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Alvy Ray Smith

Pioneer in computer graphics and co-founder of animation studio Pixar

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Alvy Ray Smith

Pioneer in computer graphics and co-founder of animation studio Pixar

Biography

Dr Alvy Ray Smith is the co-founder of two successful startups: Pixar, an animation studio which was sold to Disney, and Altamira, a software company which was sold to Microsoft. 

Smith also co-founded the Lucas film Computer Division which developed computer graphics software including early renderer technology. As director of the Computer Graphics Project, he created and directed the "Genesis Demo" in The Wrath of Khan, and conceived and directed the short animated film The Adventures of Andre and Wally B., starring the animator John Lasseter. He proposed and negotiated the Academy-Award winning Disney computer animation production system, CAPS.

Smith was an original member of the Computer Graphics Lab of the New York Institute of Technology and was the First Graphics Fellow at Microsoft. 

While at Xerox PARC, he witnessed the birth of the personal computer and received two technical Academy Awards, for the alpha channel and digital paint systems. He invented the first full-colour paint program, the HSV (or HSB) colour transform, and the alpha channel. 

Smith was instrumental, as a Regent, in initiating the Visible Human Project of the National Library of Medicine and was a star witness in a trial that successfully invalidated five patents that threatened Adobe Photoshop. He was also active in the development of the HDTV standard. 

Smith holds a Ph.D. from Stanford University and an honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University. He is a member of the National Academy of Engineering, a Fellow of the American Association for the Advancement of Science, and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. 

Smith is the creator of many pieces of computer art, including Sunstone in the collection of the Museum of Modern Art in New York.

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