Pixar in a Box, a free online resource that examines the academic concepts behind Pixar Animation Studios' creative process, goes live today on the Khan Academy website. There are six modules with video lessons, interactive exercises and hands-on activities. This may be aimed at middle and high schoolers, but there's an appeal to it for any curious fan of Pixar's movies.

Examiner.com reports that the project was unveiled yesterday at an event on the Pixar campus in Emeryville, CA. We all know and love Pixar, the film giant behind beloved classics like the Toy Story series and Monsters, Inc., and Khan Academy, a non-profit education company, is well known in their own right. Sal Khan, founder of the academy, said that he hopes the collaboration will encourage people to be interested in academic concepts by seeing how they're used at Pixar.

Easily accessed on the Khan Academy website, people can learn how combinatorics are used to create crowds, like the group of robots in Wall-E, or how parabolas are used to model environments, like a forest or desert. The modules also cover the way weighted averages are used to create characters, and how linear and cubic interpolation animate characters. Pixar in a Box also explains how trigonometry is used to create the detailed animated worlds we've come to expect, and how simultaneous equations are used to paint Pixar's images.

Some "learning is fun" projects end up being heavy handed, but Pixar in a Box is actually fun, and pretty fascinating to explore.