Once upon a time, there was a little studio called MAGI/Synthavision. In 1987, having completed some of the effects on the ground-breaking Disney film Tron and some CG animation for commercials, an employee named Chris Wedge gathered a bunch of his co-workers and formed a studio of his own. They produced some effects for live-action films like Fight Club and Alien Resurrection, along with their first short film Bunny, which Wedge directed. In the wake of the CG cartoon movement (Pixar had released A Bugs Life a year before Bunny was awarded Best Animated Short in the Oscars), the studio just happened to be bought by Twentieth Century Fox to help fish them out of their failing 2-D feature animation unit. And the rest is prehistory.
Ice Age (2002) was the film that made Blue Sky Studios a major competitor in the animated feature film industry, and they released around one new animated film every two years since. It also helped boost the morale in the pretty dismal Northeastern animation circle- they are the only feature animation studio in the Northeast, having used to be located in White Plains, New York before moving under a mile across the state border into Greenwich, Connecticut for the tax breaks. They are notable for being one of the first studios to use raytrace rendering in feature films. They are also known for using more naturalistic lighting design than other studios, depending completely on sculpture maquettes to create the 3D forms of their characters, and utilizing cartoon squash-and-stretch more frequently in their later features. Chris Wedge directed their first films, and continues to executive produce their later ones.
Films made by Blue Sky Studios
- Ice Age (2002)
- Robots (2005)
- Ice Age 2: The Meltdown (2006)
- Dr. Seuss's Horton Hears a Who (2008)
- Ice Age: Dawn of the Dinosaurs (2009)
- Rio (2011)
- Ice Age: Continental Drift (2012)
- Epic (2013), based on William Joyce's children's book The Leaf Men And The Brave Good Bugs
- Spore, based on the simulation game
- The Story of Ferdinand, based on the American folktale "Ferdinand the Bull"