Catmull in 2010
Edwin Earl Catmull
March 31, 1945
|Alma mater||University of Utah (Ph.D. Computer Science; B.S. Physics and Computer Science)|
|Spouse(s)||Susan Anderson Catmull|
|Thesis||A Subdivision Algorithm for Computer Display of Curved Surfaces (1974)|
|Doctoral advisor||Robert E. Stephenson|
Edwin Earl Catmull (born March 31, 1945) is an American retired computer scientist and former president of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios.He has been honored for his contributions to 3D computer graphics.
Edwin Catmull was born on March 31, 1945, in Parkersburg, West Virginia.His family later moved to Salt Lake City, Utah, where his father first served as principal of Granite High School and then of Taylorsville High School.
Early in life, Catmull found inspiration in Disney movies, including Peter Pan and Pinocchio , and dreamed[ vague ] of becoming a feature film animator. He also made animation using flip-books. Catmull graduated in 1969, with a B.S. in physics and computer science from the University of Utah. Initially interested in designing programming languages, Catmull encountered Ivan Sutherland, who had designed the computer drawing program Sketchpad, and changed[ vague ]his interest to digital imaging. As a student of Sutherland, he was part of the university's ARPA program, sharing classes with James H. Clark, John Warnock and Alan Kay.
From that point, his main goal and ambition were to make digitally realistic films. [ citation needed ], which had been described, 8 months before, by Wolfgang Straßer in his PhD thesis.During his time at the university, he made two new fundamental computer-graphics discoveries: texture mapping and bicubic patches; and invented algorithms for spatial anti-aliasing and refining subdivision surfaces. He also independently discovered Z-buffering,
In 1972, Catmull made his earliest contribution to the film industry: an animated version of his left hand which was eventually picked up by a Hollywood producer and incorporated in the 1976 movie Futureworld ,the first film to use 3D computer graphics and a science-fiction sequel to the 1973 film Westworld , which was the first to use a pixelated image generated by a computer. The one-minute sequence was created with Fred Parke at the University of Utah. Titled A Computer Animated Hand , the short film was selected for preservation in the National Film Registry of the Library of Congress in December 2011.
In 1974, Catmull earned his doctorate in computer science,was hired by a company called Applicon, and by November the same year had been contacted by the founder of the New York Institute of Technology, Alexander Schure, who offered him the position as the director of the new Computer Graphics Lab at NYIT. In that position in 1977 he invented Tween, software for 2D animation that automatically produced frames of motion in between two frames.
However, Catmull's team lacked the ability to tell a story effectively via film, harming the effort to produce a motion picture via a computer.Catmull and his partner Alvy Ray Smith attempted to reach out to studios to alleviate this issue, but were generally unsuccessful until they attracted the attention of George Lucas at Lucasfilm.
Lucas approached Catmull in 1979 and asked him to lead a group to bring computer graphics, video editing, and digital audio into the entertainment field. Lucas had already made a deal with a computer company called Triple-I, and asked them to create a digital model of an X-wing fighter from Star Wars , which they did. In 1979 Catmull became the Vice President at Industrial Light & Magic computer graphics division at Lucasfilm.
In 1986, Steve Jobs bought Lucasfilm's digital division and founded Pixar, where Catmull would work.Pixar would be acquired by Disney in 2006.
In June 2007, Catmull and long-time Pixar digital animator and director John Lasseter were given control of Disneytoon Studios, a division of Disney Animation housed in a separate facility in Glendale. As president and chief creative officer, respectively, they have supervised three separate studios for Disney, each with its own production pipeline: Pixar, Disney Animation, and Disneytoon. While Disney Animation and Disneytoon are located in the Los Angeles area, Pixar is located over 350 miles (563 kilometers) northwest in the San Francisco Bay Area, where Catmull and Lasseter both live. Accordingly, they appointed a general manager for each studio to handle day-to-day affairs on their behalf, then began regularly commuting each week to both Pixar and Disney Animation and spending at least two days per week (usually Tuesdays and Wednesdays) at Disney Animation.While at Pixar Catmull was implicated in the High-Tech Employee Antitrust scandal, where Bay Area technology companies agreed, among other things, not to cold-call recruit from one another. Catmull defended his actions in a deposition, saying "While I have responsibility for the payroll, I have responsibility for the long term also." Disney and its subsidiaries, including Pixar, ultimately paid $100m in compensation.
