Robert Peterson was born in Wooster, Ohio on January 18, 1961. He is one of four children. Growing up, Peterson and his family lived in various places such as Brooklyn, New York and Dover, Ohio. He began drawing from a very young age and even had his own cartoon strip called “Loco Motive”, but disregarded the possibility of a career in art.
Peterson’s college education began in mechanical engineering at Ohio Northern University. During his time at the university, Peterson joined a computer graphics course which introduced him to the world of computer animation. After graduating from Ohio Northern University in 1983, Peterson continued his education at Purdue University; in 1985, he attended a conference where John Lasseter spoke of combining Disney character animation with computer graphics. Peterson was determined to one day work with Lasseter, but it wasn't until nine years later, in 1994, after earning a master’s degree in mechanical engineering in 1986, that Peterson came to work for Pixar.
- Toy Story (1995): Additional animation, additional layout artist
- Peterson animated a number of shots with Sid Phillips, such as the "I wanna ride the pony" shot.
- Geri's Game (1997): Voice of Geri
- A Bug's Life (1998): Story artist
- Toy Story 2 (1999): Story artist
- Monsters, Inc. (2001): Story supervisor, additional story material, voice of Roz
- Finding Nemo (2003): Writer (screenplay), voice of Mr. Ray, additional voices
- The Incredibles (2004): Additional voices
- Up (2009): Co-writer, co-director, voice of Dug and Alpha.
- Toy Story 3 (2010): Voice of the Janitor, uncredited voice of high pitched Chuckles
- The Good Dinosaur (2015): Writer