Two men who invented game-changing 3D computer graphics techniques now widely used in the film industry have won the highest distinction in computer science: the Turing Award. If you enjoyed Toy Story, The Lord of the Rings, Finding Nemo, Titanic, Avatar, or Jurassic Park, you have them to thank.
Who are they? Edwin Catmull and Patrick Hanrahan. Catmull cofounded Pixar and hired biophysics PhD Hanrahan as one of the first employees in 1986. Hanrahan spent much of his time modeling materials and lighting to help animations look closer to real life. “Physicists generally don’t study hair or skin, and why they look the way they do. I did, and spent years thinking about how to get things like lighting right,” he told MIT Technology Review.
Their work: Hanrahan was the lead architect of the team that created the complex software known as RenderMan, which