CGI Historical Timeline






Chinese Abacus

Napier's bones

Gutenberg press

Principia Mathematica - Isaac Newton


















Jacquard loom

Luddites riot

Photography (Niepce)

Babbage Analytical Engine designed

FAX (Alexander Bain)

Morse's telegraph installed between Philadelphia and Washington

Maxwell electromagnetic wave theory becomes basis for radio wave propagation

Edison invents phonograph

Nipkow (Germany) devises scanner for scanning and transmitting images

CRT (Cathode Ray Tube)

Edison patents motion picture camera

Edison and Dickson design Kinetoscope - (motion pictures from successive photos on a cylinder)

Berliner invents gramophone

Oberlin Smith publishes basics of magnetic recording

Hollerith introduces an automated punch-card driven tabulation device for the Census Bureau

Dickson uses Edison's kinetograph to record motion pictures

Poulsen invents the Telegraphone, the first magnetic recording device











Fleming electron tube

Einstein's Theory of Relativity

de Forest develops Audion vacuum tube amplifier

Zworykin develops Iconoscope at Westinghouse

First television (J.L. Baird)

1st teleconference - between Washington and New York

Philo Farnsworth invents fully electronic TV (First all electronic TV is made by RCA in 1932)

Motion picture film standardized at 24 fps

Hollerith introduces the 80-column "punch card"

BBC begins broadcasting














Philo Farnsworth receives patents for transmitting images by electronic means

1st stereo recordings

the Magnetophone is 1st true magnetic tape recorder

Valensi proposes color TV

Bill Hewlett and Dave Packard design the Audio Oscillator

First U.S. regular TV broadcast

1st TV commercial (for Bulova watches)

Whirlwind computer project starts at MIT

ENIAC computer built at University of Pennsylvania

cable TV is installed

Shockley, Bardeen and Brattain of Bell Labs invent transistors ("transfer resistance")

John Whitney enters first International Experimental Film Competition in Belgium

Williams tube (CRT storage tube); Whirlwind computer built; core memory developed by Wang of Harvard


Cybernetics and Society - Norbert Weiner (MIT)

Ben Laposky uses oscilloscope to display waveforms which were photographed as artwork

Graphics display on vectorscope on Whirlwind computer in first public demonstration

Mr. Potato Head invented; later starred in "Toy Story"

Air Force Project Blue Book organized to categorize UFO sightings

NTSC broadcast code

FCC authorizes color TV broadcast

FORTRAN - John Backus


Disneyland opens

SAGE system at Lincoln Lab uses first light pen (Bert Sutherland)


Lawrence Livermore National Labs connects graphics display to IBM 704; use film recorder for color images

Ray Dolby, Charles Ginsberg and Charles Anderson of Ampex develop the first videotape recorder

Alex Poniatoff (Ampex) introduces the VR1000 videotape recorder (2"tape) - the first practical broadcast quality VTR


1st image-processed photo at National Bureau of Standards

Max Mathews demonstrates first computer (IBM 704) synthesis of music (Music I) at Bell Labs

Digital Equipment Corporation founded


Numerical controlled digital drafting machines, APT II (Automated Programming Tools)- MIT

CalComp 565 drum plotter

Saul Bass creates titles for Hitchcock's Vertigo

Integrated circuit (IC, or Chip) invented by Jack St. Clair Kilby of Texas Instruments and Robert Noyce of Fairchild Electronics

John Whitney Sr. uses analog computer to make art


First film recorder - General Dynamics Stromberg Carlson 4020 (uses Charactron tube)

TX-2 computer at MIT uses graphics console

Béla Julesz creates "random-dot stereogram"

GM begins DAC program


William Fetter of Boeing coins the term "computer graphics" for his human factors cockpit drawings

John Whitney Sr. founds Motion Graphics, Inc.

LISP developed by John McCarthy

DEC PDP-1 introduced

Spacewars, 1st video game, developed by Steve Russell at MIT for the PDP-1

Catalogue (John Whitney)


Information International Inc. (Triple I) founded

Itek begins Electronic Drafting Machine project

Mr. Computer Image ABC produced on Scanimate by Lee Harrison


1st computer art competition, sponsored by Computers and Automation

Sketchpad developed beginning in 1961 by Ivan Sutherland at MIT is unveiled (Ref: Sutherland, Ivan E. Sketchpad: A Man-Machine Graphical Communication System. Proceedings of the AFIPS Spring Joint Computer Conference Washington, D.C.: 1963, p. 329-346.)

Mouse invented by Doug Englebart of SRI

Coons' patches

1st (?) computer generated film by Edward Zajac (Bell Labs)

BEFLIX developed at Bell Labs by Ken Knowlton

Charles Csuri makes his first computer generated artwork

DAC-1, first commercial CAD system, developed in 1959 by IBM for General Motors is shown at JCC

Lockheed Georgia starts graphics activity (Chase Chasen)

Michael Noll (Bell Labs) starts his Gaussian Quadratic series of artwork

Roberts hidden line algorithm (MIT)

The Society for Information Display established

Fetter of Boeing creates the "First Man" digital human for cockpit studies


Project MAC (MIT)

IBM 2250 console ($125,000) introduced with IBM 360 computer

Poem Field by Stan Vanderbeek and Ken Knowlton

Itek Digigraphic Program (later Control Data graphics system)

The BASIC programming language developed by Kurtz and Kemeny

Ruth Weiss introduces drawing software that performs hidden line elimination (Ref: Weiss, Ruth E. BE VISION, a Package of IBM 7090 FORTRAN Programs to Drive Views of Combinations of Plane and Quadric Surfaces. Journal of the ACM 13(4) April 1966, p. 194-204. )

RAND tablet input device (commercially known as Grafacon)

compact cassette tape (Phillips)

New York World's Fair

Electronic character generator


1st computer art exhibition, at Technische Hochschule in Stuttgart

1st U.S. computer art exhibition, at Howard Wise Gallery in New York

Dolby Laboratories founded by Ray Dolby, inventor of the first videotape recorder (1956)

Adage founded

Roberts introduces homogeneous coordinates (Ref: Roberts, Lawrence G. 1965. Homogenous Matrix Representation and Manipulation of N-Dimensional Constructs, MS-1505. MIT Lincoln Laboratory, Lexington, Mass. )

Utah computer science department founded

Bresenham Algorithm for plotting lines (Ref: Bresenham, J. E. Algorithm for Computer Control of a Digital Plotter. IBM Systems Journal 4(1) 1965, p. 25-30.)

Tektronix Direct View Storage Tube (DVST)

CADAM developed at Lockheed; CADD developed at McDonnell Douglas

Project DEMAND consortium (IBM, Lockheed, McDonnell Douglas, Rockwell, TRW, Rolls Royce)

BBN Teleputer uses Tektronix CRT


Odyssey, home video game developed by Ralph Baer of Sanders Assoc., is 1st consumer CG product

Group 1 FAX machines (using CCITT compression)

Lincoln Wand developed

Plasma Panel introduced (first developed at Illinois in 1964 as part of the PLATO project)

Studies in Perception I by Ken Knowlton and Leon Harmon (Bell Labs)

MAGI founded by Phil Mittleman

Joint Defense Department / Industry symposium on CAD/NC held in Oklahoma City

IBM awards Artist-in-Residence to John Whitney, Sr.

