Want to make your own Toy Story?


The software that made this happen is now free. Photo: Pixar
The software that made this happen is now free. Photo: Pixar

Steve Jobs was, of course, formative to developing the software for the Mac, iPhone and iPad, but he was also formative to the development of another company and its software: Pixar, the computer animation studio behind Toy Story, Ratatouille, Up and more.

Now Pixar has released RenderMan, the company’s in-house rendering software, to the public for free. It’s the tool that gave the world Toy Story and countless other modern day classics, and it is now totally free to download for non-commercial use on the Mac, as well as Windows and Linux.

How Pixar helped Jobs build a more collaborative Apple


Steve Jobs with the Pixar founders.
Steve Jobs with the Pixar founders Ed Catmull and John Lasseter. Photo: Pixar

The new Steve Jobs biography, Becoming Steve Jobs: The Evolution of a Reckless Upstart into a Visionary Leader, promises plenty of fascinating tidbits about the life of Apple’s co-founder, some of which we’ve revealed here.

But the real thing I’m excited about, that I hope the book does a whole lot better than its predecessor by Walter Isaacson, is answering the question of how exactly Jobs went from being an impulsive, hard-to-work-with co-founder to the cool, collected digital emperor who barely put a foot wrong just over one decade later.

To mark the release of Becoming Steve Jobs, a new Fast Company article written by veteran journalist Rick Tetzeli grapples with that very question. One of Tetzeli’s conclusions? It was all about Pixar.

ICYMI: Gaming’s most innovative players, Apple Watch secrets, and more!


Gaming, Apple Watch, Black Friday. what more do you need? Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac
Gaming, Apple Watch, Black Friday. what more do you need? Cover Design: Rob LeFebvre/Cult of Mac

Hey, guess what? It’s yet another fantastic round up of great stories from Cult of Mac, so time for another special Newsstand issue just for you!

We’ve got all of the best news stories and features compiled in one place to easily read on your iPad or iPhone, like: New innovations in gaming include hot upcoming game Subterfuge, currently available MOBA Vainglory, and a new ex-Pixar-employee-led studio, plus news on the Apple Watch, some amazing gift guides, and a Black Friday special report that you won’t want to miss.

Dig into Cult of Mac Magazine November 21 Edition, Free on iTunes

How a group of Pixar employees created gaming’s hottest startup


The Steel Wool Games team. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac
The Steel Wool Games team is studded with Pixar talent. Photo: Jim Merithew/Cult of Mac

With a cutesy, one-eyed protagonist named Zak and colorful graphics aplenty, upcoming game Flyhunter Origins looks like it could be a big-screen animated movie.

That’s not too shocking, since the game was developed by Steel Wool Games, a San Francisco Bay Area-based startup composed of Pixar employees past and present. But while the story of a space janitor who becomes wrapped up in an intergalactic insect-catching adventure sounds like it could come from the next Brad Bird movie, what the team has crafted is a compelling 2-D platformer that owes as much to Super Mario Bros. as it does to Toy Story.

“What we admired about those early games is what they did with very limited technology,” says Andrew Dayton, a 20-year veteran of computer visual effects, whose day job sees him working as senior technical director at Pixar. “Back then you couldn’t hide bad gameplay with pretty pictures. Playability was everything for us.”

Pixar’s upcoming film turns emotions Inside Out


Screengrab: Cult of Mac
Apparently, it's crazy in there. Screengrab: Cult of Mac

Careful now – Pixar’s upcoming film, Inside Out, takes place within the emotional centers of a pre-pubescent girl. There’s some crazy characters in there — including Joy, Sadness, Anger and Fear — and they’re all just so happy to meet you.

In this brand new, super-short trailer, we get a tiny peek at what’s in store from us from Pete Doctor, the director of both Monsters, Inc. and Up.

Check it out below.

How Sony stood up to Steve Jobs’ wage-fixing schemes at Pixar


Steve Jobs with the Pixar founders.
Ed Catmull, Steve Jobs and John Lasseter at Pixar

Steve Jobs may have been part of some of the biggest tech revolutions of the past forty years, but he was also part of an illegal attempt to suppress employee wages by way of a massive no-poaching agreement with other tech giants.

Another of the companies accused of similar actions by former employees was Pixar, the company Jobs purchased a majority interest in after being booted out of Apple in the mid-80s. In 2011, Pixar’s John Lasseter described Jobs as “forever…part of Pixar’s DNA.”

As it happens, that may not be entirely for the best.

Apple, Google pay off 64,000 workers to kill anti-poaching lawsuit


Apple suppliers are enjoying huge revenue boosts thanks to the iPhone 6
Apple suppliers are enjoying huge revenue boosts thanks to the iPhone 6


Apple hasn’t shied from going toe-to-toe in a heavy legal battle for months or years if need be, but rather than seeing its latest class action lawsuit go to trial, Apple has relented to settle instead.

Four major tech companies including Apple and Google reached a settlement this morning with the 64,000 tech workers who filed a class action lawsuit on the grounds that the Silicon Valley firms had conspired to keep wages artificially low through no-hire agreements.

