Steve Jobs and the Gift of Pixar
With the sudden passing of Apple founder Steve Jobs, the internet has been awash with stories of his great ideas and the many amazing products he brought to life at Apple during his tenure. What has been largely overlooked is his similar guidance of a little computer graphics company named Pixar, brought from a dying division of LucasFilm into the animation powerhouse we all know now.
It’s also clear that without Jobs’ stewardship, Pixar would never have given us RenderMan, either. It would have likely remained an amazing but proprietary render engine owned by the wrong corporate parent. Astonishingly, before Jobs came along, Lucas considered selling to divisions of General Motors and Philips. It was Jobs who encouraged the team to develop and sell its own software (after divesting the limping Pixar hardware business to Viacom). RenderMan sales helped fund Toy Story‘s extended production schedule.