Sogitec was very active in the early to mid-80s in CGI production in France. Their productions were innovative, and the image quality was superb. Some of the active participants in Sogitec were Xavier Nicolas, Veronique Damian, and David Salesin, who is now at the University of Washington after some time at Lucasfilm and Pixar. Sogitec became a subsidiary of Dassault Aviation in France, and is now involved in simulation, but not in CGI directly.
In 1988, Nicolas formed ExMachina, which has proven to be one of the leaders of CGI in Tokyo and Paris. They are also working in location based entertainment and the "Large Screen" entertainment industry, including simulation, 3D and Imax formats.
Animation World Magazine article on Sogitec / Ex Machina
ExMachina - France
Founded by Bill and Sue Kroyer in 1986, they specialize in combining CG and hand animation. Bill Kroyer worked as a traditional animator for Disney in the late 70s and went with Robert Abel and Associates in 1982.
The studio produced such projects as the animated feature film, FernGully, The Last Rainforest for 20th Century Fox, the 1988 Academy Award-nominated short film Technological Threat and the title sequences for Honey I Shrunk the Kids, Troop Beverly Hills, National LampoonÕs Christmas Vacation and the Making of Me for the World Health Pavilion at Epcot Center in Disney World, and the TV series UltraCross. They are currently developing a live-action/computer animated feature film for Warner Bros. Studios and are in production on The Boy From New York City, an animated short film Sue wrote and designed.
Other employees of Kroyer include Kendra Haaland (Disney -Hercules) and Kevin Bjorke, who is now at ILM and worked with Kroyer at DP/Abel.
Bill and Sue Kroyer
From the SIGGRAPH 89 Panels, here is a short presentation by Bill Kroyer on the making of Technological Threat
Interview with Bill Kroyer from Animation World Magazine, April 1996
ReZ.n8 was formed in 1987 by Paul Sidlo (formerly creative Director at Cranston/Csuri Productions) and Evan Ricks. They quickly gained a reputation as a world leader in conceptualizing, designing and producing state-of-the-art computer graphics, animation and special effects for major corporations and the entertainment industry, including broadcast, theatrical and commercial markets. ReZ.n8 has won numerous awards, including Emmys in 1995 and 1998 for the NFL on Fox Sports graphics and in 1992 and 1994 for broadcast design for the CBS Olympic Winter Games. ReZ.n8 received BDA Awards in 1996 for designing the Pro-Sieben web site and in 1997 for CBS Sports content graphics. ReZ.n8 has been nominated for a 1998 BDA Award for its work as the sole provider for all graphics used in the CBS telecast of the 1998 Olympic Winter Games.
ReZ.n8's production manager has supervised computer generated effects work for such large-scale productions as "Titanic," "The Fifth Element," and "Dante's Peak." They have a fully integrated computer production environment featuring a state-of-the-art Windows NT network, as well as Mac and Unix networks and top-of-the-line SGI servers. Clients can preview the results of their work in a state-of-the-art multimedia facility, which features a high-definition projection theater, surround sound and real-time interaction.
Digital Studio story on Rez.n8
Rez.n8 web site
Founded in 1987 by James Kristoff (Cranston/Csuri Productions), Mits Kaneko (JCGL), and Dobbie Schiff (Cranston/Csuri), MetroLight brought many experienced animators and designers to work on projects in film and television. The company started in the former Abel facility in Hollywood, with some of the old Abel equipment and a number of former Abel and CCP employees (including Tim McGovern, Doc Baily, Neil Eskuri, Al Dinoble, Con Pederson, Jim Hillen, Jim Rygiel (Abel), Steve Martino, Mark Steeves, Jon Townley, and Tom Hutchison (CCP).)
Beginning work in broadcast television, they expanded into theaters with a series of computer animated trailers for AMC Theaters. These spots, featuring the character "Clip", gave the cinema chain a distinctive "look" and began its long business association with MetroLight. MetroLight made a mark in feature film with 1989's Total Recall. The project required animating "skeletons" as characters passed through a futuristic security device capable of detecting anything from a weapon to a slipped disk. MetroLight won the Oscar for Visual Effects that year the first for use of CGI in a feature film.