Access Tons Of Disney Movies Instantly With “Disney Movies Anywhere” [Video Review]



While movie streaming applications like Netflix and Hulu Plus remain popular for what they have to offer, Disney has just released their own take on the genre. Disney Movies Anywhere is Disney’s latest application, giving users the ability to access an extensive library of Disney movies on the go. With plenty of great options and features available will Disney Movies Anywhere find its way on your devices.

Take a look at Disney Movies Anywhere and find out what you think.

This is a Cult Of Mac video review of the application “Disney Movies Anywhere” brought to you by Joshua Smith of “TechBytes W/Jsmith.”

Poser Debut: An Easy And Fun Way To Bring Out Your Creativity [Deals]



If you’ve ever thought about creating 3D animation, but thought you’d need formal education to learn how, Poser Debut is here to prove you wrong.

Poser Debut comes with everything you need to get started, including an easy to follow, step-by-step project guide, library of ready-to-pose 3D characters, props to build scenes, cameras, lights and pre-built poses that can be dropped right onto your characters. With Poser Debut you will be able to render 3D scenes into gorgeous art in no time – and Cult of Deals has it for just $12.99 for a limited time!

Here’s Why You Want Apple Employees Yuppifying Your Town


CC-licensed via Flickr, thanks cdorobek.
CC-licensed via Flickr, thanks cdorobek.

Even if you don’t work in tech, you had better hope your town has more companies like Apple move in. If an innovation hub takes root where you live, you’ll be wealthier, healthier and less likely to divorce than areas that remain barren to it.

And if you are in a startup – wherever you live now, get yourself to one of these brain hubs before it’s too late.

That’s the crux of “The New Geography of Jobs,”  a fascinating book by Berkeley economics prof Enrico Moretti who leads readers on a whirlwind tour of how tech innovation is reshaping opportunity in the US, clustering around places like San Francisco, San Jose, San Diego, Austin, Seattle, Boston, Washington, DC and Durham, North Carolina.

There’s a big debate, of course, about the yuppification of cities like San Francisco, which have seen a huge influx of monied engineers from companies like Apple, Facebook and Google, who are feeding a huge boom in tech. Locals are complaining about skyrocketing house prices, $4 toast and the artisanal food trucks that charge $12 for a tofu Thai burrito. Outrage Missionites react with birthday pinatas shaped like Google buses and posters from the Yuppie-eradication project.

However, there is another side to it. If an Apple worker moves next door, that person will create on average five jobs, Moretti’s research shows.  Those jobs are a mix of skilled (nurses, lawyers, teachers) and unskilled ones (hairdressers, waiters, carpenters.) Innovation will never create the majority of US jobs, but it has an outsized effect on the economy of American communities, he writes. It’s not your resume but your zip code that determines how much money you make – so be glad instead of complaining about that Cupertino traffic, folks.

“Gentrification is a good problem to have”

Here in San Francisco a quick look around confirms that, at least on an anecdotal level. The Cult of Mac co-working space is abuzz with fancy-schmancy tattoo artists, hipster nail designers and boutique financial planners.

Moretti’s ideas – considerably nuanced and convincingly bolstered by research in the 250-page work – go counter to much of what’s being written about the squeeze of resources in the booming Bay Area. Gentrification is also a good problem to have, he says, acknowledging that it brings serious social consequences. The solution: not to discourage growth in innovation (in the vain hope manufacturing comes back to big cities) but manage the “growth in smart ways to minimize the negative consequences for the weakest residents and maximize the economic benefits for all.”

Given his local base, you’d expect a lot of interesting examples. In between a visit to a color scientist at Pixar and an artisan chocolate factory, he talks to a San Francisco bookbinder who employs eight people, uses the same equipment from decades past and whose fortunes go up and down with the high-tech companies of the NASDAQ. Noteworthy clients include the Jobs family, who had Steve’s condolence book made there.

Cities change and grow or they die out. And whether they thrive or wither in America now depends on innovation.

This picture of tech making things a little better for most of us is in stark contrast with the San Francisco that has been painted by the tech press as a gentrified, bloated old floozy who puts out for soulless tech workers who trample what dignity she has left by kickstarting pop-up food trucks and lofts that proliferate like mushrooms.

This strikes me as strange, coming from people whose livelihood often depends on breathless excitement over things like cell phone covers. Then again, I’m the fourth generation of my family to live here. I like to imagine that my great gran would find it funny that the Del Monte plant where she gave up elbow grease putting peaches into cans has morphed into a gaudy tourist shopping center. (I am also fairly sure she’d arch an eyebrow at my earnest writings about iPad stands, but still.)

Cities change and grow or they die out, basically. And whether they thrive or wither in America now depends on innovation. Whether you’re part of the innovation or provide services for those who are in it, you’re still better off. Moretti’s research shows that more college grads raise the salaries for everyone in an area – regardless of the higher cost of living. Same with lower divorce rates and better general health.

So get over that Tesla parked in your new neighbor’s driveway and get on with your life.