Toy Story Animators From Pixar Win Nobel Prize of Computing

Since the first part of Toy Story was released in 1995, the franchise has brought billions of dollars to Pixar. The franchise has been successful not just because of its amazing storyline that is appealing to children and adults alike but also because of the fantastic animation. The men behind the animation of the first Toy Story movie are Pat Hanrahan and Ed Catmull. Both men will receive the Nobel Prize of computer science called the Turing Award this year to honor their contributions to computing.

The Nobel Prize, which was handed over to the two developers by the Association for Computing Machinery, was also given with a cash prize of $1 million. Catmull and Hanrahan have been friends for many years as Hanrahan was among the earliest developers at Pixar and Catmull is one of the founders of the company.

Catmull and Hanrahan made 3D dimensional Toy Story animation by getting computers to visualize the objects from that dimension. Even before he started working on the Toy Story animation, Catmull spent years trying to make curved surfaces recognizable by computers. When he finally made that possible, he and Hanrahan came up with curved surfaces that were mathematically defined. Little by little, they increased the features until it became perfect.

According to Catmull, people didn’t think it would ever be possible to create full animated films at the time. Eventually, when Pixar started focusing on developing feature films in 1989, Catmull and other members of the firm started working on creating animated feature films. After Hanrahan was employed, Pixar put him in charge of standardizing the computer codes that the company used for image description.

The contributions Catmull and Hanrahan made in the computing industry are extraordinary and this is the second time any person or group is getting the Turing Award. In June, the official ceremony will take place assuming the lockdown due to Coronavirus has been lifted.