Happening @ CAM

An Evening with Tom Sito and his new book Moving Innovation: A History of Computer Animation

Tuesday, May 7, 2013, 7:00pm to 9:00pm
Free and open to the public

The Cartoon Art Museum welcomes back animator and historian Tom Sito as he presents his new book Moving Innovation:  A History of Computer Animation on Tuesday, May 7, 2013, from 7:00 to 9:00pm.  This event is free and open to the public.

Computer graphics (or CG) has changed the way we experience the art of moving images. Computer graphics are the difference between Steamboat Willie and Buzz Lightyear, between ping pong and PONG. It began in 1963 when an MIT graduate student named Ivan Sutherland created the first true computer animation program. Instead of presenting a series of numbers, Sutherland’s Sketchpad program drew lines that created recognizable images. Sutherland noted: “Since motion can be put into Sketchpad drawings, it might be exciting to try making cartoons.” This book, the first full-length history of CG, shows us how Sutherland’s seemingly offhand idea grew into a multibillion-dollar industry.

In MOVING INNOVATION (MIT Press / MAY 2013 / $29.95), Tom Sito—himself an animator and industry insider for more than thirty years—describes the evolution of CG. The history of traditional cinema technology is a fairly straight path from Lumière to MGM. Writing the history of CG, Sito maps simultaneous accomplishments in multiple locales—academia, the military-industrial complex, movie special effects, video games, experimental film, corporate research, and commercial animation. His story features a memorable cast of characters—math nerds, avant-garde artists, cold warriors, hippies, video game enthusiasts, and studio executives: disparate types united by a common vision. Computer animation did not begin just with Pixar; Sito shows us how fifty years of work by this motley crew made movies like Toy Story and Avatar possible.

Moving Innovation is the most complete, organized, and readable account of the formation of the CG industry I have seen. As an educator, I can easily see this text assigned as required reading for animation and film students. Tom Sito’s writing is very conversational and straightforward, and this book will be of great interest to anyone in or studying the field of CG.”—Peter Weishar, Dean of Entertainment Arts, Savannah College of Art and Design

Tom Sito has been a professional animator since 1975. One of the key players in Disney’s animation revival of the 1980s and 1990s, he worked on such classic Disney films as The Little Mermaid (1989), Beauty and the Beast (1991), and The Lion King (1994). He left Disney to help set up the Dreamworks Animation Unit in 1995. He is Professor of Cinema Practice in the School of Cinematic Arts at the University of Southern California.



Comment from Steve Segal
Time April 3, 2013 at 12:29 pm

Sutherland is truly important to the genesis of CG, but computer graphics started in the 50′s with John Whitney.

Comment from Tom Sito
Time April 11, 2013 at 2:38 am

True enough Steve. I used the Sutherland date as a convenient jumping off point because of the 50th Anniversary. But like you said, you can trace back CG much earlier. It’s like the history of television, you can point to several key dates in it’s development.