Young Sherlock Holmes Young Sherlock Holmes

The History of CGI

Young Sherlock Holmes

While I was double-checking facts for the Seventies advertising post a couple days ago, I discovered this useful resource—A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation created by professor Wayne Carlson. The site is more overview than in-depth examination, but it does appear to be fairly thorough and is packed with rare video clips and stills of early CG work. While it’s easy to criticize computer animation for everything that it lacks, a site like this is a reminder of how young the technique is and how quickly it has developed. It’s certainly humbling to watch this early CG experiment (streaming RealPlayer file) by Ed Catmull and to think that just a few decades later his studio is producing Ratatouille.

  • Also OSU ACCAD has a nice collection of Chuck Csuri’s digital work.
    I’m helping Ccad convert the entire audio presentations of the Women in Animation Symposium over to podcast form and there is an Amazing presentation from Rebecca Allen. The other presentations are equally amazing but Rebecca Allen really struck a cord for me. Really cool stuff keep an eye out for it.

  • Chris Sobieniak

    We shouldn’t forget the efforts of those that came before and the ground they broke in the process of creating another technique on which to learn, entertain and more. Where would we be without the pioneers of the world of computer graphics (seems like I’m preaching to the choir here, but I can think back to the days when all this was going on in the 80’s and wondered how far it would go)! The things we can do today were nearly impossible 20 years ago.

  • Don’t count CG animation out yet. We’re barely out of the rubber hose period, relatively speaking.

  • Jenny

    That image is from the film “Young Sherlock Holmes”, isn’t it(I can’t play the file on this computer at the moment)? Must be…I remember how big a deal that sequence was at the time(and indeed all the CG stuff in the film). We thought it was tremendoudly cool back then–talk about early days(well, it was cool).

  • It certainly is an interesting read – and even more interesting to see how far we’ve come in such a short amount of time. People are often hard on the medium, but I think a time line of sorts such as this does us all a service by reminding us that it’s still new and as such is still in the process of finding its real artistic legs. I will note however – that the site lacks any sort of mention of ReBoot, which aside from being one of my favorite animated shows of all time, was the first entirely CG television series (I’d expect it to be in the CG for TV section). It’s a shame the series got overlooked yet again, it did a tremendous amount for the medium on a non-theatrical level, yet it often goes unrecognized for it’s accomplishments.

  • “a site like this is a reminder of how young the technique is and how quickly it has developed.”

    It may be interesting to note that it took 12 yrs to get from The Adventures of Andre and Wally B (’84) to Toy Story (’96) and another 11 yrs to Ratatouille (’07)

    It took Disney 12 yrs to get from Steamboat Willie (’28) to Pinocchio and Fantasia (both ’40) -arguably traditional animation’s artistic high point. Kind of helps to appreciate what a genius Walt Disney really was!

    We love to dump on Motion capture, but let’s see what happens within the next decade.