‘Pixar: The Design of Story’ examines the design process of animation

Ever wondered how a character like Joy from the movie “Inside Out” is brought to life? An exhibit examining the …

Ever wondered how a character like Joy from the movie “Inside Out” is brought to life? An exhibit examining the creative process behind “Inside Out” and other Pixar classics is now on display at Cooper Hewitt, Smithsonian Design Museum on the Upper East Side.

“Pixar: the Design of Story,” offers visitors of all ages an inside look at the way Pixar Animation Studios creates blockbuster hits like “Cars”, “WALL-E,” and “Toy-Story.”

Ralph Eggleston, known for his leadership on “Monsters Inc.,” “Finding Nemo,” and “WALL-E,” advises aspiring animation filmmakers, young and old, who might visit the museum to focus on learning how to ‘see’ the story.

“That’s the most important thing,” Eggleston said: “Learning how to envision the story and see the details.”

At the entrance of the exhibit, which is located in the museum’s Process Lab, guests are given the tools to create their own stories in the form of an “interactive pen,” a large stylus that can, upon contact, download images, objects, and posters wirelessly and deliver them to a private web address only the user can access.

The pens can also be used on interactive tables — 84-inch touch-screens — positioned throughout the exhibit. Visitors can choose from a “river of objects” that flows through these screens, or draw their own objects with various effects in a private display box.

“Ambitious people with 3-D printers at home can even print the objects they make on the interactive tables,” said Laurie Bolhk, associate director of communications and marketing at the museum.

The installation houses more than 650 Pixar and 3,500 Cooper-Hewitt objects from more than 25 years of animation work. Visitors can examine dirt samples taken from America’s Route 66, which were used to help pigment the world of “Cars,” or see how Merida from “Brave” got her fiery red mane.

A screening of Pixar’s very first animated film, “Luxo Jr.,” gives visitors insight to the rich history of the animation studio. Luxo, the adorable little lamp, lives on today as Pixar’s mascot.

ZOYA TEIRSTEIN. Special to amNewYork