For several ’90s babies, Toy Story was a seminal film when it was released in 1995, but it became a landmark accomplishment in the eyes of adults as well – albeit for a different reason. It was the first full-length feature film entirely animated with computers.
Representing an evolution from traditional hand-drawn animation, the creative team at Pixar underwent an arduous and complex process to get their film on the big screen. A single frame took anywhere between 45 minutes to 30 hours to render. Despite the challenging work, it proved to be worth the trouble as computer animation featured benefits not available in cell animation. The 3D objects created richer environments and character models, allowing the movie to feel more cinematic and realistic.
The success of Toy Story paved the way for computer animation to be the norm. Pixar went on to release a string of acclaimed movies and other studios such as DreamWorks developed their own animation divisions.