Loutrel hidden line algorithm


Appel hidden line algorithm (Ref: Appel, Arthur. The Notion of Quantitative Invisibility and the Machine Rendering of Solids. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1967, p. 387-393.)

Steven Coons publishes his surface patch "little red book" (Ref: Coons, Steven A. 1967. Surfaces for Computer-aided Design of Space Forms , Project MAC Report MAC-TR-41. Massachusetts Institute of Technology, Cambridge, Mass.)

Sine Curve Man and Hummingbird created by Chuck Csuri

Adage real time 3D line drawing system

Lee Harrison's ANIMAC graphic device

GE introduces first full color real time interactive flight simulator for NASA - Rod Rougelet

Experiments in Art and Technology (E.A.T.) started in New York by artist Robert Rauschenberg and Bell Labs engineer Billy Klüver

MIT's Center for Advanced Visual Studies founded by Gyorgy Kepes

Instant replay and Slo-Mo introduced using Ampex HS-100 disc recorder

Cornell's program started in Architecture by Don Greenberg

1/2 inch open reel video tape recorder


DEC 338 intelligent graphics terminal

Tektronix 4010

Intel founded

University of Utah asks Dave Evans to form a CG department in computer science

Warnock algorithm

Watkins algorithm

Edsger Dijkstra writes article Go To Statement Considered Harmful which signals beginning of structured programming

Cybernetic Serendipity: The Computer and the Arts exhibition at London Institute of Contemporary Arts

Csuri's Hummingbird purchased by Museum of Modern Art for permanent collection

Permutations - John Whitney, Sr.

Sutherland Head Mounted Display (Sword of Damocles), developed in 1966, shown (AFIPS Conference) (Ref: Sutherland, Ivan E. A Head-Mounted Three-Dimensional Display. Proceedings of the AFIPS Fall Joint Computer Conference Washington, D.C.: Thompson Books, 1968, p. 757-764. )

Evans & Sutherland Calma, Computek, Houston Instrument, Imlac founded

ARDS terminal, Computek 400 terminal

LDS-1 ($250,000) from E&S introduces line clipping


Computer Image Corporation founded

UNIX developed by Thompson and Ritchie at Bell Labs (in PDP-7 assembly code)

SCANIMATE commercialized - Lee Harrison

Genesys animation system - Ron Baecker

GRAIL  (Graphics Input Language) developed at Rand

Computer Space arcade game built by Nolan Bushnell

Xerox PARC founded

Lee Harrison's CAESAR animation system

Bell Labs builds first framebuffer (3 bits)

Sony U-Matic 3/4" video cassette

Intel introduces the 1 KB RAM chip

1st use of CGI for commercials - MAGI for IBM

Graphical User Interface (GUI) developed by Xerox (Alan Kay)

SIGGRAPH formed (began as special interest committee in 1967 by Sam Matsa and Andy vanDam)

ComputerVision, Applicon, Vector General founded

ARPANET is born


Sonic Pen 3-D input device

ISSCO (Integrated Software Systems Corporation ) founded (marketed DISSPLA software) by Peter Preuss

Watkins algorithm for visible surfaces

Lillian Schwartz produces "Pixellation" at Bell Labs

Pascal programming language developed by Wirth

Imlac PDS-1 programmable graphics computer marketed

John Staudhammer starts NCSU Graphics Lab at NC State

Pierre Bezier from Renault develops Bezier freeform curve representation


Gouraud shading (Ref: Gouraud, Henri. Continuous Shading of Curved Surfaces. IEEE Transactions on Computers C-20(6), June 1971, p. 623-29. )

Ramtek founded

GINO (graphics input output specification) - Cambridge University

Intel 4004 4-bit processor

Interactive Graphics for Computer-Aided Design (Prince) published

MCS (Manufacturing and Consulting Services) founded by Patrick Hanratty, considered the "father" of mechanical CAD/CAM - introduces ADAM CAD software, which is the heart of many modern software systems

Robert Abel and Associates founded

Floppy disk (8") - IBM


MAGI Synthevision started (Bo Gehring)

CGRG founded at Ohio State

NASA IPAD (Integrated Program for Aerospace Vehicle Design) initiative started

Graphics Standards Planning Committee organized by ACM-SIGGRAPH

The @ symbol selected for email addresses by BBN

C language developed by Ritchie

Emmy awarded to Lee Harrison for SCANIMATE

Alto computer introduced by Xerox PARC (Alan Kay)

Intel 8008 8-bit processor

Megatek, Summagraphics, Computervision, Applicon founded

Utah hand (Catmull) and face (Parke) animations produced (Ref: Catmull, Edwin. A System for Computer Generated Movies. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference August 1972, p. 422-431. and Parke, Frederic I. Computer Generated Animation of Faces. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1972, p. 451-457.)

Computer Graphics and Image Processing journal begins publication

8-bit frame buffer developed by Dick Shoup at Xerox PARC

Sandin Image Processor - Dan Sandin, Univ. Illinois-Chicago Circle

Atari formed (Nolan Bushnell)

Newell, Newell and Sancha visible surface algorithm (Ref: Newell, M. E., R. G. Newell and T. L. Sancha. A Solution to the Hidden Surface Problem. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1972, p. 443-450)

video game Pong developed for Atari

Graphics Symbiosis System (GRASS) developed at Ohio State by Tom DeFanti


E&S begins marketing first commercial frame buffer

Ethernet - Bob Metcalf (Harvard)

Quantel founded

Westworld - uses 2D graphics

Circle Graphics Habitat founded at Univ. Illinois Chicago (Tom DeFanti & Dan Sandin)

Moore's Law (the number of transistors on a microchip will double every year and a half) by Intel’s chairman, Mr. Gordon Moore

Nolan Bushnell's video game Computer Space appears in movie Soylent Green

first SIGGRAPH conference (Boulder)

3/4 inch portapack replaces 16mm film for news gathering

Richard Shoup develops PARC raster display

Rich Riesenfeld (Syracuse) introduces b-splines for geometric design (Ref: R.F. Riesenfeld. Applicatoins of B-Spline Approximation to Geometric Problems of Computer Aided Design. PhD Dissertation, Syracuse University , 1973. )

Principles of Interactive Computer Graphics (Newman and Sproull) first comprehensive graphics textbook is published


Motion Pictures Product Group formed at III by John Whitney, Jr. and Gary Demos

Alex Schure opens CGL at NYIT, with Ed Catmull as Director

Barnhill and Riesenfeld introduce the name "Computer-Aided Geometric Design" (CAGD)

SuperPaint developed by Dick Shoup and Alvy Ray Smith

TCP protocol (Vint Cerf, Bob Kahn)

DEC VT52 incorporated the first addressable cursor in a graphics display terminal

Intel (Zilog) 8080

z-buffer developed by Ed Catmull (University of Utah) (Ref: E. Catmull. A Subdivision Algorithm for Computer Display of Curved Surfaces, Ph.D. Thesis, Report UTEC-CSc-74-133, Computer Science Department, University of Utah, Salt Lake City, UT, 1974)

Futureworld (sequel to Westworld) uses 3D CGI (III)

Hunger produced by Peter Foldes at National Research Council of Canada; wins Cannes Film Festival Prix de Jury award for animation


Phong shading - Bui-Toung Phong (University of Utah) (Ref: Bui-Tuong, Phong. Illumination for Computer Generated Pictures. Communications of the ACM 18(6) June 1975, p. 311-317.)

