Alvy Ray Smith, CGI
guru, director of computer graphics research at Lucasfilm
, co-founder of Pixar
(he gave Pixar its name), founder of Altamira Software
and Graphics Fellow
He has been involved in a wide range of projects related to computer graphics: at LucasFilm directed the Genesis Demo of Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, while in Pixar, he directed John Lasseter in The Adventures of Andre & Wally B, (at Pixar Lasseter later directed Tin Toy, the first completely computer-generated film and Toy Story, both awarded with Oscars].
Alvy Ray also initiated CAPS (Computer Animation Production System), a project between Pixar and Disney that includes the hardware and software system that Disney now uses for its 2D animated feature films like Beauty and the Beast, Aladdin, The Lion King, Pocahontas, The Hunchback of Notre Dame, Hercules, etc.
His product Altamira Composer introduced the concept of image objects (sprites), based on the alpha channel concept, which he coinvented. Altamira was acquired by Microsoft in 1994, and some of their technology is present in products like PhotoDraw and Image Composer.
He's famous for saying that reality is eighty million polygons a second >.