The Science Behind Pixar at the Franklin Institute

The Science Behind Pixar at the Franklin Institute

jou1I became a member of the Franklin Institute science museum in the summer of 2015   because of the “Art of the Brick” exhibition which featured amazing Lego sculptures. I get free admission to the museum and discounts on exhibits. When I found out The Science Behind Pixar was coming, of course I was excited, and this exhibit did not disappoint. The show starts with a five minute video overview of the animation process from the initial idea (featuring an appearance by John Lasseter) to the finished product.

Walking through the double doors started my journey into imagination. I was greeted by “life size” statues of Mike and Sulley (Monsters, Inc.), Wall-E (Wall-E) , and Buzz Lightyear (Toy Story). I spent about an hour and a half exploring. Each facet of the exhibit had a short video, a display, and an activity to try. jou6

The videos consisted of a Pixar cast member explaining a process used in animation such as rendering, simulation and lighting. They illustrated the video by showing the tools and computers used in that process and connecting that to real life experience . For example in the video about coloring, they show the steps of how a car is painted using primer, color, sparkle and top coat and then show how they do that with the computer for films like Cars and Cars 2. Of course the computer model is much easier to fix if there any adjustments needed.

jou3The display boards held some simple facts about each segment and a picture to illustrate. The activities ranged from using a computer to match the texture of an animated ball to the example provided, to creating a three dimensional computer shape, to trying your had at stop-motion animation and putting together a robot from spare parts on a table and everything in between. The entry times for the exhibit are staggered so as not to have an overwhelming number of people there at the same time. This gave me a chance to sit and experience each station with little or no wait.

I love Pixar movies to begin with so it was a real thrill for me to get this behind the scenes look at some of my favorites.  Included were glimpses of  films such as Brave, Inside Out, Wall-E, and Finding Nemo There was a photo opportunity in a Buzz Lightyear box and a kids craft area also. The exhibit ends (as most of them do) in the gift shop. I took advantage of the sale they had on T-shirts and with my membership discount, I got two for a little more than the regular price of one. jou4

The Science Behind Pixar runs at the franklin Institute in Philadelphia, PA until September 5, 2016. During the day, the cost is $29.95 for adults , $24.95 for children (ages 3-11) which includes museum admission. Evening prices are $19.95 for adults, $14.95 for children which does not include museum admission. Member prices are $8.95 for adults and $7.95 for children.

I highly recommend this fun, interactive experience and will hopefully do it again to see some of the videos I missed and hang out with my Pixar friends!