Ed Catmull

Ed Catmull is an American computer scientist and entrepreneur who has made significant contributions to the field of computer graphics and the animation industry. Born in 1945, Catmull co-founded Pixar Animation Studios and later became the president of both Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. He is widely recognized for his pioneering work in computer graphics, including the development of texture mapping and subdivision surfaces, which have become fundamental techniques in the creation of computer-generated imagery (CGI).

Catmull earned his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah, where he worked on early computer graphics algorithms and techniques. One of his most notable contributions from this period is the Catmull-Rom spline, a mathematical curve used in computer graphics and animation. After completing his Ph.D., Catmull joined the New York Institute of Technology's Computer Graphics Lab, where he continued his research.

In 1979, Catmull was hired by George Lucas to lead Lucasfilm's Computer Division, where he and his team developed groundbreaking technologies for digital image compositing, motion blur, and other visual effects. This work laid the foundation for what would eventually become Pixar, which was founded in 1986 when Steve Jobs purchased the Computer Graphics Division from Lucasfilm.

At Pixar, Catmull worked closely with animation directors like John Lasseter to produce some of the most successful and critically acclaimed animated films in history, starting with "Toy Story" in 1995. Under Catmull's leadership, Pixar revolutionized the animation industry by proving that fully computer-generated films could be both commercially successful and emotionally compelling.

Beyond his technical contributions, Catmull is also known for his management philosophy, which emphasizes creativity, collaboration, and a willingness to take risks. His book "Creativity, Inc." offers insights into the leadership principles that have made Pixar an enduringly innovative company.

Throughout his career, Catmull has received numerous awards and honors, including the ACM SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award and the IEEE John von Neumann Medal. He was also named a Fellow of the Association for Computing Machinery (ACM).

Ed Catmull is a pioneering computer scientist and entrepreneur who has had a profound impact on the fields of computer graphics and animation. As a co-founder of Pixar and a leader at Walt Disney Animation Studios, he has been instrumental in the production of some of the most iconic animated films of all time. His technical innovations and leadership philosophy have earned him widespread recognition and have forever changed the landscape of the animation industry.