08/29/2014

From the Lab to the Silver Screen: The Birth of CGI

12:27 minutes

Screenshot from a demo by Ivan Sutherland, demonstrating the software he developed called Sketchpad.
Screenshot from a demo by Ivan Sutherland, demonstrating the software he developed called Sketchpad.

Today, computer animated films are a multi-billion dollar business, and characters like Buzz Lightyear, Shrek, and Nemo are household names. But veteran animator Tom Sito says that the men and women who developed CGI weren’t Hollywood types—they were scientists and engineers trying to solve the problems of digital simulation.

Segment Guests

Tom Sito

Tom Sito is an animator, author of Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation (MIT Press, 2013), and professor of cinematic practice at the USC George Lucas School of Cinematic Arts in Los Angeles, California.

Meet the Producer

About Annie Minoff

Annie Minoff is Science Friday’s SciArts producer. She’s visited Olympic ski jumps and a nuclear reactor, all in the name of science.

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