While continuing work in commercials and film, Metrolight has been exploring the possibilities of CGI in music videos and interactive software. They have also worked in the location entertainment field, with productions for theme park rides, and have experimented with CG for games. They also wrote the 2D MetroCel software, which was used for Ren & Stimpy and later sold to Michael Milken's 7th Level
Metrolight's web site
Founded in 1987 by former Abel employee Michael Wahrman and former DP director Brad deGraf after the folding of DOA. Tom McMahon of Symbolics helped finance the company and provided equipment and software.
Their bios follow:
Brad deGraf, founder, and CEO of Dotcomix, has long been a leader in applying computer animation to entertainment, particularly in the areas of real-time character animation, ride films, and the Web. From 1992 through 1994, he was Director of Digital Media at Colossal Pictures, which he and his partners spun off to create Protozoa. Prior to Colossal, he was founder and head of production for deGraf/Wahrman, Head of Technical Direction at Digital Productions and lead software designer and programmer at SAIC for the US Army National Training Center. His credits include: "Mike the Talking Head", the first live performance of a virtual character; "Moxy" on the Cartoon Network , the first virtual character for television; "Floops", at vrml.sgi.com, the first episodic VRML Web animation. Also, Peter Gabriel's Grammy award-winning video, "Steam"; "The Funtastic World of Hanna-Barbera", Universal Studios Florida., the first computer-generated ride film; "Journey to the 4th Dimension", Sanrio Puroland, Japan, the first stereoscopic ride film; "Robocop: The Ride" for Iwerks Entertainment Turbo Tours; and numerous feature films, including The Last Starfighter, 2010, Robocop 2, and Jetsons: The Movie. In a previous life, Brad designed and created sculptural furniture on commission. He studied architecture at Princeton University and holds a B.A. in Mathematics from the University of California at San Diego.
Michael Wahrman has worked in computer animation research and production since 1982. Starting before there were established techniques and programs for computer animation, he has contributed to the planning, design and production of motion picture, theme park and special venue, and interactive computer animation. His recent motion picture credits include Starship Troopers, Event Horizon, What Dreams May Come, and the Dream Pictures Studio full-length animated feature film Hopper. He has pioneered production technology in computer animation and visual effects for film and in real time computer generated characters (performance animation). He is currently senior visual effects advisor on the rebuild of the Hayden Planetarium and to the Digital Galaxy Project of NASA. Mr. Wahrman is also serving his second term on the board of the New York Chapter of ACM Siggraph, his fourth year on the jury of PRIX Ars Electronica of Linz, Austria, and is a consultant to Viacom International in the technology office in the areas of computer animation and for motion picture and interactive entertainment. Mr. Wahrman was recently awarded an Academy Award for Scientific and Technical Merit for his contributions to the Wavefront Animation System. Wahrman helped design the production system at Abel and produced the SIGGRAPH 87 film Stanley and Stella, which featured the Boids software of Craig Reynolds from Symbolics.
Animation World Magazine article on Dotcomix
Founded in 1987 by former Abel and Associates people John Hughes, Keith Goldfarb, Charlie Gibson and Pauline T'so, and Omnibus person Larry Weinberg R&H is one of the most reputable CG firms in the industry and a leading producer of character animation and visual effects for the entertainment industry. The company's work is prominently featured in movies, commercials and theme park attractions.
Based in Marina del Rey, California, the studio's 70,000 square foot facility is a creative home for more than 300 artists and staff. In 1995, Rhythm & Hues was honored with the Academy Award for Best Visual Effects for its work on "Babe," recently named one of the Top Ten films of the 1990's by the Associated Press. The Commercial Division is well known for its recent work on the Mazda "Cool World" commercials, as well as the ongoing Coca Cola "Polar Bear" campaign. The studio is the recipient of top awards from both national and international competitions include the CLIOS, The New York Festivals, the International Monitor Awards, Monte Carlo's Imagina Awards and The Emmy Awards. In addition, R&H has received two Scientific & Technical Academy Awards.
Their facility houses live action and animation directors, animators, painters, modelers, producers, programmers, writers, technical and production support. They have contributed work for the Nutty Professor, Spawn, Mouse Hunt, Babe, Waterworld, Batman, Ace Ventura, Bedazzled, Little Nicky, Fighting Like Cats and Dogs, Red Planet, the Sixth Day and others. The also contributed shots to Hollow Man, (Sony), X-Men (Fox), Frequency, (Lead house, New Line) and Fantasia 2000, for Walt Disney Studios. They are also well known for the Coca Cola bears that raced into our TVs during the Olympics, as well as the theme park rides Seafari and the Jetsons at Universal Studios, Florida.
