Swag Attack: RenderMan Walking Teapots
A brief history and overview of the infamous little teapots from Pixar.
Scouring the Pixar booth in search of posters and teapots, I ran into Dylan Sisson, the RenderMan Walking Teapot designer - teapot in hand, I told him that I was covering swag on the floor for the student reporters. He jokingly bragged that Pixar had the best swag and I quickly agreed. He seemed a little surprised and a little shocked, as I explained what a cult phenomenon the teapots were and he seemed to have no idea. In fact, he informed me that the teapots were his idea and that they consider not doing them each year. If you are reading this right now and don’t know what I am talking about, I hope it is your first time to SIGGRAPH and I hope you made it to the Pixar booth and got a teapot; they are a great SIGGRAPH collectible! And this year’s pot does not disappoint as it sports a flashy flame paint job. But back on focus: we might not have had ANY walking teapots this year! In Boston, none-the-less! This could have been disastrous. Luckily it was all avoided and everyone is happy with their little walking teapots.
Dylan was very courteous and took time to tell me a little about the story of how the RenderMan Walking Tea Pot came to be. It all started when Pixar wanted a brochure on RenderMan for SIGGRAPH 2003. While working on this, Dylan contacted toy companies and started getting quotes. He eventually had a prototype made and pitched the idea. The rest is history; a somewhat short history. SIGGRAPH 2006 saw the fourth generation of walking tea pots. Each generation of tea pots features a unique finish and tin container and includes a numbered certificate of authenticity. Starting with generation two and continuing through this year, attendees that made it to the RenderMan user group meeting received a teapot with a different (and somewhat more flashy) finish.
Generation 1 (2003)
Pixar Booth – Silver Teapots
Generation 2 (2004)
Pixar Booth – Red, Green, & Blue Teapots
User Group – White
Generation 3 (2005)
Pixar Booth – Gold
User Group – Glow-in-the-dark
Generation 4 (2006)
Pixar Booth – Flames
User Group – Thermal (Responds to body heat)