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Pixar College Animator Tour: Loyola University New Orleans Hosts Pixar Artist Michael O’Brien

Loyola press release - November 4, 2015

Newly launched graphic design and digital film-making programs host Pixar College Animator Tour

Pixar Artist Michael O’Brien visits Loyola University New Orleans in November for a special one-hour behind-the-scenes animation presentation. He will discuss his work on leading Disney films, including “The Good Dinosaur,” an animated film slated to hit theatres on Thanksgiving.

O’Brien will speak from 6:30 to 7:30 p.m. on Monday, Nov. 9 in Nunemaker Hall, located in the newly renovated Monroe Hall at Loyola University, 6363 St. Charles Ave. Doors open at 6 p.m. The event is free and open to the public.

Pixar is visiting several universities this fall as part of its College Animator Tour and chose Loyola because of the university’s graphic design and digital-filmmaking programs, two of the most popular programs among first-year students.

Loyola University is the only university in New Orleans that offers an undergraduate degree in graphic design. Six years in the making, the bachelor of fine arts in digital filmmaking program at Loyola officially commenced this semester, with official accreditation and nearly double the expected enrollment. The only program of its kind in the region, this course of study is for students who wish to learn digital filmmaking, screenwriting, acting and directing, along with an emphasis on the business of film.

Tuesday’s presentation will include slides and information about the making of “The Good Dinosaur.” Students will have an opportunity for questions and answers.

“This is an amazing opportunity for all of our students to see behind the scenes of how a Pixar movie is made and ask any questions they may have,” said Daniela Marx, associate professor of graphic design. “I think it would be great for students to engage and follow up on these connections in pursuit of an internship or career opportunities. They are going to see how hard it is – and those who are really interested will follow up.”

“The Good Dinosaur,” a CGI animated film produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, includes an all-star voiceover cast that includes actors Sam Elliott, Anna Paquin, Steve Zahn, Frances McDormand and others. This year marks the first time that Pixar will release two feature films in one year. “Inside Out,” a 3D computer-animated comedy-drama adventure film also produced by Pixar Animation Studios and released by Walt Disney Pictures, takes audiences inside the mind of a young girl, is one of the highest-grossing films of the year, and the highest-grossing films produced by Pixar and Disney.

O’Brien joined Pixar Animation Studios in February 2000 as a member of the tools department, according to his biography. The first feature film he worked on was “Monsters, Inc.” From there he went on to work in the production department for the Academy Award-winning animated film “Finding Nemo.” He returned to the Tools department, where he helped implement and support the effect pipeline, on “The Incredibles,” “Wall-E,” and “Up.”

O’Brien came back into production to work as part of the Effects team for Golden Globe-winner “Cars,” and as the technical effect lead for Academy Award-winning “Brave.” In addition to his work on feature films, O’Brien has lent his effects talents to the short films “Burn-e” and “Tokyo Mater.” He served as the effects supervisor on the short film “The Blue Umbrella,” and served as the technical effects lead on Pixar’s 2015 short, “Lava,” which opened prior to “Inside Out.”

In his latest career move, O’Brien worked as the technical effects lead on Disney-Pixar’s “The Good Dinosaur,” set to release on November 25, 2015.

Prior to joining Pixar, O’Brien worked as a software developer at Alias/Wavefront working on Maya. Before that, he worked at SGI as a software developer while attaining degrees in mathematics and computer sciences from Santa Clara University. He currently lives in the Bay Area with his wife and their four children.