Note: All images are copyright their respective owners.
Adam Powers, The Juggler © Triple I
Notable for: One of the first successful attempts to create a “photorealistic” animated human.
The Genesis Effect from Star Trek II - The Wrath of Khan © Pixar
Notable for: Particle-based effects
Trivia: The effect was so successful that the footage was also used in Star Trek III as well. At the time, Pixar was Lucasfilm’s Computer Graphics Research Group.
Skeleton Animation System (SAS) © Dave Zeltzer
The Road to Point Reyes © Pixar
Notable for: Particle-based plants, fractal scenery, complex shaders.
Brilliance © Robert Able & Associates
Trivia: First computer generated 30 second commercial.
The Works, © NYIT
Trivia: The Works was an ambitious attempt in the 1980 by New York Institute of Technology to create a fully CGI film. Although it was a failure (the script was never even fully written), many people involved in the project went on to be key players in other CGI companies.
Notable for: Use of Shade Trees.
1984 from Distributed Ray Tracing paper © Pixar
Notable for: Motion blur, depth of field, penumbras.
Trivia: Rendered on a Cray X-MP supercomputer.
The Adventures of Andre and Wally B. © Pixar
Notable for: Highly detailed forest backgrounds.
Trivia: John Lasseter wrote Tricks to Animating Characters with a Computer in response to discovering that many people in computer graphics had little or no background in “classical” animation principles, and wanted to know what “cool new technology” the video used.
Luxo, Jr © Pixar Animation Studios
Notable for: ZBuffer shadow maps.
“A Simple Model of Ocean Waves” A. Fournier and W.T. Reeves
Tin Toy © Pixar Animation Studios
Notable for: Appearance of human.
Textbook Strike © Tom Porter/Flip Philips
Trivia: Created as the cover of Steve Upstill’s RenderMan Companion book.
Knick Knack © Pixar Animation Studios
Notable for: Being entertaining to non-geeks.
Trivia: When re-released as a theatre short, the size of the mermaid’s breasts were significantly reduced.
The Abyss © 20th Century Fox - Directed by James Cameron
In the sequence a water creature (called Pseudopod) emerges from a pool of water, extends itself and explores an underwater oil-rig and then interacts with live characters. It was done by Industrial Light and Magic (ILM).