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Getting to know Alonso Martinez

What makes Alonso tick?

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Video transcript

- I remember, when I was a kid, I used to, like, run out of shoe to draw on. And I would just, like, continue drawing up my leg and just, like, just continue drawing. And, you know, my dad didn't really want me to do too much art stuff. He was like, "Oh, maybe you should try architecture or something like that." And, I had to, kind of, prove to him that there was money, that I could make a living from art. And, what I found out early on was that, when you combine art with technology, which kind of made it more relevant to the world that we live in today, that there was a lot more job stability. You know, stuff like that. And, so, when I was making websites, there was, like, animations. You could, like, click on a button and it would make a little animation. And I was like, "Oh, what's this animation thing?" And then I got more and more curious and then, as my websites got fancier and fancier, there was like, "Oh, what if I could, like, make a logo and it was, like, spinning in 3D. Like, how do I make stuff in 3D?" I went to this thing, called the National Portfolio Day, which is where all the art schools, kind of, look at students' portfolios. And I had some 3D stuff but I didn't really, I was just like, "I'm an artist and I happen to have some of this stuff in my portfolio." And, then, when a University saw it, they were like, "Whoa." They were like, "You need to do 3D." And I was like, "3D what?" And they were like, "No, 3D computer animation." I didn't know too much technology stuff, so, like, University was like, just, I was like a sponge and, yeah, I learned a lot in University. At school, we had to come up with a two and a half minute short film. And mine was about a lighthouse keeper that, the mechanism that he turns on his light, it needs repair because it's frozen. And, so, this boat is gunna come crashing into the reef that he's on. And, so, in trying to fix the thing, he electrocutes himself and dies. And he pops up as a ghost and he's trying to fix the switch but he's, like, going though the switch because now he's a ghost. And he turns around, the boat blows his horn. He turns around, sees his dead body, and is in crazy shock. He needs to snap out of it really quickly because, if he doesn't, the boat's gunna crash. And, so, what he realizes is that he can go inside of the lens that amplifies the light. And, so, the ghost jumps into the lens and it explodes in light. And, finally, the boat can see the rocks and, sort of, avoids them. But there was, I think, some golden nuggets, sort of, inside of there. I think my character, that I made, I had a lot of fun making it. And, when I applied to Pixar, I was applying for a different job position and I happened to have a little video of my character, kind of like, moving around and having all these, like, facial expressions. And they were like, "We want you for rigging." And I was like, "What's rigging?" (laughs) And, so, rigging, also known as reticulation, is, basically, designing an interface of a bunch of, like, knobs that when you, like, move them around it's, like, moving the character, and blinking the eyelid and stuff like that. (laughs) I love making robots and I love making robots because it's a continuation of what I love here at Pixar. Which is making these characters that, hopefully, in the minds of people, they're alive. And, for me, robotics is just like , "What if I couldn't make characters seem alive for just two hours? What if I could just make them seem alive for a lot longer? Like, hopefully, many years." And, so, yeah, it's exciting, just, you know, tinkering with a bunch of things that I don't know about because it's literally, I came from an art background. And, so, it's mechanical engineering, electrical engineering, computer science, fabrication. There's so many things that I just don't know. And, literally, just looking on the internet. Like, I haven't taken a single class because I'm such a visual learner. I always, you know, search on YouTube first. For me, like, videos are what help me. And, text, I only resort to text when there isn't any video stuff. And, so it's just, kind of, an experiment with robots and humans and the kind of interactions that you can have with, kind of, an artifical being. Just, pretty cool.