Days Out: Pixar exhibition at the Science Museum

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The Independent Travel

The Pixar exhibition at the Science Museum looks at the art and (to some extent) the technology behind 20 years of cutting-edge animation by the Pixar studio, makers of Toy Story, Monsters, Inc and The Incredibles. Some 300 pieces of original art from the studio's films are featured - character sketches and models, storyboards and designs for background worlds - including work from its latest movie, Cars, which opens in July. Each film takes about 100,000 drawings, paintings and sculptures, 230-250 people, a high-speed computer and four years to complete. Surprisingly, given this exhibition's location, it contains relatively little science and a great deal of art. Although all Pixar's films are computer animated, high technology enters the equation quite late in the day.

Something for adults

One of the most interesting sections is the "colour scripts". These are a bit like storyboards, but rather than concentrating on outlining action and characters, they focus on colour and mood. They vary greatly from film to film and some are quite artistically interesting in their own right. A video interview shows Pixar artist Ralph Eggleston explaining that these "broad strokes" rarely change much, while the detail can alter again and again.

Something for children

The exhibition will be most fun if you have seen at least one or two Pixar films, so that you can spot familiar characters and compare how they started life with how they ended up. The Zoetrope is brilliant: 250 models of characters from Toy Story 2 turn on an eight-foot wheel. But the best bit part of the exhibition, in the opinion of the 12-year-olds, was the mini cinema showing excellent Pixar shorts. The exhibition ends with presentation that takes some of the artworks seen in the galleries and turns them into 3D computerised images - a glimpse of the final production process.

Refreshments

There is a self-service café with hot and cold food, as well as a child-friendly restaurant. At peak times, bring your own food to avoid the queuesand eat in the mega-bite picnic area.

Access

Full wheelchair access. Suitable for hearing-impaired visitors. Further information from the Science Museum's helpline for visitors with disabilities (020-7942 4446).

Admission

Daily 10am-6pm until 10 June. Adults £9, children/students £7, family (two adults, one child) £20. Timed tickets in the school holidays. Pre-booking advised.

How to get there

The Science Museum, Exhibition Road, London SW7 2DD (0870-870 4868; science museum.org.uk/pixar).

By Tube: South Kensington (Piccadilly line).

By bus: 9, 10, 14, 49, 52, 70, 74, 345, 360, 414, C1.

By car: limited pay and display parking.

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