Besides their film, television and theme park work R&H is producing 3D CG for games, including Eggs of Steel for PlayStation.
In 1999 R&H bought VIFX, and former Abel employees Richard Hollander rejoined Richard Taylor and Bill Kroyer who have joined R&H.
Rhythm and Hues web site
The making of Coca Cola Bears (11 MB)
Santa Barbara Studios (SBS) was formed in 1990 by John Grower, formerly Supervisor of Special Effects at Robert Abel Associates, Post-Production Art Director on Tron for Walt Disney Pictures, and Director of Production at Wavefront Technologies. At SBS, Grower developed the unique Dynamation software system to render a new generation of highly realistic computer imagery. Santa Barbara Studios has specialized in astronomical imagery while working with NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory, the Smithsonian Institution and Science North Museum. Their imagery has been featured in the IMAX space film Destiny In Space; the 70mm 3D film Shooting Star; the six-part PBS television series The Astronomers; Other Worlds: A Tour of the Solar System,a featured highlight of the National Air and Space Museum's exhibit "Where Next, Columbus?" and 500 Nations for CBS-TV, which featured astoundingly realistic reconstructions of the great cities of native cultures in North and South America.
They have also contributed CG work for An American Werewolf in Paris, Spawn, Star Trek: Generations, and Star Trek - Insurrections, as well as the opening sequences for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine and Star Trek: Voyager. (Santa Barbara also did the beautiful melting comet sequence seen in TNG's "Masks".) Some of the most hauntingly beautiful imagery done with computers was done by SBS for the PBS Special 500 Nations. SBS also contributed to the IMAX feature Cosmic Voyage. They worked with Square LA on the PlayStation game Parasite Eve.
Key employees included Janet Grower, Bill Kovacs, Will Rivera, Eric Guagliani, Bruce Jones, Phil Brock, Eric DeJong, Mark Wendell, Diane Holland and Matt Rhodes.
Some images from 500 Nations
Interview with John Grower regarding the making of Cosmic Voyage
Jeff Kleiser and Diana Walczak
In 1987, Jeff Kleiser (Digital Effects) and Diana Walczak formed Kleiser-Walczak Construction Company in order to build databases as a commercial service. They experimented with CG actors, which they called Synthespians. Synthespians are a new brand of animated three-dimensional characters with a high degree of life-like motion. Forged from the imagination of a human sculptor, these synthetic actors are brought to life through the process of computer generated imagery (CGI) and human motion capture to create a wholly unique style of animation with vast application to the entertainment industry. Two of the best animations involving Synthespians are Don't Touch Me, starring the computer-generated singer Dozo, and Sextone for President.
In 1990, the company produced twelve minutes of high-end cosmic simulation for the PBS series The Astronomers. This project caught the attention of Doug Trumbull (2001: A Space Odyssey, Close Encounters, Blade Runner, Silent Running, Brainstorm), who awarded the company a multimillion dollar contract to set up a facility on-site at the Trumbull Company in Lenox, Massachusetts, to produce films for Luxor Las Vegas. Kleiser-Walczak provided all the computer animation digitally composted with live action in Vistavision at 48 frames per second and a 2 1/2 minute stereoscopic film that was entirely computer-generated.
In 1992, Kleiser-Walczak teamed up with Santa Barbara Studios to simulate four ancient North American cities for the Pathways/Kevin Costner production of 500 Nations. In 1993, Kleiser and Walczak teamed with Randal Kleiser who directed Disney's Honey, I Blew Up the Kid to produce numerous visual effects shots combining live action and computer animation. They also produced animation for German director Roland Emmerich's Stargate, Paramount's Clear and Present Danger, Disney's Honey, I Shrunk the Theater, Judge Dredd, and a stereoscopic logo-opener for IMAX films. Michael Jackson chose Kleiser-Walczak to design an album cover and video jacket for his anthology album, HIStory. For this project, Diana Walczak supervised a four-camera shoot of Jackson and created a highly detailed sculpture of him for digitization and rendering.
