Visiting Artist Talk by Tim Best of Pixar Animation Studios

Tuesday, Mar 09, 2021

Tim Best, an award-winning lighting artist and software engineer at Pixar Animation Studios, will be giving a talk in the CAPPA Auditorium (ARCH 204) beginning at 10:00 a.m. on March 9. The presentation is sponsored by the Visiting Artist Committee of the Art and Art History Department as part of its mission to expand educational and cultural opportunities for the university community by hosting important scholars, artists, and designers from around the country. 


The presentation promises to be both informative and entertaining as Best will talk about his art background and his career in animation.  Art and Art History Senior Lecturer Angela Kallus, who invited Best to visit, commented “I think it’s important for our students to hear from someone like Tim because 1.) He was once an art student; 2.) He is not now, nor has he ever been, a university professor; 3.) Many of them were raised on Pixar - they have known the style and characters of these movies since childhood.” 


Tim Best is a senior software engineer and lighting artist at Pixar Animation Studios. Best started at Pixar in September 2000 as part of the Monster's Inc. lighting team, initially doing technical and render support and later lighting shots. He worked as a lighting artist on several of Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning feature films including The Incredibles, Ratatouille, and WALL•E. He was the lighting supervisor for the short films Mike’s New Car, Lifted, and Partly Cloudy. Best was the technical lighting lead on Disney•Pixar’s Academy Award®-winning feature Brave, and shared the 2013 Visual Effects Society award for “Outstanding Created Environment in an Animated Feature Motion Picture” for his work on the film’s forest setting. He was one of two lighting supervisors on The Good Dinosaur and Coco, and was the technical lighting supervisor on Onward.


Best earned a Bachelor of Arts in Visual Arts from the University of Maryland Baltimore County in 1997. As a student, he completed internships at UMBC's Imaging Research Center, where he helped design and produce animation for client projects and internal research. He continued in a similar role after graduation, becoming the IRC's Technical Specialist in Animation and Design, and receiving the first IRC Post-Graduate Fellowship in 1999. During this time, he also worked nights and weekends on a personal short film project, Pensive, which was featured in the 2000 SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater.


Best occasionally runs marathons and posts pictures of cats on various social media platforms. People semi-frequently tell Tim that they aren't sure when he's joking.