Pixar In a Box with Khan Academy free computer graphics and animation training

Pixar in a Box. Free computer graphics and animation courses on Khan Academy.

Pixar in a Box

Pixar in a Box logo(Released 8/26/2015) Has your child ever asked why am I learning this math?  Will I ever use it?  Pixar in a Box is a new creative content partnership between Pixar Animation studios and Khan Academy that helps bridge the learning process between creativity and mathematics. Pixar in a Box teaches middle and high school students how to use math concepts learned in school to make animations used in Pixar movies.

World class animators from Pixar (who actually work on the movies) teach core animation concepts through videos and interactive lessons.  Each animation topic is directly related to math skills required to make the characters come alive in animated feature films.


Khan Academy All SubjectsKhan Academy (khanacademy.org) is the web application and mobile app used to deliver the Pixar in a Box educational materials. Khan Academy is loaded with over 4000 educational videos ranging from math & science to art & history.  Pixar in a Box animation training is the newest addition to its content partnerships.

As with all Khan Academy content, Pixar in a Box is free!

Pixar In Box Lessons

Each Pixar in a Box lesson is composed of instructional videos, interactive lessons and practice exercises with feedback.

The general learning process for each lesson is:

Movie Example > Problem to be solved > Mathematical Concept > Interactive Math Exercises > Animation Challenges

For example:

Brave > How to make grass & have it look real > Parabolic Curves > Interactive Math Exercises > Design grass & make it blow in the wind.

Each lesson is taught by a different Pixar employee who is an expert in the subject field.

Other examples of problems they are trying to solve include how to make Sulley’s fur move & look real or how to make Mr. Incredible appear strong but show that his strength requires effort.


The Pixar in Box lessons give teachers or individuals the opportunity to explore computer graphics and animation.   Teachers can use or show the lessons in the classroom to supplement existing course materials or used independently.  Pixar in a Box is excellent materials for use in many classes including:

  • Math Class
  • Computer Class
  • Art Class

In addition any person can do the course topics as an independent study.  If the student needs more information on a given subject (ex:  parabolic curves) there are links to supporting content on Khan Academy.

Don’t forget that it is all free.  All you need is a computer with Internet access.

Pixar in a Box Content Topics

There are six primary content topics each composed of multiple interactive lessons.  Each lesson takes roughly 45 – 60 minutes to complete.  Some of the lessons are appropriate for all ages while others are geared for middle or high school students.

Brave Grass Keep AliveEnvironment Modeling (Brave)

Learn how to make grass using parabolic arcs and how to make it blow in the wind.

Character Modeling (UP)

Use weighted averages to transform clay models into digital characters.

Pixar in a Box Parabolic Curve Create MidpointsAnimation (The Incredibles)

Learn how animators use animation curves to bring ordinary objects to life.

Crowds (Wall-E)

Work with the Combinator to learn how to make thousands of unique robots using only a few robot parts.

Sets & Staging (Toy Story)

See how virtual sets are created using geometric transformations.

Rendering (Up)

Learn how algebra is used to paint pixels digitally.

More to Come

According to Pixar and Khan Academy this is just the beginning of the content that is to be rolled out.  Many more topics are in the pipe line and will be rolled out over time.


Pixar in a Box is available on the web for use by anyone with an Internet connected computer.

There is also an iPad version of Khan Academy which is excellent.  However, using the iPad version with the Pixar in a Box content was a little challenging on certain creative interactive exercises.   The videos play well on either platform.

Direct Link to Pixar in a Box

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