In 1997 the company recently relocated its main facility to the Massachusetts Museum of Contemporary Art in North Adams, MA where they are to open Synthespian Studios, a production facility designed specifically to create computer-generated characters. Having recently completing effects and character animation for last year's action movie
KWCC web site
Karl Sims received a B.S. in Life Sciences from MIT in 1984. After working at Thinking Machines Corporation for a year he returned to MIT to study graphics and animation at the Media Laboratory and received an M.S. in Visual Studies in 1987. He then joined the production research team at Whitney/Demos Production in California, and later became co-founder and director of research for hollywood based Optomystic. He worked at Thinking Machines Corporation as an artist-in-residence and was sometimes employed elsewhere as a part time consultant.He currently leads GenArts, Inc. in Cambridge, Massachusetts, which creates special effects software plugins for various packages used for the motion picture industry.
Sims became known for his particle system studies in Excerpts from Leonardo's Deluge and Particle Dreams (1988). He one the Prix Ars Electronica Golden Nica award two years in a row, in 1991 for Panspermia, and in 1992 for Liquid Selves and Primordial Dance. He has contributed greatly to the graphics world in the area of artificial evolution and virtual creatures. In 1998 he was awarded a prestigious Macarthur Foundation fellowship.
Link to Sims Home page
Image from Panspermia
Image from Panspermia
Image from Panspermia
Image from Panspermia
Image from Liquid Selves
Image from Liquid Selves
Clip from Panspermia
Clip from Liquid Selves
Siggraph '94 animation on evolving virtual creatures using physical dynamics
Above: Solar orbits
Wayne Lytle began his graphics career as a visualization staff member at the Cornell Theory Center. He received a Master's degree from Cornell in 1989 with his thesis titled A modular testbed for realistic image synthesis. His first full multi-instrument music animation "More Bells and Whistles" premiered in the Electronic Theater at SIGGRAPH 1990. It has since won awards and been shown in various contexts world-wide. In 1991 Lytle received an award from IBM for his early work in music animation. Lytle also contributed to the debate about standards for visual representation, which persists along with questions about numerical simulations. This was illustrated by an animation from the Cornell Theory Center by Lytle called The Dangers of Glitziness and Other Visualization Faux Pas, using fictitious software named "Viz-o-Matic." The video, shown in the Electronic Theater at SIGGRAPH 93, documents the enhancement and subsequent "glitz buffer overload" of a sparsely data-driven visualization trying to parade as a data-driven, thoughtfully rendered presentation.
In 1995, Lytle formed Animusic, a content creation company. Two of the more famous animations are Stick Figures and Pipe Dreams, shown at SIGGRAPH 2000 and 2001, respectively. The principle focus of Animusic is the production of 3D computer graphics music animation. Animusic uses proprietary motion generation software called MIDImotionTM. Without this software, animating instruments using traditional "keyframing" techniques would be prohibitively time-consuming, and inaccurate. By combining motion generated by approximately 12 algorithms (each with 10 to 50 parameters), the instrument animation is automatically generated with sub-frame accuracy. If the music is changed, the animation is regenerated effortlessly.
The technique differs significantly from reactive sound visualization technology, as made popular by music player plug-ins. Rather than reacting to sound with undulating shapes, the animation is correlated to the music at a note-for-note granularity, based on a non-real-time analysis pre-process. Animusic instruments generally appear to generate the music heard, rather than respond to it.
At any given instant, not only do they take into account the notes currently being played, but also notes recently played and those coming up soon. These factors are combined to derive "intelligent", natural-moving, self-playing instruments. And although the original instruments created for the"video album" are reminiscent of real instruments, the motion algorithms can be applied to arbitrary graphics models, including non-instrumental objects and abstract shapes.
Chris Landreth - from The End
After graduating from the University of Illinois with a specialty in mechanical engineering, Chris Landreth joined the North Carolina Supercomputing Center as a scientific visualization animator. He later became a Senior Animator at NCSC, where he produced his famous animation "Data Driven: The Story of Franz K."(1993) in which various artistic elements were mixed with sci vis procedures to create a compelling animation. In 1994, he went to Alias/Wavefront as a Senior Animator, where he produced "the end"(which won a number of awards in addition to an Academy Award nomination.) He has become known for his advanced character animations and scientific visualizations which explore unique ways of representing humanity and nature.
