First Digital 3D Rendering from Ed Catmull

This an invaluable piece of computer graphics history: The first 3D rendered film comprised of Ed Catmull’s left hand created by Catmull and Fred Parke (with audio by Robert Ingebretsen) when they were grad students at the University of Utah in 1972. Eventually this film demo found its way into Futureworld in 1976 (how appropriate). In fact, Ingebretsen’s son, Robby, discovered that his father had a copy of the 8mm reel. After hearing Catmull speak a couple of years ago at his alma mater, Robby and his uncle were invited to take a tour of Pixar, which resulted in Catmull giving his permission for the film to be digitized. Robby made it available earlier in the year on his website, nerd plus art.

It’s a treasure trove of pioneering computer graphics and footage revealing how Catmull mapped the polygon vertices that make up the three-dimensional model, including texture mapping, 3D anti-aliasing, and z-buffering. Enjoy!

Posted on by Bill Desowitz in Animation, Clips, Education, Tech, VFX

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