News | SIGGRAPH 2023's Walking Teapot M...

SIGGRAPH 2023's Walking Teapot Museum

A 20-Year Salute to Pixar's Ingenious Icon

The RenderMan Walking Teapot stepped into the limelight at SIGGRAPH 2023 in its own specially-curated museum. This captivating exhibit took attendees on a nostalgic journey, featuring every iteration of the teapot since its inception. What began in 2003 as a quirky mascot to promote Pixar's RenderMan software, over time, became an emblem of computer graphics evolution and Pixar's spirit of innovation.

The RenderMan Walking Teapot Museum at Siggraph's 2023 exhibition


The toys roots trace back to 1973, to the Utah Teapot, one of the pioneering 3D models created by Martin Newell. This model became an iconic reference for research and development, its convex and concave shapes being perfect for showcase new rendering technologies. But while the Utah Teapot stood still, RenderMan's visionaries reimagined it with legs, transforming a stationary object into a mobile marvel, both technically and creatively.


Dylan Sisson, the designer behind the Walking Teapot for two decades, reflected, "Nobody knew what to make of the original walking teapot, but it became a mini-sensation. Really didn’t expect that." Over the years, the Walking Teapot has had many versions, from the playful 'RGBA Series' to the dynamic 'Fire' and 'Water' designs celebrating Pixar’s Elemental from 2023. Each series is always inspired by Pixar's feature films or RenderMan's technological leaps.


Pixar artist and Walking Teapot creator, Dylan Sisson, at the Siggraph exhibition...20 years in the making!


The RenderMan Walking Teapot Museum was more than a mere exhibition. With a two-decade-long legacy in its stride, it was a tribute to the vibrant tapestry of computer animation and a nod to RenderMan's role in the industry, and the team who has contributed to Pixar’s core rendering technology.

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