The Ruffled Crow

Animation, Art, and Other Shiny Things

Tag Archives: Edwin Catmull

Computer Animation Firsts

The following are two incredibly important computer animations; the first 3D rendered animation from 1972, and the first fractal generated animation from ca 1979.

In 1972 Ed Catmull (founder of Pixar) and his colleagues created the world’s first 3D rendered movie, an animated version of Ed’s left hand. This is the film that they produced. It includes some “making of” footage (around 1:30) and some other early experiments. Read more at

The first fractal animation. Vol Libre

I made this film in 1979-80 to accompany a SIGGRAPH paper on how to synthesize fractal geometry with a computer. It is the world’s first fractal movie. It utilizes 8-10 different fractal generating algorithms. I used an antialiased version of this software to create the fractal planet in the Genesis Sequence of Star Trek 2, the Wrath of Khan. These frames were computed on a VAX-11/780 at about 20-40 minutes each


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