Pixar Animation's supervising technical director Tom Porter spoke exclusively with Macworld about box office smash animation Monsters Inc at French 3D Expo, Imagina, 2002.

Porter worked on Monsters Inc from the film’s inception in 1997 to its release last week. The film has been nominated for an Academy Award.

Steve Jobs, CEO of both Pixar and Apple, is described as having a "limited but wonderful influence at Pixar". Porter said: "He is respectful of the creative process. Steve has been great from a financial and deal making stand point – but that's it – he stands back."

Monsters and children He said of Monsters Inc: "The film’s core idea was of a big monster and a little child straight off the bat.

"Movie director Peter Docter described his vision of the main monster as big and furry. I asked is it bear, sheep or goat fur? He replied lama or yak."

Producing a furry monster was challenging, Porter said: "Pete wanted hair long enough that it would flow and hang on its own. This needed a lot of secondary animation. We spent a lot of time in pre-production looking at how hair clumps. To get the fur’s appearance right, we had to ask ourselves: 'Did we want the fur to be wet and sticky, or dry and flowing?'

"We also had to deal with problems like how to curl and comb hair."

Hair model The animation team created a number of test animations to refine the look, sheen and stickiness of the hair.

Monsters Inc has returned record UK box office sales for two weeks. It grossed £9.2 million on its opening weekend according to reports from Buena Vista, the film's producers.

Pixar and Disney have a five-film deal. The companies share production costs, and Disney markets and distribute the films. Both companies share the profits. Porter describes the partnership as a "winning combination".

"I wouldn't be the least bit surprised if we renegotiated the deal with Disney. They have the power to get people like Billy Crystal to do voice-overs," he said.