Behind the Scenes at Pixar
Rob was the co-architect and primary author of RenderMan, software that creates photo-realistic computer images. Every film nominated for a Visual Effects Oscar in the last 15 years has used RenderMan. In 2001, along with two colleagues, Rob received an Oscar for his contributions, the first ever given for software. He has also received the Steven A. Coons Award for lifetime achievement in computer graphics and was inducted into the National Academy of Engineering. Rob has a Bachelor's degree in Physics from Duke University and a Master's in Computer Graphics from Cornell University. At Cornell, he worked on simulating realistic surfaces, taking computer-generated images beyond the distinctive plastic look they had at the time. In 1981, he joined Lucasfilm / Pixar, where he developed the first programmable shader, which is now an essential part of GPUs and game engines. He was the first to use Monte Carlo techniques in computer graphics, which was essential for the simulation of complex, realistic lights and camera effects. The latter proved particularly important in the special effects industry, because it allowed computer-generated imagery to match the motion blur and depth of field of the live-action footage with which it was combined. He is currently the Vice President of Advanced Technology at Pixar.