A young alien, Stu, is in a spaceship taking an examination in abduction. He must snatch Ernie, a sleeping farmer under the watchful eye of his instructor, Mr. B. However, there is an array of thousands of unlabeled toggle switches he must manipulate to get the human into the ship's tractor beam, and he is having trouble. He mistakenly propels the human into walls and occasionally the ceiling (never waking up from his slumber through it all). After repeated failures to successfully lift the human into the ship (he almost succeeds, but forgets to close the door on the bottom of the ship before turning off the tractor beam), Mr. B takes over, returns the farmer back to his room, and cleans up the mess that Stu had made.
Ashamed over his failure, Stu starts whimpering, trying to hold his tears back from Mr. B. Mr. B generously allows Stu to launch the space ship back home. Full of glee, Stu takes hold of the joystick and starts to lift the ship into the air, but once again, he fails, and the space ship plummets to the Earth, crushing Ernie's house and leaving nothing but a crater with a tall pillar of dirt in the center, atop which Ernie is still sleeping soundly in his bed. The ship quickly lifts off again.
During the end credits there is the sound of an alarm clock, the farmer waking up, then a Wilhelm scream as Ernie (presumably) falls into the crater all around him, and finally, a thud.
- Gary Rydstrom as Stu, Mr, B & Ernie
Production on the film began in mid-2005 and was completed in the summer of 2006. It debuted with Pixar's theatrical release of Ratatouille (June 29, 2007). However, the short received a sneak peek at the 42nd Chicago International Film Festival.
There were no large technological advances used in Lifted, only the use of a new program called Jiggle. This program gives the animators a way to resonate, or jiggle, certain parts of a body. The animator can control how far out to resonate, such as only within a limb, or to stay away from specific parts of the body such as the face.
- Tinny from Tin Toy can be seen under Ernie's bed as he is being abducted.
- Ernie the farmer looks strangely like Alfredo Linguini from Ratatouille. That is because it is an earlier model of Linguini.
- Mr. B and Stu are believed by some to be related to an idea that was abandoned in WALL•E, which is that the humans used to be gelatinous blobs (often called "Gels" in the film's production) that had similar looking bodies.
- The sounds of Stu are by Gary Rydstrom's dog Chester. This is the (So far) second time one of Gary's dogs was used for sound production. the (presumably) first time was in Toy Story where one dog of his named Buster did Scud's noises
- When Ernie falls off the cliff (presumably) after the credits, the scream that is heard is the Wilhelm scream, a scream heard in many movies, mostly from Star Wars.
- When in the spaceship, as Stu is abducting Ernie and fails, the fail sound which the hologram uses was the macOS "Hero" alert sound.
- According to a commentary by Gary Rydstrom, the timing it takes Ernie to fall when the beam was turned off was the same timing it takes Wile E Coyote to fall in a Road-Runner & Wile E Coyote cartoon.