Sony Betamax recorder

USAF ICAM (Integrated Computer Aided Manufacturing) initiative started

Cray 1 introduced

Altair 8800 computer

fractals - Benoit Mandelbrot (IBM)

Winged edge polyhedra representation (Bruce Baumgart)

Catmull curved surface rendering algorithm (Ref: Catmull, Edwin. Computer Display of Curved Surfaces. Proceedings of the IEEE Conference on Computer Graphics, Pattern Recognition and Data Structures (IEEE Cat. No. 75CH0981-1C) 1975, p. 11-17. )

Bill Gates starts Microsoft

Quantel (QUANtized TELevision) introduces the DFS3000 Digital Framestore

Martin Newell (Utah) develops CGI teapot (physical teapot now in the Computer Museum in Boston)

JPL Graphics Lab developed (Bob Holzman)

Arabesque completed (John Whitney)

Anima animation system developed at CGRG at Ohio State (Csuri)


MITs Visible Language Workshop founded by Muriel Cooper

Ed Catmull develops "tweening" software (NYIT)

Jim Clark's Hierarchical model for visible surface detection [Ref: J. H. Clark. Hierarchical geometric models for visible surface algorithms. Communications of the ACM, 19(10):547-- 554, 1976.)

N. Burtnyk , M. Wein, Interactive skeleton techniques for enhancing motion dynamics in key frame animation, CACM, V19, #10, Oct 1976, 564-569

Dolby sound

Jim Blinn develops reflectance and environment mapping (University of Utah)

Nelson Max's sphere inversion film

Ukrainian Pysanka Egg erected in Vegraville, Canada by Ron Resch (University of Utah) to commemorate the RCMP

Sony Beta home video

Floppy disk (5 1/4")

Apple 1 (Wozniak)

IFIP (The Internation Federation of Information Processing) conference at Seillac in France on "The Methodology of Computer Graphics" begins standardization process

Computer Graphics Newsletter started by Joel Orr; becomes Computer Graphics World in 1978

Peter Fonda's head digitized and rendered by III for Futureworld

Ampex VPR-1 Type C 1" video recorder

Wang word processing

"Artist and Computer", by Ruth Leavitt

Mathematical Elements for Computer Graphics (David Rogers) published

Steve Jobs and Steve Wozniak start Apple computer.


Apple Computer incorporated

VHS (Video Home System) format - Matsushita

JVC VHS home video

Apple II released

TRS-80 introduced

Frank Crow introduces antialiasing (Ref: Franklin C. Crow, The aliasing problem in computer-generated shaded images, Communications of the ACM, v.20 n.11, p.799-805, Nov. 1977 )

Jim Blinn introduces a new illumination model that considers surface "facets" (Ref: Models of light reflection for computer synthesized pictures, James F. Blinn , Proceedings of the 4th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques July 1977, V11, #2, pp192-198)

Computer Graphics World begins publication (started by Joel and N'omi Orr as Computer Graphics Newsletter)

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences introduces Visual Effects category for Oscars

Nelson Max joins LLL; Jim Blinn joins JPL

R/Greenberg founded (Richard and Robert Greenberg)

SIGGRAPH CORE Graphics standard

Ampex ESSTM (Electronic Still Store) system introduced for network sports slo-mo;adapted for use as animation sequetial storage device

GKS (Graphical Kernal System) graphics standard introduced

Fuchs multiprocessor visible surface algorithm (Ref: Fuchs, Henry. Distributing A Visible Surface Algorithm Over Multiple Processors. Proceedings of the ACM National Conference 1977, p. 449-451. )

Larry Cuba produces Death Star simulation for Star Wars using Grass at UICC developed by Tom DeFanti at Ohio State


Tom DeFanti's GRASS system rewritten for Bally home computer (Zgrass)

E&S goes public

AT&T and Canadian Telidon introduce videotex graphics standard (NAPLPS)

Digital Effects founded (Judson Rosebush, Jeff Kleiser, et al)

Lance Williams curved shadows paper (Ref: Lance Williams, Casting curved shadows on curved surfaces, Proceedings of the 5th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques, p.270-274, August 23-25, 1978 )

Ikonas frame buffer - England/Whitton

Leroy Neiman uses Ampex AVA-1TM video art system to draw (on air) football players in Super Bowl XII

1st CGI film title - Superman (R. Greenberg)

Computer Graphics World begins publication

James Blinn produces the first of a series of animations titled The Mechanical Universe

DEC VAX 11/780 introduced

video laser disc

Bump mapping introduced (Blinn) (Ref: Simulation of wrinkled surfaces, James F. Blinn, Proceedings of the 5th annual conference on Computer graphics and interactive techniques August 1978, V12, #3, pp 286-292.)


National Computer Graphics Association (NCGA) organized by Peter Preuss of ISSCO and Joel Orr

IGES graphics file format specified

IBM 3279 color terminal

E&S PS-300

Motorola 68000 32-bit processor

Atari 8-bit computers introduced

Disney produces The Black Hole using CGI for the opening

Sunstone - Ed Emshwiller (NYIT)

George Lucas hires Ed Catmull, Ralph Guggenheim and Alvy Ray Smith to form Lucasfilm


Vol Libre - Loren Carpenter of Boeing

Apollo Computer founded - introduces the 68000 based workstation

Turner Whitted of Bell Labs publishes ray tracing paper (Ref: Turner Whitted, An improved illumination model for shaded display, Communications of the ACM, v.23 n.6, p.343-349, June 1980 )

First NCGA conference - Arlington, Virginia - Steven Levine, President

Donkey Kong introduced by Nintendo (Mario named in US release)

IBM licenses DOS from Microsoft

Apple Computer IPO - 4.6M shares @ $22

Aurora Systems founded by Richard Shoup

SIGGRAPH Core standard reorganized as ANSC X3H3.1 (PHIGS)

EUROGRAPHICS (The European Association for Computer Graphics) formed; first conference at Geneva

Disney contracts Abel, III, MAGI and DE for computer graphics for the movie Tron

MIT Media Lab founded by Nicholas Negroponte

Pacific Data Images founded by Carl Rosendahl

Computer hard disk drive - Seagate

Hanna-Barbera, largest producer of animation in the U.S.,begins implementation of computer automation of animation process

Sony Walkman

Quantel introduces Paintbox


Sony Betacam

Tom DeFanti expands GRASS to Bally Z-50 machine (ZGRASS) - University Illinois - Chicago Circle

IBM introduces the first IBM PC (16 bit 8088 chip)

DEC introduces VT100

IEEE Computer Graphics and Applications published by IEEE Computer Society and NCGA

Ampex ADO® system introduced; garners an Emmy award in 1983

Digital Productions formed by Whitney and Demos

Cranston/Csuri Productions founded by Chuck Csuri, Robert Kanuth and Jim Kristoff.

