The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit!

The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit!

IMG_4971 (2)

(Above: How could we pass up a photo with a giant Buzz Lightyear?)

Here in Michigan we have a family pass to the Henry Ford Museum and Greenfield Village which is an invaluable home school learning tool. I love when exhibits come through the Museum and this one is a real treat!  The Science Behind Pixar Exhibit allows viewers to explore how an animated Pixar movie is made from drawing to rendering (That’s where they wait hours, even days, for all of the layers to come together to produce a final image)

Our first week back at “school” I knew we had to explore this exhibit we have heard so much about.  It takes a while to really take everything in so I just let the kids explore wherever they wanted. I had worksheets for them to fill out with information that they learned but when we got there I realized it wasn’t going to be that simple…So I abandoned the worksheets, grabbed my camera and we free explored the exhibit!

When we first got there we took a photo with another Buzz Lightyear as an action figure package….probably should have done individuals.  The Henry Ford Museum has so many artifacts to explore and we noticed that the giant dollhouses that they have were decorated for the holidays.  When we looked closer, we saw that within one of the dollhouses were little Toy Story figurines.  We got a kick out of that!

The exhibit started out with a movie that gave us a tour of Pixar studios and then we entered the magical playground… (Below: The girls loved the giant Wall-E. Evelyn was climbing all over it.  Yvette was playing peek-a-boo.)

(Above: Yvette is AMAZED. LOL She had quite a lot of fun pushing buttons and building with Wall-E robot parts.)

The boys loved the part where they got to decorate a room from Monster’s Inc.

Next we have the tree from A Bug’s Life, with little bubbles to stick your head into so that you have a bug’s view.  The creator’s of A Bug’s Life explain that little cameras giving them a bug’s view was how they got such realistic perspective for the movie.  In my own experience as an illustrator, I’ve come up with obstacles that made me explore and teach myself new ways of drawing and perspective.  It was awesome to know that these movie makers had the same issues to overcome.

IMG_4935 (2)

(Above: You can change the camera angle to explore different perspectives of the tree.)


The Finding Nemo part was a favorite of them all.  We explored lighting and how they made the schools of fish move around into shapes like when they all come together to form one giant fish to give Marlin and Dory directions.


Above: Me at 29 weeks

Above: More pictures with “Mr. Pig” or Ham and then onto the movie Brave.  This reproduced tapestry is stunning!

Did you ever wonder how the animators did Merida’s hair in the movie Brave? It flows and twists.  There are many mathematical equations that go into animating things like hair (springs) and even grass (parabolas). Of course this math is a little above my  kids’ grade level. We didn’t (or at least I didn’t) see and explore everything. There was a Cars part and a whole nother room I didn’t photograph.  I was tired and it was lunch time!

Below: Yvette is peek-a-booing next to the gift shop!


While this was definitely a fun exhibit, I felt that they would have learned more if I could have been available to help out one-on-one rather than pulled in different directions.  My oldest enjoyed this exhibit the most and we will likely go back, just the two of us, as he has a huge interest in gaming and topics of that sort which fit in well with this exhibit.  What a fun home school day which we ended by turning in their pizza hut reader rewards for lunch after!

Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google photo

You are commenting using your Google account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )

Connecting to %s

Create a website or blog at

Up ↑

%d bloggers like this: