Oren Jacob

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Oren Jacob was born February 26, 1971 and grew up in Irvine, California. His interests growing up included the Apple 2 computer, video games, soccer and skiing. Oren saw Star Wars and yearned to work on similar films. In 1987, he attended Spike and Mike’s Sick & Twisted Animation Festival and saw John Lasseter’s, Luxo Jr. He had a new goal now, work at Pixar Animation Studios.

In 1990 as a College of Engineering freshman at Berkeley, he saw Tin Toy. Afterward he noticed a computer graphics internship on a Macintosh software project advertised on campus. He applied and got one of the four available intern spots.

He quickly rose in the ranks to become a technical director on several of the commercials Pixar produced in the early 1990s, including Levi’s and Hallmark. The Listerine commercial Arrows won a Gold Clio in 1994.

He graduated from the University of California, Berkeley in 1993 with a degree in mechanical engineering.  He followed that up with his master’s degree.

Among Oren’s contributions to Pixar include serving as technical director on early commercials for Listerine, Hallmark, Levi’s and TetraPak.  His feature film work include lighting and special effects work for Toy Story, the amazing, opening shot of A Bug’s Life, visual effects lead on Toy Story 2 and supervising technical director on Finding Nemo.

Oren also executive produced the non Pixar related documentary, Ready, Set, Bag!. The idea began from a conversation Oren was having with friends about first jobs. He learned of a grocery bagger competition (which became the basis of the film) and the rest is history. The documentary is produced and directed by Oren’s wife, Justine Jacob.

He is currently the Director of the Studio Tools group at Pixar. Amongst his primary duties is the creation of the latest version of Marionette™. This proprietary animation software is used for modeling, animating and lighting. The Studio Tools group has incorporate technical innovations, artist feedback to enhance the software to help achieve the director’s vision and tell the best story possible.

Oren is also one of three Chief Technical Officers at Pixar and helped found Pixar University, the studio’s internal training and education division, and he taught Animated Short Film at the Academy of Art College for seven years.

Filmography

  • Toy Story (1995) (visual effects)
  • A Bug’s Life (1998) (rendering optimization consultant)
  • Toy Story 2 (1999) (associate technical director, visual effects lead)
  • Finding Nemo (2003) (supervising technical director)
  • The Incredibles (2004) (software engineering)
  • Runners High (2006) (executive producer)
  • Ready, Set, Bag! (2008) (story supervisor, executive producer)

Tidbits

  • Oren is married to his 2nd grade sweetheart Justine! They have three wonderful kids,
  • Oren enjoys such outdoor activities as snowboarding, backyard gardening, backpacking, scuba diving and soccer.
  • Some of his favorite films include Casablanca, Godfather I and II, Goldfinger, The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and the Lord of the Rings trilogy.

Interviews

3D Ark – Making Demo Reels – 1999 (A younger, more enthusiastic Oren wrote this)

Animation World Network – June, 2003

Berkeley Daily Planet – October, 2009

CG Society – 2003

Forefront – Berkeley College of Engineering – 2002

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