Community Learning Space

The infraNET Project and Faculty of Math, University of Waterloo

present ...

From "The Last Starfighter" to "Star Trek: Insurrection" - 
The Evolution of Computer Animation


Kim Davidson

Recipient of the 1999
J.W. Graham Medal in Computing & Innovation

President and COO, Side Effects Software

Friday, June 18, 1999
2:30 p.m. - 4:00 p.m.

Davis Centre, Room 1302
University of Waterloo

View Presentation Here


Fifteen years ago, computer animation was revolutionizing the look of films, TV and videos - from spaceships rendered on a Cray supercomputer for the film "The Last Starfighter", to chrome hockey pucks rendered on a DEC VAX for "Hockey Night In Canada". Today, computer animation is a vital part of virtually every film, commercial, and game on the market. These images are the manifestation of a large, evolving computer animation industry: an industry subject to technological advances and paradigm shifts which create enormous business challenges for those involved. Through use of animation and images, this talk will provide insight into the technical and business challenges of the 3D animation (or digital content creation) industry, both past and present.

Kim Davidson

Kim Davidson is President and COO of Side Effects Software and President and Executive Producer of Catapult Productions, makers of the children's TV series, Monster By Mistake. After graduating from the University of Waterloo (BES,1977 and BMath, 1981), Kim worked at Human Computer Resources (HCR —now SCO). In 1984, he moved to the computer animation firm, Omnibus, where he spearheaded development on the proprietary in-house software that was to become PRISMS. Early in his career, Kim helped create over two hundred broadcast spots and logos for CBC, ABC and TSN. Last year Kim was one of four Side Effects Software employees to receive a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Pictures Arts and Science for his work in developing PRISMS.

Kim Davidson will receive the J.W. Graham Medal in Computing and Innovation at convocation at the University of Waterloo on June 19, 1999.

Side Effects Software

Established in 1987, is a world leader in advanced 3D graphics and special effects software for use in film, broadcast and game development. Side Effects Software continues to lead the field of procedural animation with its unique visual network technology. The company's main product, Houdini, is used by a number of digital content creation leaders including Digital Domain, DreamWorks SKG, Rhythm & Hues and Sony Pictures Imageworks. Recent film projects created with Houdini include: The Matrix, eXistenZ, Prince of Egypt, and What Dreams May Come.

For more information

Shirley Fenton
The infraNET Project
Computer Systems Group, University of Waterloo
(519) 888-4074

Seminar Sponsorship

This seminar is sponsored by the Faculty of Mathematics and The infraNET Project, University of Waterloo.

The infraNET Project, initiated by the University of Waterloo in 1996, is a partnership to advance Web and Internet technologies. Its founding partners are: INFORIUM, MKS, Open Text, RIM, Sybase (Waterloo) and Waterloo Maple.

We also gratefully acknowledge the assistance of the Institute for Computer Research, University of Waterloo.