Edwin Catmull

2013 Fellow

For his pioneering work in computer graphics, animation, and filmmaking

"If you aren't experiencing failure, then you are making a far worse mistake: You are being driven by the desire to avoid it."

— Edwin Catmull

Dr. Ed Catmull is cofounder of Pixar Animation Studios and president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios. Previously, Dr. Catmull was vice president of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., where he managed development in the areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio.

Dr. Catmull founded three of the leading centers of computer graphics research - the computer graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology, the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar Animation Studios. These organizations have been home to many of the most academically respected researchers in the field and have produced some of the most fundamental advances in computer graphics, including image compositing, motion blur, subdivision surfaces, cloth simulation and rendering techniques, texture mapping and the z-buffer. Dr. Catmull is one of the architects of the RenderMan rendering software, which has been used in 44 of the last 47 films nominated for an Academy Award in the Visual Effects category.

In addition to being a member of IEEE's Computer Society since 1978, Dr. Catmull is active in several professional organizations. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM) and a dedicated participant in the ACM SIGGRAPH conference for nearly 30 years, and has also served as a member and chair of the Papers Committee, the Awards Committee and the Technical Program Committee. Dr. Catmull also is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering, the Visual Effects Society, and the University of California President's Board on Science and Innovation. In 2012, Dr. Catmull was inducted as a Visual Effects Society Fellow, in recognition of his pivotal leadership in the art and science of computer graphics and visual effects.

Dr. Catmull has been honored with five Academy Awards, including a Technical Achievement Award from The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, from whom he previously won two Scientific and Engineering Awards, and one Academy Award of Merit for his work. In 2009, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded Dr. Catmull the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry.

Dr. Catmull also received the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for his lifetime contributions in the computer graphics field, the Progress Medal and the Fuji Gold Medal awards from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and the animation industry's Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancements in the art or industry of animation. Additionally, he was the recipient of the IEEE's John von Neumann Medal for fundamental contributions to computer graphics and a pioneering use of computer animation in motion pictures. Dr. Catmull was awarded the 2008 Randy Pausch Prize from Carnegie Mellon University's Entertainment Technology Center (ETC), a prize awarded to individuals in the entertainment technology industry who best embody the coming together of technical expertise and creative thinking. Randy Pausch and Don Marinelli, a Professor at Carnegie Mellon University, chose Dr. Catmull to be the first recipient of this prize at the 7th International Conference on Entertainment Computing (ICEC), where he also was the keynote speaker. In 2011, Dr. Catmull received the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineer's Progress Medal for his life-long pioneering contributions and visionary leadership in the field of computer generated imagery for the motion picture industry.

Dr. Catmull earned BS degrees in computer science and physics and a PhD in computer science from the University of Utah. In 2005, the University of Utah presented him with an honorary doctoral degree in engineering.


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