Artifact Details


The Inception of Computer Graphics at the University of Utah

Catalog Number



Moving Image


Recorded during a joint meeting of the Silicon Valley Special Interest Group in Graphics (SIGGRAPH) and Bay Area Computer Perspectives, speakers John Warnock (Adobe), Ed Catmull (Pixar), Frank Crow (Apple), and Lance Williams (Apple) discuss their various experiences at the University of Utah, a center for computer graphics research. Warnock begins by recounting the founding of the Utah graphics lab, and the individuals who moved on to bring Utah’s graphics techniques to Silicon Valley. Catmull discusses his early experiences as a student, including stories of his classes with Alan Kay, and screens his 1972 student film The Computer Animated Hand, and tells of his interactions with his advisor, Ivan Sutherland. Crow displays a series of slides of computer graphics and of University of Utah, including work by Warnock, Bui Tuong-Phong, and Ron Resch, as well as the lab environments and the devices used there like the DEC PDP-10 computer, Evans & Sutherland frame buffers, drum scanners, line drawing systems, and a specially-built film recorder. Williams discusses work by Jef Raskin, including the FLOW language, and compares the work being done at Utah with Ohio State, and reads a paper he wrote from roughly 1975 describing his vision of the requirements for advancing computer graphics. Following the presentation is an extended audience question and answer session, followed by a screening of 15 minutes of student work from University of Utah in the late 1970s. There are some minor audio problems throughout the video.




Catmull, Edwin, Speaker
Crow, Frank, Speaker
Warnock, John, Speaker
Williams, Lance, Speaker


Sun Microsystems

Place of Publication






Series Title

Bay Area Computer History Perspectives