R/Greenberg opens CGI division (Chris Woods)

MITI Fifth Generation Computer Project announced by Japanese Ministry of International Trade and Industry

REYES renderer written at LucasFilm

Penguin Software (now Polarware) introduces the Complete Graphics System

Looker includes the virtual human character Cindy (Susan Dey) - 1st filkm with shaded graphics(III)

Adam Powers, the Juggler produced by III

Carla's Island - Nelson Max


The Last Starfighter (Digital Productions) begins production

Tron released

The Geometry Engine (Clark) (Ref: Clark, James H. The Geometry Engine: A VLSI Geometry System for Graphics. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 82 Proceedings) 16(3) July 1982, p. 127-133.)

Jim Clark founds Silicon Graphics Inc.

Sun Microsystems founded (sun := Stanford University Network)

Alain Fournier , Don Fussell , Loren Carpenter, Computer Rendering of Stochastic Models.Communications of the ACM, v.25 n.6, p.371-384, June 1982 (Fractal Rendering paper)

Skeleton Animation System (SAS) developed at CGRG at Ohio State (Dave Zeltzer)

Sony still frame video camera (Mavica)

ACM begins publication of TOG (Transactions on Graphics)

Tom Brighham develops morphing (NYIT)

Adobe founded by John Warnock

Toyo Links established in Tokyo

Quantel Mirage

Symbolics Graphics Division founded

EPCOT Center opens

Atari develops the data glove.

Where the Wild Things Are test (MAGI) - digital compositing used to combine CG backgrounds and traditional animation

AutoDesk founded; AutoCAD released

ILM computer graphics division develops "Genesis effect" for Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan


Particle systems (Reeves - Lucasfilm) (Ref: Reeves, William T. Particle Systems: A Technique for Modeling a Class of Fuzzy Objects. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 83 Proceedings) 17(3) July 1983, p. 359-376. )

SGI IRIS 1000 graphics workstation

Non-Uniform Rational B-Splines (NURBS) introduced by Tiller (Note: this date is somewhat misleading, since the concept built on the work of Vesprille (1975), Riesenfeld (1973), Knapp (1979), Coons (1968) and Forrest (1972))

Road to Point Reyes - Lucasfilm

The Last Starfighter released

Jim Blinn receives the first (1983) ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Ivan Sutherland receives the first (1983) ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Steve Dompier's "Micro Illustrator"

UNIX System V

Utah Raster Toolkit introduced (Spencer Thomas)

Autodesk introduces first PC-based CAD software

Alias founded in Toronto by Stephen Bingham, Nigel McGrath, Susan McKenna and David Springer

mip-mapping introduced for efficient texture mapping (Williams - NYIT) (Ref: Williams, Lance. Pyramidal Parametrics. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 83 Proceedings) 17(3) July 1983, p. 1-11. )

Sony and Philips introduce 1st CD player


Robert Able & Associates produces the 1st computer generated 30 second commercial used for Super Bowl (Brilliance)

Wavefront Technologies is the first commercially available 3D software package (founded by Mark Sylvester, Larry Barels and Bill Kovacs )

Thomson Digital Image (TDI) founded

Jim Clark receives the 1984 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

International Resource Development report predicts the extinction of the keyboard in the next decade

A-buffer (or alpha-buffer) introduced by Carpenter of Lucasfilm

Distributed ray tracing introduced by Lucasfilm (Ref: Cook, Robert L., Thomas Porter and Loren Carpenter. Distributed Raytracing. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 137-145. )

Cook shading model (Lucasfilm) (Ref: Cook, Robert L. Shade Trees. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 223-231. )

14.5 minute computer generated IMAX film (The Magic Egg) shown at SIGGRAPH 84 - 18 teams; 20 segments

Universal Studios opens CG department

First Macintosh computer is sold; introduced with Clio award winning commercial 1984 during Super Bowl

McDonnel Douglas introduces the Polhemus 3Space digitizer and body Tracker

The Cornell Box invented by Cohen

Radiosity born - Cornell University (Ref: Goral, Cindy M., Kenneth E. Torrence, Donald P. Greenberg and Bennett Battaile. Modeling the Interaction of Light Between Diffuse Surfaces. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 213-222. )

John Lasseter joins Lucasfilm

Motorola 68020

Digital Productions (Whitney and Demos) get Academy Technical Achievement Award for CGI simulation of motion picture photography

Lucasfilms introduces motion blur effects

Porter and Duff compositing algorithm (Lucasfilm) (Ref: Porter, Thomas and Tom Duff. Compositing Digital Images. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 84 Proceedings) 18(3) July 1984, p. 253-259.)

The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. (Lucasfilm)


Commodore launches the new Amiga

Loren Carpenter receives the 1985 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Pierre Bezier receives the 1985 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Sogitec founded (Xavier Nicolas)

Max Headroom - computer-mediated live action figure

Judson Rosebush Co. started

Abel Image Research takes Robert Abel & Associates to shaded graphics business

Tony de Peltrie airs

stereo TV

Biosensor (Toyo Links)

Cray 2

GKS standard

Quantel Harry is first non-linear editor

X10R1 format

CGW predicts 90s graphics workstation

Targa 16 board (AT&T) goes to market

Pixar Image Computer goes to market

NeXT Incorporated founded by Steve Jobs and five former Apple senior managers

Perlin's noise functions introduced (Ref: Perlin, Ken. An Image Synthesizer. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings) 19(3) July 1985, p. 287-296.)

CD-ROMs High Sierra (ISO9660) standard introduced

PostScript (Adobe - John Warnock)

PODA creature animation system developed by Girard and Maciejewski at Ohio State (Ref: Girard, Michael and A. A. Maciejewski. Computational Modeling for the Computer Animation of Legged Figures. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 85 Proceedings) 19(3) July 1985, p. 263-270.)

Boss Films founded by Richard Edlund

MIT Media Lab moves to new home

Young Sherlock Holmes stained glass knight (Lucasfilm), 2010 (Boss Films)and Looker (DP)


The Great Mouse Detective was the first animated film to be aided by CG.

Pixar purchased from Lucasfilm by Steve Jobs

X-Window System (MIT Project Athena)

Trancept Systems founded by Nick England and Mary Whitton - graphics board for Sun

CGI group starts at Industrial Light and Magic (Doug Kay and George Joblove)

Softimage founded by Daniel Langlois in Montreal

Sun Microsystems goes public

mental images founded in Berlin

Computer Associates acquires ISSCO

Microsoft goes public (IPO raises $61M; share prices go from $21 to $28)

Apple IIgs introduced

Silicon Graphics Incorporated IPO

SGI IRIS 3000 (MIPS processor)

Turner Whitted receives the 1986 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Waldo project introduces motion capture (Digital Productions)

Kajiya's Rendering Equation (Ref: Kajiya, James T. The Rendering Equation. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 86 Proceedings) 20(4) August 1986, p. 143-150.)

