Pixar computer-graphics pioneers win tech’s Turing Award

Pixar computer-graphics pioneers have won tech’s Turing award. The technology that animated groundbreaking movies like Pixar’s Toy Story and enabled a variety of special effects is the focus of this year’s Turing Award, the technology industry’s version of the Nobel Prize. Patrick Hanrahan and Edwin Catmull won the prize for their contributions to 3D computer graphics used in movies and video games.

Pixar Turing Award. Image: Toy Story movie poster

Tali Arbel for Associated Press:

Edwin Catmull was hired by legendary filmmaker George Lucas to head the computer-technology division that became Pixar when Apple founder Steve Jobs bought it. Patrick Hanrahan was one of Catmull’s early hires at Pixar, now part of Disney.

Together, the two worked on techniques that made graphics in movies like Toy Story look more lifelike, even though Hanrahan left Pixar years before the studio released that film. Catmull is the former president of Pixar and worked there for more than three decades.

Hanrahan’s “RenderMan” software helped produce Toy Story in 1995 and then a string of Pixar films like Up, Monsters Inc., Finding Nemo and Wall-E. It was also the backbone of CGI special effects in live-action movies such as Titanic and the Lord of the Rings films.

The Association for Computing Machinery, which awards the prize, says filmmakers used RenderMan software in nearly all of the last 47 movies nominated for a visual effects Academy Award.

MacDailyNews Take: Well-deserved! Congratulations to Hanrahan and Catmull. To infinity and beyond!
Steve Jobs

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