Well, what was my surprise? A trip to Pixar! A friend of ours works at Pixar and was willing to give us a tour.
We got to see the process in action and a Monster's University exhibit. When making the movies, they start out with making clay models off characters. They design the characters. Then they make a storyline by creating comics. Along with that story line, producers, directors, etc. can use a software (I think it is called RenderMan which is a commercial product developed by them) to creating animations. Our tour host happens to be one of the many developers of the software. Finally they add effects like sunlight.
At the tour we saw some of the clay models. We saw some of the storyboards. We saw the drawings and how they add effects. We also saw how the characters are animated. It was a pretty neat experience.
After the tour we celebrated and ate the cake. I had really fun during my tenth birthday.
See you later!