462. A Computer Animated Hand – Ed Catmull, Fred Parke

Ed Catmull Computer Animated Hand

SUMMARY: One of the earliest examples of computer animation, a hand brought to life.

WHY IT’S HERE: Ed Catmull and Fred Parke’s ‘A Computer Animated Hand’ may not impress many people these days in a world filled with sophisticated computer animation and in which we see a barrage of new computer animated feature films appear every year. However, for anyone interested in animation there is a palpable sense of history unfolding on the screen before us. Remember this was 1972 and computer animation was a largely unexplored field. Catmull had wanted to be an animator but hit a stumbling block when he found he was unable to draw. However, having obtained a degree in Computer Science, Catmull realised computers could be used to create animation and thus created this seminal short. From this small seed, Catmull grew into a co-founder of Pixar and eventually President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios. While it consists of little more visually than a chunky hand stiffly clenching a fist and pointing, ‘A Computer Animated Hand’ is a hugely important short and the beginnings of great things to come.

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