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Pixar Sales Demo Reel (1988)

Once upon a time, long before Buzz Lightyear and Lightning MacQueen, Pixar was a struggling start-up looking for clients interested in their imaging computers. Here is their sales demo reel from 1988. It shows what the studio was producing in the earliest days before character animation took over – and also features an appearance by a younger Ed Catmull.

(Thanks, Chris Sobieniak)

  • Awesome!

    I like how one of the 3D models they show in the demonstration is the unicycle from Red’s Dream (which they later show a full clip of). Very cool! A great historic look at Pixar.

  • Jeff E

    I didn’t even finish watching it… Ugghhh

  • Samjoe

    You would think that the person rerecording this, would look at his VU meter and see its terribly over modulated. In 1980’s terms, turn the pot down.

    • Chris Sobieniak

      Yeah it is a shame it’s this loud (some of his vids were also very low audio and sometimes they only came out of one speaker). There are programs out there to fix that surely.

  • Toonio

    Funny seeing the contrast between the two Pixars:

    The corporate boring one with monotone voices, ties, books and flat presence.

    The cool one with multiple voices, Hawaiian shirts, toys on the shelves and multidimensional presence.

    However with products like Cars 2 and “princesses” stories they might be going back to the way they started.

  • Ikas

    [9:20] high performance at LOW COST…. thats one story that hasnt changed yet in any industry..

  • It’s amazing how much progress was made in just 10 years!

    • Mandy


  • Victor Kong

    Isn’t it crazy to think that Disney would later buy this for $7.4 billion?

  • Mac

    They had better capability for making datasets people would want to see rendered than they did for making the visualizer-as-product, ha ha. Autodesk isn’t worth 7 billion!

  • Biff

    Well, you gotta start somewhere.

  • akira

    i’m sure disney could make more money by marketing this as a new pixar shorts dvd!

  • Flip

    That ‘second Pixar’ was there, we were just a much smaller part of the whole back then. 

  • Mike Hampen

    As I was watching this, a commercial came on for Disneyland with Buzz Lightyear talking to star command. Even though this real was groundbreaking at the time, it looks like the time of the dinosaur compared to that commercial. I’m so glad the talented people at Pixar stuck with their craft, stopped selling computers and became what they are today and what they mean to all of us!