Short form: Don't listen to me, go watch them all, right now:

Long form: Since its inception in 1986, Pixar has produced a number of short films. The shorts typically have several purposes:
  1. Research into some computer animation breakthrough
  2. Demonstration of Renderman technology
  3. Just great storytelling
There was a long break from shorts between 1989 and 1997, as Pixar produced its first feature length films. However, it seems like Pixar plans to include shorts with its features from now on. At some point, hopefully they'll release a disc containing these, and future shorts. (are you listening, Pixar folks?) Pixar has also made a number of commercials, which are not included here.

None of the shorts have dialogue. (though Geri does say nuh uh) (Update: I don't consider the Monster's Inc. DVD short "Mike's New Car" to be in the same category as these.)

* - Academy Award for best animated short

The Adventures of André and Wally B. - 1984

  • Synopsis: André wakes up from a nap to find an unfriendly bee in his face. Can André outsmart him, or run away fast enough?
  • Breakthrough: In 1984, a lot of computer animations involved cubes or spheres performing interpretive dances. This was one of the first animations to create characters with convincing personality.
  • This was actually done at ILM, before Pixar, but it is included because it was the first computer animation John Lasseter worked on.

Luxo Jr. - 1986 (* nominee)

  • Played with Toy Story 2, over a decade later.
  • Synopsis: An embarrassed desk lamp has trouble managing an unruly child.
  • Breakthrough: Giving convincing personality to inanimate objects. The lamps convey joy, surprise, disappointment, and embarrassment, all through movement, and with realistic physics.
  • Cameo: Junior's ball appears in many other Pixar works, like in Andy's room in Toy Story, and on the floor in Red's Dream. Junior is now the Pixar logo; the old logo can still be seen in Knickknack.

Red's Dream - 1987

  • Synopsis: A forgotten unicycle, on clearance sale in the corner of a bike shop, dreams about what it could accomplish, with the right owner. Somewhat more serious than the other Pixar shorts.
  • Breakthrough: Nighttime computer animation, the rain, Pixar's first experiments with organic human-like characters.

Tin Toy - 1988*

  • Synopsis: Sort of like Toy Story, compressed into 5 minutes, and without any dialogue. Tinny learns the importance of his role as a toy, but not before a hilarious chase sequence away from a Godzilla-like baby.
  • Breakthrough: The baby was an early attempt at realistic human rendering. Tin Toy was the first computer animation to win an Oscar.

Knickknack - 1989

  • Played with Finding Nemo. Portions of it were re-rendered to make some of the toys less cartoony.
  • Synopsis: The toy snowman wants to chill with some hotter toys, but his pesky glass ball of snow gets in the way. Original music by Bobby McFerrin.
  • Breakthrough: Sort of a break after Tin Toy, and John Lasseter's homage to Chuck Jones. Straight-up slapstick fun, and honing the practice of adding emotion to toys.

Geri's Game - 1997*

  • Played with A Bug's Life.
  • Synopsis: An old (geriatric... get it?) man plays a tough game of chess against his nemesis... himself.
  • Breakthrough: Mainly the cloth of Geri's coat, but also human animation. Notice the differences in mannerisms, between the two versions of Geri.
  • Cameo: Geri appears in Toy Story 2 as the toy restoration specialist. Look carefully, and you can see chess pieces in his toolbox.

For the Birds - 2001*

  • Played with Monsters, Inc.
  • Synopsis: Birds of a feather flock together, but a big, clumsy bird wants to cluck with this clique. (yes, I am trying to maximize my clichés)
  • Breakthrough: The feathers, and imitation of animal behavior in otherwise cartoony characters.

Pun form: Sold at the Pixar store, along with the Pixar t-shirts and Pixar caps... j/k

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