I flew up to Oakland yesterday for a lunchtime lecture and Q&A at Pixar. And wow. It’s really nice up there.

If I had to work in an office, I’d work there. It combines everything I like about Dreamworks/Amblin (lunch, toys, a noticeable lack of evil) with everything I’ve read about Google (daylight, servers, smart people on scooters). They even showed me the secret cellar where they mine joy.

My presentation was on Expectation as it relates to story. It was brand-new material that I was trying out for the first time, and I was fairly happy with how it went. Once it’s in a bit better shape, I’ll post some of the lecture on the site.

As frequent readers know, my geekery is almost limitless, so it was great to be able to ask questions about 32-bit color spaces and whether model articulation and prop interaction relied on message-passing. Sample inquiries: If an animated character picks up a can of soda, does that can of soda become part of the character’s domain or does it remain a separate object? (Answer: the latter.) If an explosion casts light, is that handled by VFX or the lighting department? (Lighting will probably get the last word.)

Many thanks to the Pixar folks for good questions and better answers. And a special thank you to Stephan Bugaj and Michelle Lindsey for setting it up.