Omnibus assumes Robert Able & Associates and Digital Productions in hostile takeovers by John Pennie and investors

Whitney/Demos Productions founded

Intel introduces 82786 graphics coprocessor chip ; Texas Instruments introduces TMS34010 Graphics System Processor


Luxo Jr. nominated for Oscar (first CGI film to be nominated - Pixar)

TIFF (Aldus)

Scitex founded for prepress


GIF format (CompuServe), JPEG format (Joint Photographic Experts Group)

Willow (Lucasfilm) popularizes morphing

Max Headroom debuts

LucasArts formed

Adobe Illustrator

CGM (Computer Graphics Metafile) standard

Side Effects Software established

VGA (Video Graphivs Array) invented by IBM

Windows 2.0, MS/OS 2, Excel

Sun 4 SPARC workstation

Reynolds' flocking behavior algorithm (Symbolics) (Ref: Reynolds, Craig W. Flocks, Herds and Schools: A Distributed Behavior Model. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings) 21(4) July 1987, p. 25-34.)

Stanley and Stella in: Breaking the Ice

Rob Cook receives the 1987 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Don Greenberg receives the 1987 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Advanced Computing Center for the Arts and Design (ACCAD) founded at Ohio State (formerly CGRG)

Omnibus closes, eliminating DP and Abel

Cranston/Csuri Productions closes

Marching Cubes algorithm (Lorensen and Cline - GE) (Ref: Lorensen, William and Harvey E. Cline. Marching Cubes: A High Resolution 3D Surface Construction Algorithm. Computer Graphics (SIGGRAPH 87 Proceedings) 21(4) July 1987, p. 163-170. )

Metrolight Studios, RezN8 Productions, Kleiser/Walczak Construction Co., DeGraf/Wahrman founded


PICT format (Apple)

Apple sues Microsoft for copyright infringement for GUI

GKS, PHIGS standards

Prime Computer acquires Computervision

Solid Texturing introduced (Perlin Noise Functions) (Ref: K. Perlin. An image synthesizer. Computer Graphics, 19(3):287--296, 1985)

Al Barr receives the 1988 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Internet Worm infects servers all over the world

Gary Demos founds DemoGraFX

Open Software Foundation (OSF)

NeXT Cube - For $6500, it features: 25-MHz 68030 processor and 68882 math coprocessor, 8 MB RAM, 17-inch monochrome monitor, 256 MB read/write magneto-optical drive, and object-oriented NeXTSTEP operating system.

JCGL purchased by NAMCO

US Patent awarded to Pixar for RenderMan

Who Framed Roger Rabbit mixes live action and animation

Willow (Lucasfilm) uses morphing in a feature film

D-2 composite video format introduced by Ampex

Disney and Pixar develop CAPS (Computer Animation Paint System) (academy technical award in 1992)

PIXAR wins Academy award for Tin Toy


John Warnock receives the 1989 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

David Evans receives the 1989 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

8MM videotape introduced by Sony

Adobe Photoshop


OSF Motif V1.0 released

Intel 80486

mental ray renderer released (integrated with Wavefront (1992), Softimage (1993), Maya (2002)) - awarded AMPAS Technical Achievment Award in 2002

HP buys Apollo

Computervision acquires Calma

ILM creates the Abyss

PIXAR starts marketing RenderMan


Microsoft ships Windows 3.0

NewTek Video Toaster

First edition of Graphics Gems published by Academic Press (Andrew Glassner, editor)

US Patent awarded to Pixar for point sampling

Richard Shoup and Alvy Ray Smith receive the 1990 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

3D Studio (AutoDesk)

Windows 3.0

IBM RS6000 workstation

John Wiley & Sons begins publishing The Journal of Visualization and Computer Animation


World Wide Web (CERN)

Jim Kajiya receives the 1991 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Andy van Dam receives the 1991 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Disney and PIXAR agree to create 3 films, including the first computer animated full-length film Toy Story

ILM produces Terminator 2

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Special Achievement Award for Visual Effects for Total Recall (Metrolight Studios)

Beauty and the Beast (Disney)

Symbolics Graphics Division sold to Nichimen Graphics

Motorola 68040

Kodak PhotoCD


SunSoft - software subsidiary of Sun Microsystems

SGI Indigo workstation

Disney (Randy Cartwright, David Coons, Lem Davis, Tom Hahn, Jim Houston, Mark Kimball, Dylan Kohler, Peter Nye, Mike Shaantzis, David Wolf) get Academy Scientific and Engineering Award for CAPS production system.

Ray Feeney, Richard Keeney and Richard Lundell get Academy Scientific and Engineering Award for the Solitair Film Recorder .



QuickTime introduced (Apple)

Henry Fuchs receives the 1992 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Softimage goes public

SGI acquires MIPS

OpenGL (SGI) released

University of Illinois debuts CAVE virtual reality technology at SIGGRAPH 92

Lawnmower Man (Effects by Angel Studios and Xaos)

US Patent awarded to Pixar for Non-Affine Image Warping

VIFX uses flock animation with Prism software to create large groups of animals

Jim Hourihan of Santa Barbara Studios develops willy into Dynamation, which will become a part of the Wavefront software system.

Tom Brigham and Doug Smythe and ILM get Academy Technical Achievement Award for morphing technique (MORF)

Loren Carpenter, Rob Cook, Ed Catmull, Tom Porter, Pat Hanrahan, Tony Apodaca and Darwyn Peachey get the Academy Scientific and Engineering Award for Renderman

Novell buys UNIX from AT&T - $150M (transfers UNIX trademark to X/Open standards organization in 1993)


February (premiere) issue of DV magazine advises "[to be able to do digital video, get] the most souped up system you can get your hands on. A fast processor (68040 on Amiga or Mac, 80486 on PC) and lots of RAM (8-64 MB) are in order. So is a large hard drive (200 MB - 1 GB) if you want to take on serious production."

Disk array and compression codecs allow for nonlinear editing and full motion video

Academy Scientific and Engineering Award is given to Les Dittart, Mark Leather, Doug Smythe and George Joblove for the development of the Digital Motion Picture Retouching System (rig removal and dirt cleanup)

GPS system

Adobe Acrobat

Pat Hanrahan receives the 1993 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Ed Catmull receives the 1993 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Jurassic Park - ILM and Steven Spielberg

Wavefront buys TDI

Wired Magazine launched

Windows NT

Babylon 5 uses Amiga and Macintosh generated CGI

Mosaic browser (NCSA)

Xaos Tools Pandemonium image processor for the SGI

Doom released

Myst released (Cyan) - in 1998, it became the top selling game of all time

Digital Domain founded by James Cameron, Stan Winston, and Scott Ross


SGI and Nintendo team up for Nintendo 64 product

ILM earns Oscar for special effects for Jurassic Park

Microsoft acquires Softimage - announces Windows 95

Iomaga Zip drive

Linux 1.0 released

Reboot (CG cartoon) uses 3D characters (Mainframe Entertainment)

Direct Broadcast Satellite service

SGI founder Jim Clark resigns, forms Mosaic Communications

Netscape browser

VRML introduced (Mark Pesce)

HDTV standard for transmission adopted in US

The AMPAS Academy Award of Merit goes to Peter and Paul Vlahos for Ultimatte electronic blue screen compositing.

Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards go to Gary Demos and Dan Cameron of III, David Difrancesco and Gary Starkweather of Pixar, and Scott Squires of ILM for pioneering work in film scanning; Lincoln Hu and Mike Mackenzie of ILM and Glenn Kennel and Mike Davis of Kodak for development work on a linear array CCD film input scanning system; and Ray Feeney, Will McCown and Bill Bishop of RFX and Les Dittert of PDI for their development work on an area array CCD film input scanning system

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Mike Boudry of the Computer Film Company for pioneering work in film input scanning; and David and Lloyd Addleman for their inventions in digital image compositing.

US Patent awarded to Pixar for creating, manipulating and displaying images

Facetracker used by SimmGraphics to animate facial expressions for Super Mario

Ken Torrance receives the 1994 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award


Toy Story (Pixar)

DreamWorks SKG founded (Steven Spielberg, Jeffrey Katzenberg and David Geffen)

DreamWorks SKG and Microsoft form DreamWorks Interactive

Internet Explorer 2.0 established

Academy Scientific and Engineering Award goes to Alvy Ray Smith, Ed Catmull, Tom Porter and Tom Duff (Pixar) for pioneering inventions in digital compositing.

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Gary Demos, David Ruhoff, Dan Cameron and Michelle Feraud for creation of the Digital Productions digital film compositing system; the Computer Film Company for the CFC Digital Film Compositor; and Doug Smythe, Lincoln Hu,, Doug Kay and ILM for the ILM digital film compositing system.

US Patent awarded to Pixar for image volume data

John Lasseter of Pixar gets Academy Award for development and application of techniques used in Toy Story

Kurt Akeley (SGI) receives the 1995 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Jose Encarnacao receives the 1995 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Wavefront and Alias merge

Pixar goes public with 6.9M share offering

Netscape IPO ($58.25/share)

Sony Playstation introduced

Sun introduces Java

Internet 2 unveiled

MP3 standard format developed

MSNBC debuts


John Whitney passes away (1922-1996)

Quake hits game market

Macromedia buys FutureSplash Animator from FutureWave Technologies... it will become Flash.

Marc Levoy receives the 1996 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards go to Jim Hourihan for particle systems in Dynamation; Brian Knep, Zoran Kacic-Alesic and Tom Williams of ILM for the Viewpaint 3D Paint system; and Bill Reeves for the original development and concept of particle systems.

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Jim Kajiya of Cal Tech and Tim Kay for pioneering work in the creation of CGI hair and fur; Nestor Burtnyk and Marceli Wein of the National Research Center of Canada for computer assisted key framing for animation; Garth Dickie for shape-driven warping and morphing in the Elastic Reality Special Effects System; Jeff Yost, Christian Rouet, David Benson and Florian Kainz for the development of a system to create and control hair and fur in CGI; Brian Knep, Craig Hayes, Rick Sayre and Tom Williams of ILM for the creation and development of the direct input device; and Ken Perlin for the development of the Perlin Noise technique.

Colossal Pictures files Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Yahoo! IPO ($43/share)

eBay launched

SGI buys Cray Research - $764M

SGI introduces O2 workstation

Disney purchases DreamQuest Images; Dreamworks buys interest in PDI

PalmPilot introduced

Windows 95 ships


VIFX joins with Blue Sky

Flash 1.0 released

Bryce 3D


DVD technology unveiled

SGI Octane

IBM Deep Blue wins at chess

Przemyslaw Prusinkiewicz receives the 1997 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

James Foley receives the 1997 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards go to Bill Kovacs and Roy Hall for the engineering efforts that result in the Wavefront Advanced Visualizer software; Richard Shoup, Alvy Ray Smith and Tom Porter for the development of digital paint systems; John Gibson, Rob Kreiger, Milan Novacek, Glen Ozymok, and Dave Springer for the devlopment of geometric modeling in Alias PowerAnimator; Craig Reynolds for pioneering contributions to 3D computer animation; Eben Ostby, Bill Reeves, Sam Leffler and Tom Duff for the Pixar Marionette animation system; and Dominique Boisvert, Rejean Gagne, Daniel Langlois, and Richard Lapierriere for the Actor component of the Softimage animation system.

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Jim Keating, Michael Wahrman and Richard Hollander for the Wavefront Advanced Visualizer software development; Greg Hermanovic, Kim Davidson, Mark Elendt and Paul Breslin for the development of PRISMS software; and Richard Chuang, Glenn Entis and Carl Rosendahl for the PDI animation system.

Pixar interactive division dissolved

Microsoft sued by Justice Dep't

Apple Computer acquires NexT


Titanic becomes the largest grossing motion picture in US history

Alias Maya released

Quicktime 3.0 released

Google launched

Boss Films closes

Riven released

Sun gets back into graphics with the Darwin Ultra series of workstations

MPEG-4 standard announced

XML standard

CGI cartoon Voltron produced in US

SGI and Microsoft form partnership to develop APIs; SGI will develop NT-based PCs

Geri's Game (Pixar) - awarded the Academy Award for Animated Short

Colossal Pictures emerges from Chapter 11 bankruptcy

Avid purchases SoftImage from Microsoft

The SIGGRAPH Conference celebrates its 25th Anniversary in Orlando

Jim Blinn delivers the SIGGRAPH 98 Keynote address

Michael Cohen (Microsoft) receives the 1998 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Maxine Brown receives the first SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Award

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Doug Roble (Digital Domain) and Thad Beier (Hammerhead) for Tracking Technology; Nick Foster (PDI) for water simulation systems; David Difrancesco, Bala Manian and Tom Noggle for laser film recording and Cary Philips for the ILM Caricature animation system

Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards go to Gary Tregaski for the primary design and Dominique Boisvert, Philipe Panzini and Andre Leblanc for the development of the Flame and Inferno software; Roy Ference, Steve Schmidt, Richard Federico, Rockwell Yarid and Mike McCrackan for the design and development of the Kodak Lightning laser recorder.


The graphics world loses David Evans at age 74

Bunny (Chris Wedge - Blue Sky) - awarded the Academy Award for Animated Short

Star wars Episode One - The Phantom Menace uses 66 digital characters composited with live action

VIFX and Rhythm & Hues merge

The graphics world loses Pierre Bezier

Silicon Graphics Incorporated changes its name to SGI

Fred Brooks receives the Turing Award

NewTek ports Toaster to NT

melissa computer virus

SIGGRAPH celebrates its 30th Anniversary as an organization at SIGGRAPH 99 in Los Angeles

Tony DeRose (Pixar) receives the 1999 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Jim Blinn receives the 1999 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

SGI cuts Cray, NT production and High end graphic design

Side Effects Houdini ported to Linux

Napster created

Toy Story 2 produced by Pixar

Stuart Little produced by Sony Pictures Imageworks

Fantasia 2000 produced by Disney

Disney's DreamQuest and Feature Animation join to form The Secret Lab (TSL)


Playstation 2

SGI sells Cray to Tera Computer

Human genome mapped by Celera

Microsoft X-Box prototype shown at SIGGRAPH 2000

Dinosaur produced by Disney

The graphics world loses Phil Mittleman (MAGI)

