create a logo for the animation studio.
When Roger first joined the studio, he was given a stack of old animation cels from the 1940s.
The cels depicted a small desk lamp that a nervous man clutched tightly in his hands as he entered a dark room.
Roger considered this object to be an early form of Pixar’s logo because it was something that had been created from the inside out
a story being told by the object, rather than just being drawn with lines and color.
Roger had been craving a break and was in a great mood.
He spent most of his evenings asleep in his office and was grateful for the chance to stretch out in the studio after hours.
But when he woke up that morning, he noticed something out of place: all the other animators were still at their desks working,
but he’d been told that their deadline was just a couple weeks away.
Roger knew that they were busy because they’d just finished adding new characters to Monsters Inc.,
which would be released in July of 2001…but why weren’t they working on the new characters yet?
Roger had fallen asleep while watching the rest of the animators at their desks.
which item serves as the mascot for pixar animation studios? Roger was confused, so he went to the director of the studio to find out what was going on.
Roger asked the director if he knew why there were still animators at their desks after hours.
The director looked very perplexed and said “I don’t know.”
Roger’s confusion deepened as he realized that every single
one of the other animators had been given a napkin with a pencil on it and some small sheets of paper.
On those sheets of paper they were writing things like:
Roger picked up a napkin from a low table and began to read it.
“The Beast wrote down the story of his past lives,” he read. Roger’s eyes widened as he realized that the animators weren’t making drawings of their characters
they were actually writing down the details about their characters.
As director of the studio, the director was responsible for allocating resources to each project.
However, Roger had never seen any of his fellow animators write anything down before.
After reading over two dozen napkins with character sketches, he realized that they were all working on different projects.
“What are everyone doing?!” Roger thought to himself before turning around and heading home early again.