In November 2014, the general managers of Disney Animation and Pixar were both promoted to president, but both continued to report to Catmull, who retained the title of president of Walt Disney and Pixar.On October 23, 2018, Catmull announced his plans to retire from Pixar and Disney Animation, staying on as an adviser through July 2019.
In 2006, Catmull lived in Marin County, California, with his wife Susan and their three children.
In 1993, Catmull received his first Academy Scientific and Technical Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences "for the development of PhotoRealistic RenderMan software which produces images used in motion pictures from 3D computer descriptions of shape and appearance". He shared this award with Tom Porter. In 1995, he was inducted as a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery. Again in 1996, he received an Academy Scientific and Technical Award "for pioneering inventions in Digital Image Compositing".In 2001, he received an Oscar "for significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar's RenderMan". In 2006, he was awarded the IEEE John von Neumann Medal for pioneering contributions to the field of computer graphics in modeling, animation and rendering. At the 81st Academy Awards (2008, presented in February 2009), Catmull was awarded the Gordon E. Sawyer Award, which honors "an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry".
In 2013, the Computer History Museum named him a Museum Fellow "for his pioneering work in computer graphics, animation and filmmaking".
His book Creativity, Inc. was shortlisted for the Financial Times and Goldman Sachs Business Book of the Year Award (2014),and was a selection for Mark Zuckerberg book club in March 2015.
Catmull shared the 2019 Turing Award with Pat Hanrahan for their pioneering work on computer-generated imagery.
Pixar Animation Studios is an American computer animation studio based in Emeryville, California, a subsidiary of Walt Disney Studios. Pixar began in 1979 as part of the Lucasfilm computer division, known as the Graphics Group, before its spin-off as a corporation on February 3, 1986, with funding from Apple co-founder Steve Jobs, who became its majority shareholder. Disney purchased Pixar in 2006 at a valuation of $7.4 billion by converting each share of Pixar stock to 2.3 shares of Disney stock, a transaction that resulted in Jobs becoming Disney's largest single shareholder at the time. Pixar is best known for its feature films technologically powered by RenderMan, the company's own implementation of the industry-standard RenderMan Interface Specification image-rendering application programming interface. Luxo Jr., a character from the studio's 1986 short film of the same name, is the studio's mascot.
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Luxo Jr. is a 1986 American computer-animated short film produced and released by Pixar in 1986. Written and directed by John Lasseter, this two-minute short film revolves around one larger and one smaller desk lamp. The larger lamp, named Luxo Sr., looks on while the smaller, "younger" Luxo Jr. plays exuberantly with a ball that it accidentally deflates. Luxo Jr. was Pixar's first animation after Ed Catmull and John Lasseter left Industrial Light & Magic's computer division of Cinetron Computer Systems. It is the source of Luxo Jr., the hopping desk lamp included in Pixar's corporate logo.
John Alan Lasseter is an American animator, film director, screenwriter, producer, voice actor and former chief creative officer of Walt Disney Animation Studios, Pixar and Disneytoon Studios. He was also the Principal Creative Advisor for Walt Disney Imagineering.
Walt Disney Animation Studios (WDAS), sometimes shortened to Disney Animation, is an American animation studio that creates animated features and short films for The Walt Disney Company. Founded on October 16, 1923 by brothers Walt Disney and Roy O. Disney, it is one of the oldest-running animation studios in the world and currently acts as a division of Walt Disney Studios, being headquartered at the Roy E. Disney Animation Building at the Walt Disney Studios lot in Burbank, California. Since its foundation, the studio has produced 58 feature films, from Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs (1937) to Frozen II (2019), and hundreds of short films.
