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Jean-Claude Kalache

At a Glance

Class Year: 1993

Award Year: 2016

Degree: Bachelor of Environmental Design, Master of Science in Visualization

Profession: Animation


Jean-Claude Kalache, who earned a Bachelor of Environmental Design degree in 1993 and a Master of Science in Visualization degree in 1997, is a director of photography at Pixar Animation Studios, which creates critically acclaimed animated feature and short films. He played a major role in delivering the quality of images seen in numerous Pixar hits, including “Up,” which earned an Oscar in 2010 for Best Animated Feature and earned a Best Picture nomination, “Toy Story 2,” “Monsters University,” and “Cars,” and is working on “Toy Story 4,” scheduled for a 2018 release. “He leads teams of artists and technicians who execute a film’s director’s vision,” said Tim McLaughlin, head of the Department of Visualization, in a nomination letter. “It’s both an artistic and technical task. He acts as a painter by depicting mood and character through the use of color and intensity, and as a technician by directing his crew through the language and tools of computer graphics.” Kalache is relentless in his efforts to improve animation techniques at Pixar, said Sharon Calahan, a fellow director of photography at the studio. “His love of pushing technology’s boundaries elevate what we achieve in a very visual and tangible manner,” she said. “Although his pioneering ideas have enjoyed exceptional longevity, he is never satisfied with plateaus. He’s always looking far into the future to anticipate the next trends in animation.”