Editor's note

This past fall, as part of our Computer Science 50 year celebration, I was able to sit in on a presentation by esteemed alumni Darwyn Peachey (BSC’78, MSC’83) and Byron Bashforth (BSc’96, MSC’99).


Peachey began his Pixar Animation Studios career in 1988 and has had a remarkable journey ever since—recently as the global technology supervisor for The Incredibles 2. Bashforth has also had an illustrious career, joining Pixar in June 1999 as a render  technical director on Toy Story 2. Recently, he was the character shading lead for Disney Pixar’s Oscar-winning film, Coco.

I am the first to admit I am not overly versed in tech culture but these two were simply fascinating despite my lack of animation knowledge.

The two innovators used real examples from real movies to show the importance of their work; how the lighting in a frame of The Incredibles 2 changed the mood of an entire scene and how challenging it was to make the skeleton characters wear clothes in Coco. Some of these details may seem trivial to the untrained eye but they are in fact monumental when piecing the whole story  together.

What was so fascinating to me about their presentation was hearing just how many people it took to make these images come to life. Peachey and Bashforth made sure to mention the importance of their teams as part of the larger team that put the whole movie together. To create a full-length animated feature takes hundreds of brains colliding together to come up with the best product.

After the presentation, I made sure to watch these films over again, now with the trained eye of someone who could better appreciate the amount of work each frame takes. When the end credits rolled, hundreds of names scrolled through my screen, proving that all of these ingenious people had conjured up these creative ideas and collaboratively tackled them, resulting in a brilliant, eye catching and memorable piece of art.

Boundless collaboration has brought many inventions and ideas to fruition, and these movies are just one example of why working collaboratively is so important.

Boundless collaboration means many things, but to our alumni, students and faculty it means reaching for the unknown and working together to explore new opportunities. It’s also why it is one of the University of Saskatchewan’s three commitments in our 2025 University Plan.

That’s what you’ll find in this magazine—stories of our USask community working together to be what the world needs. Whether it’s enhancing plant-based proteins, looking for ways to solve the HIV crisis or working together to provide education opportunities to everyone, it’s in our nature to work together to get the job done.

On our own we may be small, but collectively we can move mountains.

Leslie-Ann Schlosser

Share this story