At the end of 1986, Pixar’s future looked bleak, but it was about to improve tremendously. Lasseter had created another short film, this one meant to demonstrate the merits of the Pixar Image Computer. Titled Luxo Jr, the film featured a pair of anthropomorphic Luxo brand lamps. The larger was an exasperated parent watching the smaller lamp play with and eventually pop a toy ball.
Lasseter chose the lamps for two reasons. The first was that they were convenient. His small team of animators all had desks outfitted with the inexpensive lamps, and they were relatively simple to animate. The second was the fact that the form demonstrated the strengths of computer animation. The simple lamps were able to convey complex emotions without having to create the enormously complex human face.
Luxo Jr was incredibly popular. Not only did it impress computer scientists, the film industry was impressed, too. The short was nominated for ‘Best Short Animated Film’ at the 1986 Academy Awards. Pixar now had clout in the film industry and would use it to its advantage.