Behind the scenes: Pixar Studios

Name the movie that makes you happiest. Chances are, it was made right here. Welcome to Pixar Studios – the home of Woody, Buzz, Dug, WALL-E, Mr. Incredible and the most creative, imaginative people on the planet.

This week, thanks to the upcoming release of Toy Story 3: The Video Game (read our impressions), we were invited to visit these hallowed halls of animation and get a firsthand glimpse of what it's like to work there. The answer? Well, when you play videogames for a living and you're still overwhelmed with paralyzing envy, you know you're somewhere special. Take a look, and prepare to re-evaluate your career choices…

Above: The gates of heaven. Aka, the entrance to Pixar Animation Studios, located on a sleepy side street in Emeryville, California (twenty minutes east of San Francisco)

Above: Follow the road for just a few yards and you'll encounter the first adorable reference to Pixar's films. There are so many more to come... 

Above: The Luxo lamp and yellow ball, Pixar's dual mascots, are located right outside the lobby's front door. Check out the chair for scale!

Above: "Toy Box" is the sandbox mode in Toy Story 3: The Video Game. Journalists were asked to hand over their cell phones here before being whisked inside for a sneak peek at Toy Story 3: The Movie

Above: Pixar's massive receptionist desk, cluttered with awesomeness

Above: Like free candy served in a Monsters, Inc. safety helmet...

Above: Business cards served by the cast of Ratatouille...

Above: And local charity awards protected by the Green Army Men. Also, a crossover cameo from Hayao Miyazaki's Ponyo!

Above: Behind the receptionist's desk is a pool table and an impressionist mural of a scene from Toy Story 3

Above: The coolest things you will ever see. These LEGO creations stand as tall - or taller - than a full-grown adult and are so intricate that we didn't realize they were made of plastic bricks until we got up close

Above: See the stairs in the above photo? Those lead to one side of Pixar's private offices. Follow them and you'll find the entire Incredible family waiting to greet you

Above: Heading back down the stairs, we noticed this little guy sketched on the wall. Remy!

Above: Ready to dig deeper into the studio? Right through here

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  • slimjim441 - May 13, 2010 6:22 a.m.

    My apologies about the 'Pixar shutting down' business. I had heard it from a colleague who claimed to have a reference and posted my previous comment before I could confirm it for myself. It's not true. Sorry for the scare, it was rather stupid of me...
  • philipshaw - May 11, 2010 11:52 a.m.

    That place looks awesome, I would love to visit it sometime
  • Apollomon - May 11, 2010 11:02 a.m.

    I have never been jealous of pixar employess cause although it cool and all i didnt want to go into films, but to work in a place like that...sooo amazing!!! Whereas i stuck at tesco at min- we used to have a pool table in staff room, but i guess it proved too much fun so they took it away- cheap skates! am i understanding correctly? they have a theatre there to watch pixar films? good enough reason to stay late at work :P
  • rafa_slash - May 10, 2010 10:46 p.m.

    hey Charlie, how hard was to actually concentrate on the game while being at MOTHAFRUKINGPIXAR?
  • Shrimpandwhitewine - May 10, 2010 4:43 p.m.

    Too cool...
  • Ravenbom - May 10, 2010 6:55 a.m.

    OMFG! Did Chris cry from joy/overstimulation at any point during this? Did he skip his nap and get so tuckered out during the day that he fell asleep with his juice box in his hand in the car ride back?
  • hardcore_gamer1990 - May 9, 2010 11:59 p.m.

    I've always loved Luxo.
  • batman5273 - May 9, 2010 11:04 p.m.

    I am very jealous. I made a fan art picture in the forums for you guys!! captcha preppie interview
  • Cleanser247 - May 9, 2010 10:14 p.m.

    What a cool place to visit! Looks like you guys had a blast at Pixar. Pixar has really made an awesome, fun place to work at. So much to see and do there. Good feature Charlie!
  • iluvmyDS - May 9, 2010 10 p.m.

    That has got to be one of the coolest places to work. Hell, even just visiting seems awesome.
  • IHazCheezburger - May 9, 2010 8:08 p.m.

    DO WANT!
  • GamesRadarCharlieBarratt - May 9, 2010 7:01 p.m.

    @NotBraze Pixar didn't make Doug? Are you telling me I'll never see Patty Mayonnaise or Skeeter in computer generated 3D?!? Anyhoo, thanks for catching the misspell. It's been corrected and all that.
  • supercool117 - May 9, 2010 6:57 p.m.

    So freakin awesome. I just ran out and bought Toy Story 2 because this reminded me how behind I am with Pixar movies. I really hope Toy Story 3 is awesome in both movie and game forms
  • Fraught - May 9, 2010 6:03 p.m.

    @NotBraze, thank the heavens. I was very, VERY suspicious about it as well, I wasn't really betting much on his info being real, really. And "Dug" in the opening paragraph? What? Was that directed at my post? Because the closest to that that I can see, is "Bug's Life" and that is a Pixar movie, so yeah.
  • EnragedTortoise1 - May 9, 2010 5:15 p.m.

  • 510BrotherPanda - May 9, 2010 4:32 p.m.

    "My master made me this collar so that I may talkSQUIRREL!!!...Hi there!" I can't believe you guys got that dog.
  • Hurricrane - May 9, 2010 4:29 p.m.

    pure awesomeness... god I would love to work there
  • NotBraze - May 9, 2010 4:26 p.m.

    @Fraught I'm not sure where slimjim got his info but I can assure you it's false. Pixar will still be making movies for the foreseeable future. Also, by the way, not to nitpick, but I think you meant Dug in the opening paragraph. Doug is an old Nickelodeon cartoon. I know, I know, animation nerd, I'll go back to my basement.
  • Metroidhunter32 - May 9, 2010 3:43 p.m.

    ...Jealosy rising.
  • Imgema - May 9, 2010 12:43 p.m.

    Just imagine it. People actually also GET PAID for working in there.