President, Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios and Disneytoon Studios
Dr. Ed Catmull is co-founder of Pixar Animation Studios and President of Pixar and Walt Disney Animation Studios, and Disneytoon Studios. Previously, Dr. Catmull was vice President of the Computer Division of Lucasfilm Ltd., where he managed development in the areas of computer graphics, video editing, video games and digital audio.
Dr. Catmull founded three of the leading centers of computer graphics research – the computer graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology, the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd. and Pixar Animation Studios. These organizations have been home to many of the most academically respected researchers in the field and have produced some of the most fundamental advances in computer graphics, including image compositing, motion blur, subdivision surfaces, cloth simulation and rendering techniques, texture mapping and the z-buffer. Dr. Catmull is one of the architects of the RenderMan rendering software, which has been used in 44 of the last 47 films nominated for an Academy Award® in the Visual Effects category.
In addition to being a member of IEEE’s Computer Society since 1978, Dr. Catmull is active in several professional organizations. He is a Fellow of the Association for Computer Machinery (ACM), the Computer History Museum, and a dedicated participant in the ACM SIGGRAPH conference for nearly 30 years. Dr. Catmull also is a member of The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the National Academy of Engineering and the Visual Effects Society. In 2012, Dr. Catmull was inducted as a Visual Effects Society Fellow, in recognition of his pivotal leadership in the art and science of computer graphics and visual effects.
Dr. Catmull has been honored with five Academy Awards, and one Academy Award of Merit for his work; in addition to the Gordon E. Sawyer Award for his lifetime of technical contributions and leadership in the field of computer graphics for the motion picture industry.
Dr. Catmull also received the ACM SIGGRAPH Steven A. Coons Award for his lifetime contributions in the computer graphics field, the Progress Medal and the Fuji Gold Medal awards from the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers, and the animation industry’s Ub Iwerks Award for technical advancements in the art or industry of animation. Additionally, he was the recipient of the IEEE’s John von Neumann Medal for fundamental contributions to computer graphics and a pioneering use of computer animation in motion pictures. In 2011, Dr. Catmull received the Society of Motion Picture & Television Engineer’s Progress Medal for his life-long pioneering contributions and visionary leadership in the field of computer generated imagery for the motion picture industry.
Catmull’s book, the New York Times bestseller, “CREATIVITY, INC.: Overcoming the Unseen Forces That Stand in the Way of True Inspiration,” and which Fast Company described as “what just might be the most thoughtful management book ever,” was published by Random House in 2014.
Dr. Catmull earned B.S. degrees in computer science and physics and a Ph.D. in computer science from the University of Utah. In 2005, the University of Utah presented him with an Honorary Doctoral Degree in Engineering.