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This article is about the Pixar short film. For the character, see Luxo, Jr. (character).

In 1986, Pixar Animation Studios produced its first film. This is why we have a hopping lamp in our logo.
―Intro message in the 1999 reissue

Luxo, Jr. is a 1986 computer-animated short produced by Pixar Animation Studios. It is the first short produced by Pixar after it spun off from Lucasfilm. It debuted at the 1986 SIGGRAPH conference in Dallas, Texas.

The short was reissued in 1999 and shown before screenings of Toy Story 2. Luxo is also the mascot of Pixar, standing in for the "I" in "Pixar." In 2014, the film was selected for preservation by the National Film Registry.


The only characters are two Anglepoise desk lamps, inspired by Luxo brand task-lights. The small lamp, Luxo, Jr., plays with a small inflated rubber ball, chasing it and trying to balance on it as Luxo, Sr., the larger lamp reacts to these antics. The ball eventually deflates due to Luxo, Jr. jumping on it too much. Luxo, Jr. is admonished by Luxo, then finds and plays with an even larger ball.


On the technical level, the film demonstrates the use of shadow maps to simulate the shifting light and shadow given by the animated lamps.[1] The lights and the color surfaces of all the objects are calculated, each using a RenderMan surface shader, not surface textures.[1] The articulation of "limbs" is carefully coordinated, and power cords trail believably behind the moving lamps.[1] On the cinematic level, it demonstrates a simple and entertaining story, including effectively expressive individual characters.[2]

It was Pixar's first animation after Ed Catmull and John Lasseter left ILM's computer division. Lasseter's aim was to finish the short film for SIGGRAPH, an annual computer technology exhibition attended by thousands of industry professionals. Catmull and Lasseter worked around the clock, and Lasseter even took a sleeping bag into work and slept under his desk[3], ready to work early the next morning. The commitment paid off, and against all odds, it was finished for SIGGRAPH. Before Luxo, Jr. finished playing at SIGGRAPH, the crowd had already risen in applause.[4]

"Luxo, Jr. sent shockwaves through the entire industry – to all corners of computer and traditional animation. At that time, most traditional artists were afraid of the computer. They did not realize that the computer was merely a different tool in the artist's kit but instead perceived it as a type of automation that might endanger their jobs. Luckily, this attitude changed dramatically in the early '80s with the use of personal computers in the home. The release of our Luxo, Jr. ... reinforced this opinion turnaround within the professional community."
Edwin Catmull, Computer Animation: A Whole New World, 1998.

In 1986, Luxo Jr. received an Academy Award nomination for Best Animated Short Film. It was the first computer animated film to be nominated for an Academy Award.[5]

In To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios, a book of Pixar's history up through January 2007, film critic Leonard Maltin said that he "like[s] the fact that Luxo [Jr.] still has significance to the people at Pixar", and remarked that it was something like Disney's Mickey Mouse.

In 2014, the film was selected for preservation in the United States National Film Registry by the Library of Congress as being "culturally, historically, or aesthetically significant".


Pieces of music used in the short include:

Title Composed by
Take a Bow 2 David Lindup
Finesse Brian Bennett, Carlton Hall
Quicksilver Brian Bennett, Carlton Hall
Chateau Latour Brian Bennett, Carlton Hall



  • Luxo, Jr. is the first computer-animated short film to be nominated for an Academy Award.
  • Luxo, Jr. was inspired by one of Pixar's employee's kid.
  • Luxo, Jr. serves as Pixar's mascot and the ball serves as one of Pixar's top found easter eggs.
  • Luxo, Jr. is the only original Pixar short not shown as a book on Andy's bookshelf in Toy Story.
  • Though Luxo, Sr. is a father, he is based on John Lasseter's mother.[6]
  • When this short premiered at SIGGRAPH, as soon as the audience first saw the ball come in and the lamp move, they applauded throughout the whole short.
  • Disney+ states the release of this movie to be 1999, the year it was re-issued with Toy Story 2.

Other appearances[]

  • Luxo, Jr. (sans cord) is seen in the opening logo of each Pixar film, squashing the "I" in "Pixar."
  • At the end of WALL-E, Luxo, Jr. meets the titular character, who replaces Luxo's lightbulb after it burnt out.
  • Since the short's release, the ball has appeared in almost every Pixar production to date.
  • In a scene in Toy Story 2 where Hamm rapidly flicks through TV channels to find a certain commercial, one of the channels is showing Luxo, Jr. Coincidently, the short was shown before screenings of Toy Story 2.
  • An audio-animatronic version of Luxo, Jr. appears in Pixar Place at Disney's Hollywood Studios theme park. It comes out of shutters on the side of a building, bouncing out onto a platform. It dances around to different music that plays during the day, and at night it interacts with the lighting in nearby trees. The animatronic was removed in April 2010 due to legal issues with Luxo, the company that makes the lamps, over the unauthorized use of the name in a Blu-Ray boxset of Up.
  • A series of four shorts featuring Luxo, Jr. and Luxo, Sr. were produced for Sesame Street and aired in 1991.


  1. 1.0 1.1 1.2 Foley, J. D., Van Dam, A., Feiner, S. K. & Hughes, J. F. (1995). Computer Graphics: Principles and Practice. Addison-Wesley. ISBN 978-0201848403.
  2. Courrier, K. (2005). Randy Newman's American Dreams: American Dreams. ECW Press. ISBN 978-1550226904.
  3. The Pixar Story (2007) (TV documentary)
  4. Paik, K., Lasseter, J., Iwerks, L., Jobs, S. & Catmull, E. (2007). To Infinity and Beyond!: The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. Chronicle Books. ISBN 978-0811850124.
  5. Paik, Karen (2007). To Infinity and Beyond! The Story of Pixar Animation Studios. San Francisco, CA: Chronicle Books LLC.
  6. John Lasseter Q&A: Is the Pixar lamp a mama lamp, or a daddy?

External links[]

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