The Weekly Authority: Pixel 6a, and Galaxy Note’s demise?

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⚡ Welcome again to The Weekly Authority, the Android Authority newsletter that breaks down the top Android and tech news from the week. The 170th edition’s here with a quick roundup of Black Friday deals, Pixel 6a leaks, and the possible demise of the Galaxy Note series…

I’m feeling pretty tired from all the Black Friday madness and sustained by tea and chocolate biscuits, but I did pick up some great game deals in the PS store — including Deathloop and puzzle-platformer Hoa!

“There’s a snake in my boot!”

Yup, this week in 1995 — November 22, to be exact — Toy Story had its first screenings. What has that got to do with tech news, you’re probably wondering? 

Well, back in 1993, less than half a dozen feature films used computer graphics. By 1995 things had changed: Hollywood was embracing digital enhancements. But most movies using digitally created cinematic imagery only used the technology for a small portion of their run time. Movies like Jurassic Park (6 minutes) and Caspar (40 minutes) were groundbreaking, but they weren’t fully computer animated.

  • Toy Story was the first feature-length computer-animated movie ever made — everything was virtual
  • It was a joint venture between Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, chaired at the time by a young Steve Jobs.
  • Pixar landed a $26 million deal for three computer-animated feature-length films: but so far nobody had pulled off a single one.
  • Wired has a good deep dive into the making of the movie, including some interesting tech-y facts.

Pixar followed Walt Disney’s lead in incorporating the latest technology into its work. Ed Catmull, then a software engineer and later Pixar and Disney Animation President, worked with computer scientists at Pixar to build their own software used to design the films

  • The movie used a total of 1,560 shots, all created on Silicon Graphics and Sun workstations by a team of artists.
  • Each shot was edited with Avid editing systems, then painstakingly rendered using RenderMan software designed by Catmull and his team.
  • This process consumed 300Mbytes per frame, provided by 117 Sun SPARCstation 20s.
  • It took four years and 800,000 machine hours to produce the final cut.

Time’s 2015 piece on Toy Story at 20 looks at how it changed movie history. Nowadays we don’t think anything of seeing a fully computer-animated feature-length movie, and the majority of blockbusters incorporate some form of digitally created cinematic imagery, but Toy Story was groundbreaking.

Looking at a timeline of computer animation in film and TV is actually pretty interesting, with movies like The Abyss getting a mention for having the first digital 3D water effect back in 1988, Star Wars Episode 1: The Phantom Menace (1999) listed as the first movie to use computer graphics extensively for backgrounds, vehicles, crowds, and more, across thousands of shots, and Avatar (2009) mentioned as “the first full-length movie made using performance capture to create photorealistic 3D characters and to feature a fully CG 3D photorealistic world.”

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