Walking with Dinosaurs - Framestore (UK)

Mission to Mars effects produced by ILM and The Secret Lab

Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences Award of Merit awarded to Rob Cook, Loren Carpenter and Ed Catmull for the significant advancements to the field of motion picture rendering as exemplified in Pixar's Renderman

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Venkat Krishnamurthy for the Paraform software for digital form development; and George Burshukov, Kim Libreri and Dan Piponi for image based rendering

SIGGRAPH 2000 held in New Orleans

Tom DeFanti and Copper Giloth receive the 2000 SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Award

David Salesin receives the 2000 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Hollow Man produced by Sony

How the Grinch Stole Christmas (Centropolis)

Maya ported to Macintosh

Mac OS-X introduced


SIGGRAPH 2001 held in Los Angeles

Lance Williams receives the 2001 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Andrew Witkin receives the 2001 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Paul Debevec receives the 2001 ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award

The graphics world loses Bob Abel (Sept 23)

Disney's Secret Lab closes

Apple iPod

Side Effects Houdini ported to Sun

AOL/TimeWarner merger

Autodesk acquires Media100 software product line

Advanced Audio Coding (AAC) format introduced by Dolby Labs and Fraunhofer Institute

Windows XP

Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Garland Stern for the Cel Paint software system; Uwe Sassenberg and Rolf Schneider for the 3D Equalizer matchmove system; Lance Williams for pioneering influence in animation and effects; Bill Spitzak, Paul Van Camp, Jonathan Egstad and Price Pethal for the NUKE-2D compositing software; Steve Sullivan and Eric Shafer for the ILM Motion and Structure Recovery System (MARS); and John Anderson, Jim Hourihan, Cary Philips and Sebastion Marino for the ILM Creature Dynamics System

The Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Sciences approve a new category for the Oscars titled Best Animated Feature Film Award. Nine films were declared eligible: FINAL FANTASY: THE SPIRITS WITHIN , JIMMY NEUTRON: BOY GENIUS , MARCO POLO: RETURN TO XANADU , MONSTERS, INC. , OSMOSIS JONES , THE PRINCE OF LIGHT , SHREK , THE TRUMPET OF THE SWAN , and WAKING LIFE

Significant FX movies - Final Fantasy (Square), Monsters Inc.(Pixar), Harry Potter, A.I., Lord of the Rings, Shrek(PDI), The Mummy Returns (ILM), Tomb Raider (Cinesite), Jurassic Park III, Pearl Harbor (ILM), Planet of the Apes (Asylum)

Microsoft xBox and Nintendo Gamecube released


SIGGRAPH 2002 held in San Antonio, Texas

Bert Hertzog (Fraunhofer Center for Research in Computer Graphics) receives the 2002 Outstanding Service Award for extraordinary service to ACM SIGGRAPH by a volunteer

David Kirk (NVIDIA) receives the 2002 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

HP / Compaq merger

William Fetter (Boeing) passes away.

Steven Gortler (Harvard Univ) receives the 2002 ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award

Alias|Wavefront, an SGI company, was awarded an ACADEMY AWARD OF MERIT Oscar at the Scientific and Technical Awards ceremony of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for its development of Maya software.

Mark Elendt ,Paul Breslin ,Greg Hermanovic and Kim Davidson receive a SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING AWARD for their continued development of the procedural modeling and animation components of their Prisms program, as exemplified in the Houdini software package.

To Dick Walsh for the development of the PDI/ Dreamworks Facial Animation System.
To Thomas Driemeyer and to the mathematicians, physicists and software engineers of Mental Images for their contributions to the Mental Ray rendering software for motion pictures.
To Eric Daniels ,George Katanics ,Tasso Lappas and Chris Springfield for the development of the Deep Canvas rendering software.



Atari Games Corporation (Midway Games West) out of business.

Oscar nominees for Best animated short film: THE CATHEDRAL ,Platige Image, Tomek Baginski; THE CHUBBCHUBBS!,Sony Pictures Imageworks,Eric Armstrong (WINNER); DAS RAD , Filmakademie Baden-Württemberg GmbH, Chris Stenner and Heidi Wittlinger; MIKE'S NEW CAR, Pixar Animation Studios,Pete Docter and Roger Gould; MT. HEAD, Yamamura Animation Production, Koji Yamamura; for Achievement in visual effects: THE LORD OF THE RINGS: THE TWO TOWERS, Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook and Alex Funke (WINNER); SPIDER-MAN, John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier, STAR WARS EPISODE II ATTACK OF THE CLONES, Rob Coleman, Pablo Helman, John Knoll and Ben Snow;ICE AGE nominated for Best Animated Feature Film

Dolby Labs acquires DemoGraFX, Gary Demos' company

SIGGRAPH 2003 held in San Diego

David Brown (founder - Blue Sky and ex of MAGI) passes away

Pat Hanrahan (Stanford) receives the 2003 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award

Peter Schrøder (Cal Tech) receives the 2003 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Mathieu Desbrun (USC) receives the 2003 ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award

The Cathedral selected as Best Short Film in SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre

Apple introduces the Power Mac G5

Alias/Wavefront becomes Alias


Jim Clark elected to Fellow in Academy of Arts and Sciences

Oscar nominees for Best animated short film: Harvie Krumpet - Adam Elliot (winner); Boundin' - Bud Luckey; Destino - Dominique Monfery, Roy Edward Disney; Gone Nutty - Carlos Saldanha, John C. Donkin; Nibbles - Christopher Hinton; for Best animated feature : Finding Nemo - Andrew Stanton (winner); Brother Bear - Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker; Triplettes de Belleville, Les - Sylvain Chomet; for Achievement in Visual Effects: Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King - Jim Rygiel, Joe Letteri, Randall William Cook, Alex Funke (winner); Master and Commander: The Far Side of the World - Daniel Sudick, Stefen Fangmeier, Nathan McGuinness, Robert Stromberg; Pirates of the Caribbean: The Curse of the Black Pearl - John Knoll, Hal T. Hickel, Charles Gibson, Terry D. Frazee

Academy Scientific and Engineering Awards go to Stephen Regelous for the design and development of Massive, the autonomous agent animation system used for the battle sequences in "The Lord of the Rings" trilogy. Academy Technical Achievement Awards go to Christophe Hery, Ken McGaugh, and Joe Letteri for their groundbreaking implementations of practical methods for rendering skin and other translucent materials using subsurface scattering techniques; Henrik Wann Jensen, Stephen R. Marschner, and Pat Hanrahan for their pioneering research in simulating subsurface scattering of light in translucent materials as presented in their paper "A Practical Model for Subsurface Light Transport."

SIGGRAPH 2004 held in Los Angeles

Steve Cunningham and Judith Brown receive the 2004 Outstanding Service Award for extraordinary service to ACM SIGGRAPH by a volunteer

Hugues Hoppe (Microsoft) receives the 2004 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Zoran Popovic (Univ. Washington) receives the 2004 ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award

Chris Landreth's Ryan selected for Jury Award in SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre; Sejong Park's Birthday Boy selected Best Animated Short

Ub Iwerks Award given to Ed Catmull for creative work at Pixar

Alias acquired from SGI by Accel-KKR and the Ontario Teachers' Pension Plan.


