Tuesday, July 28, 2009
"Vol Libre" 1980 Pioneering CG Film
Vol Libre from Loren Carpenter on Vimeo.
In Chapter 11 of Droidmaker I discuss the hiring of one of the key members of the original Pixar team - Loren Carpenter. He had heard about Lucas' new computer braintrust that was starting at Lucasfilm in 1979, and he wanted to be a part. As an employee of Boeing, he spent his spare time putting together one of the pioneering uses of Mandelbrot's new fractal mathematics on computer graphics. "Would it make things look real?" Carpenter made a short film to demonstrate his new concept. It was called "Vol Libre," and he showed it to a packed house at SIGGRAPH 1980. He was hoping to attract the attention of Ed Catmull and Alvy Ray Smith, who everyone knew would be in attendance. They were. Loren was hired on the spot.
Loren Carpenter is still at Pixar -- the Chief Scientist. In honor of the upcoming gathering in New Orleans for the 2009 SIGGRAPH, I asked him if he'd make this very rare film available. Here it is. Vol Libre, "Flying Free."