Computer graphics

Two days ago I received the annual ACM/SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award. I wouldn’t have mentioned it here, but quite a few people have been asking me to put my acceptance speech on-line. Here it is:

I am going to tell you why I think this is such an unbelievable honor. Because computer graphics is important. Until us the only human medium capable of absolutely infinite possibility was the written word: Shakespeare, Molière, Cervantes, Goethe, Austen. But as Lance Williams has said: “Computer graphics is limited only by your imagination.” Only we have the power to enable people to actually see their dreams come alive. And to do this has required a new way of thinking.

The late Rich Gold spoke of the four kinds of creator: Artist, Scientist, Engineer, and Designer. Most of the world foolishly believes these are different people. But everyone in this room knows better: each of us must learn to be a synthesis of all of them. And those of us who know this, recognize each other.

I think that’s why this field is built on generosity. From the beginning, I had many teachers and mentors, giants who recognized in me, a skinny kid from New York still wet behind the ears, this shared passion to fuse mathematics with art, the beauty of science with the science of beauty.

Great visionaries like Jim Blinn, Turner Whitted, Frank Crow, my thesis advisor David Lowe, my mentor at NYU Jack Schwartz, and so many others, who went out of their way, took the time to help and encourage me to see a universe in a marble vase, all for the sake of this shared belief in infinite possibility. I learned from them that it’s important not only to live this synthesis, but to teach it, to inspire and encourage those who come after.

So here is what I would like to ask each of you, the young men and women of computer graphics: To make wise use of your extraordinary power to bring dreams to life, to fight against the world’s foolish belief that art and science are irreconcilable disciplines, and to always aim to teach and inspire the next generation, with everything you do. For, as Arthur O’Shaughnessy said: We are the music makers, and we are the dreamers of dreams.

Thank you.

6 Responses to “Computer graphics”

  1. dmt says:


  2. Misha3d says:

    This award is truly deserved.

  3. asmCode says:

    yeah!! demoscene rulez!;) congratulations!

  4. Bernadette says:


  5. Allison says:

    mazel tov!

  6. sally says:

    hey! you told me that in the treehouse!!!

    (congratulations, you olde tymer you!)

Leave a Reply