The Graphics Group is Renamed Pixar Studios after Steve Jobs Purchases it from George Lucas
Pixar was founded as the Graphics Group, one third of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm that was launched in 1979 with the hiring of Dr. Ed Catmull from the New York Institute of Technology (NYIT), where he was in charge of the Computer Graphics Lab (CGL). At NYIT, the researchers pioneered many of the CG techniques that are now taken for granted and worked on an experimental film called The Works. When the group moved to Lucasfilm, the team worked on creating the precursor to RenderMan, called Motion Doctor, which allowed traditional cel animators to use computer animation with minimal training.
The team began working on film sequences produced by Lucasfilm or worked collectively with Industrial Light and Magic on special effects. After years of research, and key milestones in films such as the Genesis Effect in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan and the Stained Glass Knight in Young Sherlock Holmes, the group, who counted about 45 individuals back then, was purchased in 1986 by Steve Jobs shortly after he left Apple Computer. Jobs paid $5 million to George Lucas and put $5 million as capital into the company. A factor contributing to Lucas' sale was an increase in cash flow difficulties following his 1983 divorce, which coincided with the sudden dropoff in revenues from Star Wars licenses following the release of Return of the Jedi and the disastrous box-office performance of Howard the Duck. The newly independent company was headed by Dr. Edwin Catmull, President, and Dr. Alvy Ray Smith, Executive Vice President and Director. Jobs served as Chairman and Chief Executive Officer of Pixar.
Pixar, a company that revolutionized the feature film industry, had an obscure origin. A group of researchers from the most elite research institutions in the US eventually gathered at a former diploma mill and later defected to Lucasfilm. Their division was purchased by Steve Jobs and became Pixar, which created Toy Story and is now owned by Disney.