Oscar nominees for Best animated short film: Sejong Park & Andrew Gegory - Birthday Boy; Jeff Fowler & Tim Miller - Gopher Broke; Bill Plympton - Guard Dog; Mike Gabriel & Baker Bloodworth - Lorenzo; Chris Landreth - Ryan; for Best animated feature : Brad Bird - The Incredibles; Bill Damasschka - Shark Tale; Andrew Adamson - Shrek 2; for Achievement in Visual Effects: Roger Guyett, Tim Burke, John Richardson and Bill George  - Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban; John Nelson, Andrew R. Jones, Erik Nash and Joe Letteri - I, Robot; John Dykstra, Scott Stokdyk, Anthony LaMolinara and John Frazier - Spider-Man 2

Academy Scientific and Technical Awards go to Dr. Julian Morris, Michael Birch, Dr. Paul Smyth and Paul Tate for the development of the Vicon motion capture technology; Dr. John O. B. Greaves, Ned Phipps, Antonie J. van den Bogert and William Hayes for the development of the Motion Analysis motion capture technology; Dr. Nels Madsen, Vaughn Cato, Matthew Madden and Bill Lorton for the development of the Giant Studios motion capture technology; Alan Kapler for the design and development of Storm , a software toolkit for artistic control of volumetric effects.

SIGGRAPH 2005 held in Los Angeles

Steve Cunningham and Judith Brown receive the 2004 Outstanding Service Award for extraordinary service to ACM SIGGRAPH by a volunteer

Tomoyuki Nishita (Tokyo University) receives the 2005 ACM SIGGRAPH Steven Anson Coons Award

Jos Stam (Alias) receives the 2005 ACM SIGGRAPH CG Achievement Award

Ron Fedkiw (Stanford) receives the 2005 ACM SIGGRAPH Significant New Researcher Award

Shane Acker 's 9 selected for Best of Show in SIGGRAPH Electronic Theatre; Fallen Art and La Migration Bigoudenn selected for Jury Honors

Adobe purchases Macromedia for US$3.4B.


Oscar nominees for Best animated short film: “Badgered”  - A National Film and Television School Production, Sharon Colman; “The Moon and the Son: An Imagined Conversation”  - A John Canemaker Production, John Canemaker and Peggy Stern; “The Mysterious Geographic Explorations of Jasper Morello” (Monster Distributes) - A 3D Films Production, Anthony Lucas; “9”  - A Shane Acker Production, Shane Acker; “One Man Band”  - A Pixar Animation Studios Production, Andrew Jimenez and Mark Andrews
for Best animated feature
: “Howl’s Moving Castle” (Buena Vista) - Hayao Miyazaki; “Tim Burton’s Corpse Bride” (Warner Bros.) - Mike Johnson and Tim Burton; “Wallace & Gromit in the Curse of the Were-Rabbit” (DreamWorks Animation SKG)  - Nick Park and Steve Box
for Achievement in Visual Effects: “The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe” (Buena Vista) - Dean Wright, Bill Westenhofer, Jim Berney and Scott Farrar; “King Kong” (Universal) - Joe Letteri, Brian Van’t Hul, Christian Rivers and Richard Taylor; “War of the Worlds” (Paramount and DreamWorks)  - Dennis Muren, Pablo Helman, Randal M. Dutra and Daniel Sudick

Academy Scientific and Technical Awards go to David Baraff, Michael Kass and Andrew Witkin for their pioneering work in physically-based computer-generated techniques used to simulate realistic cloth in motion pictures.; to John Platt and Demetri Terzopoulos for their pioneering work in physically-based computer-generated techniques used to simulate realistic cloth in motion pictures; to Ed Catmull, for the original concept, and Tony DeRose and Jos Stam for their scientific and practical implementation of subdivision surfaces as a modeling technique in motion picture production. Gary Demos was honored with the 19th Gordon E. Sawyer Award, presented to an individual in the motion picture industry whose technological contributions have brought credit to the industry.

Disney acquires Pixar for $7.4B; Ed Catmull named President; Steve Jobs joins Disney Board

Apple Computer adopts the Intel chip, introduces Bootcamp to run Windows.

SGI files Chapter 11 protection

Richard "Doc" Bailey, the "Jimi Hendrix of CG" passes away

Michael Bay and Wyndcrest Holdings buy Digital Domain, replace Scott Ross

SIGGRAPH 2006 held in Boston. SIGGRAPH awards are as follows:

  • Computer Graphics Achievement Award
    Thomas W. Sederberg, Brigham Young University
  • Significant New Researcher Award
    Takeo Igarashi, The University of Tokyo
  • ACM SIGGRAPH Outstanding Service Award
    John M. Fujii, Hewlett Packard Company
  • One Rat Short - Best of Show, Computer Animation Festival
    Alex Weil, Charlex Inc.

CGI pioneer Bill Kovacs passes away. VFXworld article

AMD purchases ATI Technologies for $5.4B

Autodesk acquires Alias for US$197M.


This timeline is used in conjunction with a course at Ohio State titled A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation. The pages associated with this course can be viewed at

Also look at the following related Web pages:

Other related historical links

Computer Graphics World 25th Anniversary Retrospectives (Timelines and Milestones of Computer Animation and Visual Effects, from The Art of Computer Animation and Imaging (Kerlow) (AMPAS Visual Effects Awards, from The Art of Computer Animation and Imaging (Kerlow) (History of media) (History of Television Broadcast) (History of mathematics) of microcomputers) (History of computing) (Computer History Museum) (History of the Microcomputer Revolution) (History of Apple Computer) (History of the Apple II) (History of the development of the Macintosh) (ITGS history page) (SIGGRAPH Conetree - requires VRML) (Joel Orr's History of CADD - quite a few date errors) (History of the Workstation) (Integrated Circuit History) (History of Fractals) (Taken from "On Becoming an Animator" (Miller)) (Joan Collins article from 8/97 AWN) (ThinkQuest History page) (Prof. John Lansdowne History of CG Choreography) (Rick Parent's book on Computer Animation) (History of the Internet) GREAT SITE! (Museum of Video Editing) (Digital Art Museum history site)

Animation software company history

AMPAS Scientific and Technical Awards in Digital Effects (PDF) (from the AMPAS Awards database)



Corporate historical links (Timeline of Lucasfilm history) (Motorola timeline) (BBN and internet timeline) (Kleiser/Walczak history) (R. Greenberg History (click on History button)) (Microsoft timeline) (HP Virtual Museum) (Ampex Corporation history) (Alias Wavefront history)



Visual Effects Society


Other Visual Effects Resources (Visual Effects Headquarters) (History of Special Effects [at the Oscars] (Intl Cinematographers Guild)) (Cinefex magazine)


Video Games (History of Atari) (American Museum of the Moving Image Computer Space 98 video game exhibition) (a site dedicated to a listing of adventure games (interactive fiction))

Last updated - November, 2003

© 2004 Wayne E. Carlson

Please feel free to link to this timeline from your website; in the interest of updates and corrections, please do not copy the contents into another page.