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Entertainment | Technology
Michael B. Johnson, Ph.D. has been at Pixar for over 20 years—he started as an intern in 1993 while working on his PhD at the MIT Media Lab.
Dr. Johnson is a lead in Pixar's Studio Tools R&D department, where he has led groups responsible for the design, implementation and support of the pre-production pipeline for Pixar features and shorts. These areas include Story, Editorial, Art, Production Management, and the Review process. His teams worked directly with the directors, editors, producers, production designers, art directors, artists and production groups who start the process of bringing Pixar stories to the screen.
As an individual contributor, Dr. Johnson wrote tools for all of Pixar's feature films (and many of their short films), including storyboarding, pre-viz, layout, animation, modeling, lighting, rendering, and editorial tools.
Before that, he led an early effort at Pixar in the Interactive Division to explore possibilities for storytelling and character construction.
Prior to Pixar, he attended the University of Illinois where he earned his undergraduate degree in Computer Science Engineering. He studied abroad for a year in Swansea, Wales and also worked for NCSA, Thinking Machines, IBM and MIT’s Media Lab.
Dr. Johnson completed his Masters of Science in Visual Studies and his Ph.D. in Computer Graphics and Animation at the MIT Media Lab, where Dr. Edwin Catmull (founder of Pixar) was on his thesis committee.
Dr. Michael Johnson lives in Oakland, CA with his wife and daughter.