Other Landreth works include "The Listener" (1991), "Caustic Sky: A Portrait of Regional Acid Deposition" (1992), and "Bingo" (1998). Bingo is based on the short play "Disregard This Play" by Chicago's Neo-Futurist Theatre Company. The story deals with the age-old question: "What if a lie is told long enough and loud enough?" Bingo is the first animated short fully produced with Alias/Wavefront's new animation software, Maya.
Bingo was originally conceived as an extensive in-house quality assurance project aimed at rigorously testing and demonstrating the technical capabilities of Maya.In his words, "This was in many ways a very unusual production. We were an ad-hoc production studio within a software development company. During this production, people who were programmers, testers and expert users became some of the most brilliant modelers, animators, technical directors and rendering artists I've ever seen in a production environment."
SGI Artist feature
Image from Bingo
Image from Bingo
"Read My Lips", from CGW August 1997 (lip-synch article)
"Hair-Raising Effects" from CGW October 1995 (hair simulation article)
SGI Press release on Bingo
Scientific Visulation article by Landreth and Rheingold
Chris Landreth motion studies
Clip from Bingo
Dow Jones Article
Larry Lamb is President of Lamb & Company. He is also President of affiliated software company, LambSoft. Larry Lamb is a pioneer in the world of 3D animation and computer graphics production. He founded Lamb & Company in 1980 and has been at the forefront of innovation in technology development for computer animation and digital effects for advertising and broadcast for close to two decades. His contributions to the industry include both early adoption and testing of new software systems and the development of proprietary software code on a large scale. He serves on the board of trustees of Minneapolis College of Art & Design (MCAD) and the [Larry Lamb] New Media Advisory Board of the Walker Art Center in Minneapolis.
Larry Lamb has operated a continuous but informal 'test lab' for new computer graphics tools since the company was founded. Lamb & Company is the most senior CG facility in the mid-west and one of the oldest, longest standing, CG companies in America. As such, its history parallels the development of computer animation itself. The first 'cool' tool adopted by Larry Lamb (he says it was before anyone else and we believe him) was a servo-controlled Oxberry animation camera. By 1982, everyone in this niche had to have an Oxberry motion control camera. Hey! Graphics move!
Today Lamb & Company is well known for its character animation, but long before there were characters that moved, there were flying logos. Lamb & Company created some of the world's first when it acquired the first license of Wavefront software. Wavefront allowed Lamb & Company to do production internally without relying on film or outside film support services. The Wavefront Preview software complemented the Oxberry equipment by allowing staff to previsualize the work being done on the computer controlled animation camera. Lamb & Company used the Wavefront system to previsualize the Oxberry animation. This way of working was a 'preview' of the coming the shift to computer graphics in the industry at large.
About the same time, Larry bought the core animation technology developed at Cranston Csuri, one of a handful of 'original' computer animation companies that passed into history. This substantial body of 'prior art' in animation technology served as the basis for Lamb & Company's internal development efforts. Larry was also an early adopter of Silicon Graphics hardware as the platform of choice for animation, and much more recently, added NT machines to its mix.
In 1989, Lamb & Company began to pursue new ways of doing computer animation and began experimenting with motion capture as a means of augmenting keyframe animation. The goal was to develop a computer 'puppet' in order to do high volumes of animation quickly. Two driving needs at the time were the need to produce volume and the need to present personality in the characters. Existing CG looked too 'algorithmic', stiff and just plain computer generated. As part of the exploration of tools to accomplish this, Lamb & Company became the first customer for Virtual Technologies Data data glove. Just having the acquisition device did not constitute an animation solution. It was used as a tool to test motion capture theories as a microcosm system for larger motion capture efforts.
In the early 1990's Larry became the first purchaser of a Discreet Logic FLAME digital paint and compositing and special visual effects system. In 1992, Larry also purchased a full body motion capture suit from Ascension Technologies as part of an experimental effort to reduce production costs on a major new animation. It took Lamb & Company six months to create the first long-format computer generated 3D network TV program in the U.S. "The Incredible Crash Dummies" (Fox). The need to produce 23 minutes, consisting of 82 scenes with 13 characters on the computer at a time when the computer power was much [Larry Lamb] more limited than today continued the quest for productivity and creativity management tools at Lamb & Company.
