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The recent Oscar win for Guillermo del Toro’s Pinocchio isn’t quite garnering the attention it deserves. The film's Oscar conquest has added fuel to a quiet but growing rebellion amongst the world’s top animation studios. But to know the rebellion we must rewind.
Our story begins with an oft-told tale: Pixar and its epoch-defining 1995 debut, Toy Story. At a time when most computer-generated 3D animated content resembled plastic figurines in motion, it was a stroke of genius to make a film about toys. With toys as characters, Pixar allowed itself the space to experiment with an eclectic mix of facial styles, even as it perfected its realistic backdrops.
This was the founding stone in Pixar’s animation bulwark, aka the Pixar look — cartoonish features set against backgrounds that look only slightly embellished from an actual photograph. With newer, more powerful rendering engines, Pixar would further heighten
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