The Computer Animation Production System (CAPS) was a digital ink and paint system used in animated feature films, the first at a major studio, designed to replace the expensive process of transferring animated drawings to cels using India ink or xerographic technology, and painting the reverse sides of the cels with gouache paint. Using CAPS, enclosed areas and lines could be easily colored in the digital computer environment using an unlimited palette. Transparent shading, blended colors, and other sophisticated techniques could be extensively used that were not previously available.
Disneytoon Studios (DTS), originally Disney MovieToons and was also Disney Video Premieres, was an American animation studio which created direct-to-video and occasional theatrical animated feature films. The studio was a division of Walt Disney Animation Studios, with both being part of The Walt Disney Studios, itself a division of The Walt Disney Company. The studio produced 47 feature films, beginning with DuckTales the Movie: Treasure of the Lost Lamp in 1990. Its final feature film was Tinker Bell and the Legend of the NeverBeast in 2015.
The Adventures of André & Wally B. is a 1984 American animated short film produced by The Graphics Group, then a division of Lucasfilm which was later renamed Pixar before being spun off as a separate company in 1986.
Loren C. Carpenter is a computer graphics researcher and developer. He is co-founder and chief scientist of Pixar Animation Studios. He is the co-inventor of the Reyes rendering algorithm and is one of the authors of the PhotoRealistic RenderMan software which implements Reyes and renders all of Pixar's movies. Following Disney's acquisition of Pixar, Carpenter became a Senior Research Scientist at Disney Research. He retired in early 2014.
Alvy Ray Smith III is an American computer scientist who co-founded Lucasfilm's Computer Division, and Pixar, participating in the 1980s and 1990s expansion of computer animation into feature film.
Circle 7 Animation was a short lived division of Walt Disney Feature Animation specializing in computer-generated imagery (CGI) animation and was originally intended to create sequels to the Disney owned Pixar properties, leading rivals and animators to derisively nickname the division "Pixaren't". The studio did not release any films during its existence, nor were any of its scripts used by Pixar.
Patrick M. Hanrahan is an American computer graphics researcher, the Canon USA Professor of Computer Science and Electrical Engineering in the Computer Graphics Laboratory at Stanford University. His research focuses on rendering algorithms, graphics processing units, as well as scientific illustration and visualization. He has received numerous awards, including the 2019 Turing Award.
The Pixar Story, directed by Leslie Iwerks, is a documentary of the history of Pixar Animation Studios. An early version of the film premiered at the Sonoma Film Festival in 2007, and it had a limited theatrical run later that year before it was picked up by the Starz cable network in the United States.
The history of computer animation began as early as the 1940s and 1950s, when people began to experiment with computer graphics - most notably by John Whitney. It was only by the early 1960s when digital computers had become widely established, that new avenues for innovative computer graphics blossomed. Initially, uses were mainly for scientific, engineering and other research purposes, but artistic experimentation began to make its appearance by the mid-1960s. By the mid-1970s, many such efforts were beginning to enter into public media. Much computer graphics at this time involved 2-dimensional imagery, though increasingly as computer power improved, efforts to achieve 3-dimensional realism became the emphasis. By the late 1980s, photo-realistic 3D was beginning to appear in film movies, and by mid-1990s had developed to the point where 3D animation could be used for entire feature film production.
A Computer Animated Hand is the title of a 1972 American computer-animated short film produced by Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke. Produced during Catmull's tenure at the University of Utah, the short was created for a graduate course project. After creating a model of his left hand, 350 triangles and polygons were drawn in ink on its surface. The model was digitized from the data and laboriously animated in a three-dimensional animation program that Catmull wrote.
David DiFrancesco,, is a photoscientist, inventor, cinematographer, and photographer. He is a founding member of three organizations which pioneered computer graphics for digital special effects and film with Edwin Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith, including; New York Institute of Technology Computer Graphics Lab, Lucasfilm Computer Division, and Pixar, financed by Steve Jobs.
The School of Computing is a school within the College of Engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah.
Creativity, Inc.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration is a 2014 book, written by Amy Wallace and Edwin Catmull, about managing creativity.
BYU Center for Animation is an American animation school at Brigham Young University (BYU). The program is a leading university animation program in the United States and has collected 11 student Emmys.
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