The next set of breakthroughs dealt with blending keyframe animation and motion capture data and being able to apply motion data to characters that weren't exactly the same as the performer in shape and size. The company proved the technology during the experimental production "Huzzah". This production was the first complete capture of an actor's single performance. Huzzah has won numerous international animation awards. In 1997, Lamb & Company spun off LambSoft, a software technology development company whose goal is to productize motion editing and compositing software created as part of the company's long term efforts around blending motion capture with keyframe animation. In 1998, Larry, and Lamb and Company were featured on "Scientific American Frontiers" hosted by Alan Alda. Click on this link to see more about the "Digital Alan" project. To contact Larry email to email@example.com or call 612-333-8666.
Paul Debevec earned degrees in Math and Computer Engineering at the University of Michigan in 1992 and a Ph.D. in Computer Science at UC Berkeley in 1996. He began working in image-based rendering in 1991 by deriving a textured 3D model of a Chevette from photographs for an animation project. At Interval Research Corporation he contributed to Michael Naimark's Immersion '94 virtual exploration of the Banff National forest and collaborated with Golan Levin on Rouen Revisited, an interactive visualization of the Rouen Cathedral and Monet's related series of paintings. Debevec's Ph.D. thesis presented an interactive method for modeling architectural scenes from photographs and rendering these scenes using projective texture-mapping. With this he led the creation of a photorealistic model of the Berkeley campus for his 1997 film The Campanile Movie whose techniques were later used to create the virtual backgrounds for the "bullet time" shots in the 1999 Keanu Reeves film The Matrix.
Since his Ph.D. Debevec has worked on techniques for capturing real-world illumination and illuminating synthetic objects with real light, facilitating the realistic integration of real and computer generated imagery. His 1999 film Fiat Lux placed towering monoliths and gleaming spheres into a photorealistic reconstruction of St. Peter's Basilica, all illuminated by the light that was actually there. For real objects, Debevec led the development of the Light Stage, a device that allows objects and actors to be synthetically illuminated with any form of lighting. In May 2000 Debevec became the Executive Producer of Graphics Research at USC's Institute for Creative Technologies, where he directs research in virtual actors, virtual environments, and applying computer graphics to creative projects.
(Text below from Cuba's Web site at http://www.well.com/user/cuba/index.html)
Larry Cuba is widely
recognized as a pioneer in the use of computers in animation art. Producing
his first computer animation in 1974, Cuba was at the forefront of the computer-animation
artists considered the "second generation" --- those who directly
followed the visionaries of the sixties: John Whitney, Sr., Stan Vanderbeek
and Lillian Schwartz.
While still a graduate student at The California Institute of the Arts, he was convinced of the artistic potential of computer graphics, but this was years before art schools began teaching the subject. Cuba's solution was to solicit access to the mainframe computers at NASA's Jet Propulsion Lab and teach himself computer animation by producing his first film, First Fig.
In 1975, John Whitney, Sr. invited Cuba to be the programmer on one of his films. The result of this collaboration was Arabesque.
Subsequently, Cuba produced three more computer-animated films: 3/78 (Objects and Transformations), Two Space, and Calculated Movements. These works were shown at film festivals throughout the world---including Los Angeles, Hiroshima, Zagreb and Bangkok---and have won numerous awards. Cuba's been invited to present his work at various conferences such as Siggraph, ISEA, Ars Electronica, and Art and Math Moscow and his films have been included in screenings at New York's Museum of Modern Art, The Hirshhorn Museum, The San Francisco Museum of Modern Art, The Art Institute of Chicago, The Amsterdam Filmmuseum and the Isetan Museum of Art, Tokyo.
Cuba received grants for his work from the American Film Institute and The National Endowment for the Arts and was awarded a residency at the Center for Art and Media Technology Karlsruhe (ZKM). He has served on the juries for the Siggraph Electronic Theater, the Montpellier Festival of Abstract Film, The Ann Arbor Film Festival and Ars Electronica.
