Alvy Ray Smith

Co-Founder // Pixar

Cofounded two successful startups: Pixar (see Pixar founding documents) and Altamira (sold to Microsoft). Was present at the beginning of computer graphics at Lucasfilm and the New York Institute of Technology. Was the first Graphics Fellow at Microsoft. Received two technical Academy Awards for the alpha channel concept and for digital paint systems.

Invented, directed, originated, or otherwise instrumental in the following developments: first full-color paint program, HSV (aka HSB) color model, alpha channel and image sprites, Genesis Demo in Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, first Academy-Award winning computer-generated short Tin Toy, first computer-generated film Toy Story, Academy-Award winning Disney animation production system CAPS, and the Visible Human Project of the National Library of Medicine.

Was a star witness in a trial that successfully invalidated five patents that threatened Adobe Photoshop. Has PhD from Stanford University and honorary doctorate from New Mexico State University. Is a member of the National Academy of Engineering.

Has published widely in theoretical computer science and computer graphics, and holds four patents. Retired in 2000 to devote time to the emerging artform of digital photography and to scholarly genealogy, to which he has contributed two award-winning books and half a dozen learned journal papers. He is Trustee Emeritus of the New England Historic Genealogical Society, Boston, and a Fellow of the American Society of Genealogists. He is now writing a book on the biography of the pixel. For more see alvyray.com.

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