The Origins Of 3D Graphics And No, It Didn't Start In The Movies!

How does someone learn how to create 3D graphics? What does one represent to themselves when they think about this? How is it connected to a former US President from Missouri?

Most laypeople when thinking about 3D, think about 3 dimensional. They may possibly be thinking about going to the movies, and seeing the latest sci-fi thriller with all its incredible 3D graphics creating an experience that is really quite surreal.

To capture this experience they may have had to acquire a special pair of darkened 3 D glasses, in the foyer on the way in. Everyone sitting there in the audience eating their popcorn really couldn't care less how much of a dork they may look, this is an experience not to be missed and if the glasses do the trick in bringing this experience to life, then so be it!

So where did this idea originally come from, who coined this expression and what kind of industry was it originally used in, was it actually conceived with motion pictures in mind? Well the answer to the last question is no.

The use of 3D graphics would not come along in motion pictures until 1976 with computer animation, this in itself was based on an earlier experiment with a movie short made 1n 1971, by two Utah students, by the name of Fred Parke and Edwin Catmull.

As far as the origins of this expression, one need look no further than to the birthplace of U.S. President Harry S. Truman, that is of course Independence, Missouri, as dedicated historians will know.

In the early 1950's whilst working as an art director in Chicago for 'Family Week', William Fetter of Independence, Mo. and his creative juices were flowing with his notion of creating "dummies" that could take on multiple transformations with the aid of the early day computers. He later moved on to the Boeing company where he headed up their graphic design department and now recognized as one of a few computer graphics pioneers, was the first person to create computer aided 3 dimensional human figures.

This in turn enabled engineers and airplane designers to clearly visualise human bodies during landings. The term computer graphics was also thus born in conjunction with his boss and he was also accredited with coining the term 3D graphics. This is where it all started.