Human Journey

Pixar Producer Discusses Technology Behind Movie Animation

By: Bianca Brooks

Insurance. That’s the field Oscar-nominated Pixar animator and visual effects director Andrew Jimenez credits for helping to make him the animator he is today.

After studying film in college, he got an unglamorous insurance job, and that’s where he learned tools like Photoshop, which gave him the grounding he needed as an animator in the digital age. After two years in insurance, Andrew took a shot at his dream job by applying for Pixar.

What began as a six-month gig as an animator on The Iron Giant has turned into a 14-year career, where he has helped produce some of my childhood favorites– Ratatouille, The Incredibles, and Monsters Inc— as well as Jimenez’s own Oscar-nominated short, One Man Band.

So what exactly does a Pixar animator do? One thing Jimenez explains in the video is a process known as animatics.  It’s basically an animated story board at the earliest stages of production.

It takes a village to make an animated feature. Shading alone is its own department! I’ve been a fan of Pixar since I was a very young girl– my mom took me to all the movies. Meeting Andrew and realizing all of the behind-the-scenes work that goes into making an animated feature makes me love the films even more.

Youth Radio’s conversation with Andrew Jimenez is part of our Brains and Beakers series, where we talk about how science and technology play out in the real world. More from Youth Radio’s science desk here, including past Brains and Beakers: Raps on Science, Green Chemistry, and the Science of Taste.

 The series is partially underwritten by:

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Youth Radio Investigates is an NSF-supported science reporting series in which young journalists collect and analyze original data with professional scientists, and then tell unexpected stories about what they discover. National Geographic News Watch partners with Youth Radio to share the work of the young journalists with the National Geographic audience. Check out more from Youth Radio’s science desk at

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