Scene from Two Space (1979)
Briefing from the movie Star Wars; graphics done by Cuba on DeFanti's GRASS system at UICC
(Self portrait above from Bell Labs site; Text below from Schwartz' Web site at http://www.lillian.com)
Lillian Schwartz is best known for her pioneering work in the use of computers for what has since become known as computer-generated art and computer-aided art analysis, including graphics, film, video, animation, special effects, Virtual Reality and Multimedia. Her work was recognized for its aesthetic success and was the first in this medium to be acquired by The Museum of Modern Art. Her contributions in starting a new field of endeavor in the arts, art analysis, and the field of virtual reality have been recently awarded Computer-World Smithsonian Awards.
Schwartz began her computer art career as an offshoot of her merger of art and technology, which culminated in the selection of her kinetic sculpture, Proxima Centauri, by The Museum of Modern Art for its epoch-making 1968 Machine Exhibition. She then expanded her work into the computer area, becoming a consultant at the AT&T Bell Laboratories, IBM's Thomas J. Watson Research Laboratory and at Lucent Technologies Bell Labs Innovations. On her own, and with leading scientists, engineers, physicists, and psychologists, she developed effective techniques for the use of the computer in film and animation.
Besides establishing computer art as a viable field of endeavor, Schwartz additionally contributed to scientific research areas such as visual and color perception, and sound. Her own personal efforts have led to the use of the computer in the philosophy of art, whereby data bases containing information as to palettes and structures of paintings, sculptures and graphics by artists such as Picasso and Matisse are used by Schwartz to analyze the choices of those artists and to investigate the creative process itself.
Her contributions to electronic art analysis, and restoration, have been recognized, specifically in Italian Renaissance painting and frescoe. Her work with colleagues to construct 3-dimensional models of the Refectory at Santa Maria Grazie to study the perspective construction of Leonardo's Last Supper and, more recently, a finite element model of the Leaning Tower of Pisa to aid in the preservation of the tower in understanding its structure, have proved invaluable to Art Historians and Restorers.
Schwartz's education began immediately after World War II when she studied Chinese brushwork with Tshiro in Japan. Over the following years she studied the fine arts with professionals such as Giannini, Kearns, and Joe Jones. She is self-taught with regard to film and computer interfacing, and programming. Schwartz has always had close ties to the academic community, having been a visiting member of the Computer Science Department at the University of Maryland; an adjunct professor at the Kean College, Fine Arts Department; an adjunct professor at The Rutger's University Visual Arts Department; an adjunct professor at the Psychology Department, School of Arts and Sciences, New York University; and is currently a member of the International Guidance Panel, under the co-sponsorship for The Society for Excellence Through Education, Israel, Teachers College, Columbia University and S.A.G.E., and a Member of the Graduate Faculty of The School of Visual Arts, NYC. She has also been an Artist in Residence at Channel 13, WNET.
Schwartz's work has been much in demand internationally both by museums and festivals. For example, her films have been shown and won awards at the Venice Biennale, Zagreb, Cannes, The National Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, and nominated and received Emmy nominations and award. Her work has been exhibited at and is owned by museums such as The Museum of Modern Art, The Metropolitan Museum of Art, The Whitney Museum of American Art, The Moderna Museet (Stockholm), Centre Beauborg (Paris), Stedlijk Museum of Art (Amsterdam), and the Grand Palais Museum (Paris).
Representing the United States, Schwartz has been a guest lecturer in over two dozen countries, ranging from the Royal College of Art in London to the US/China Cultural Relations speaker in the People's Republic of China. Schwartz has also had numerous other fellowships, and honors conferred upon her, including a Doctor of Humane Letters Honoris Causa from Kean College, New Jersey, and grants from the National Endowment For The Arts and The Corporation For Public Broadcasting. Most recently she has received Computerworld Smithsonian Awards in three categories: For the Application of the Computer as a Medium in the Arts, including Graphics, Film/Video, and Special Effects; pioneering work in the field of Virtual Reality; and for her contributions in special editing techniques in Media and Arts & Entertainment.
She has been the subject of numerous articles, books, and television news and documentary programs. She is a Fellow in The World Academy of Art & Science. She has been appointed as a committee member of the National Research Council Committee on IInformation Technology and Creativity under the Computer Science and Telecommunications Board of The National Academies from May, 2000 to December, 2001. Schwartz is the author (together with Laurens R. Schwartz) of The Computer Artist's Handbook, W.W. Norton & Company.
one of "art's leading ladies"