Wednesday, October 12, 2011

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics (Pixar, 1972)

40 Year Old 3D Computer Graphics (Pixar, 1972) from Robby Ingebretsen on Vimeo.

The video above was the world's first 3D rendered movie, an animated version of Ed Catmull's hand. It was created in 1972 by Ed Catmull (founder of Pixar) and his colleagues. At the time it was created, it was ground breaking technology. Yet today we take it for granted as now it would be really easily to re-create this and in a much faster time too. But you have to understand how much time and effort would have gone into creating this. Catmull was pushing the boundaries of computer technology at the time, not knowing whether it would be accepted into society like 2D animation had been. As you watch this video you see how each individual polygon had to be drawn onto the mold of the hand, everything was so precise. You would have had to study the hand in detail to know which parts would move and which parts would stay in place.

3D animation has come so far now, yet still to this day people are finding solutions to new problems. It's said that with each new Pixar movie, the technical directors master a new technique. With 'A Bugs Life' the main problem that occurred here was the crowd scenes. John Lasseter wanted hundreds of ants in one scene, at the time the people working on the film said it was impossible to do this, however being persistent, Lasseter didn't give up and the end result was them finding a solution to that problem. No matter how far technology will advance, you will always have to look back and see where it all began. Until then you won't know how much effort and progression has taken place for it to be at the stage it is in, in our modern day.

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