Halfway through the decade Douglas Engelbart from Stanford University introduced to the world his invention that was to conquer the whole world – a computer mouse. He is also the father of hypertext and certain elements of graphic interface. In 1967 he applied to patent the computer mouse and he was granted it in 1970. At that time a mouse had a form of a wooden rectangular main body with two metal wheels.
In 1968 Arthur Appel presented an algorithm that allowed to follow rays, which made it possible to render three-dimensional objects. That was another important step that brought computer science closer to the 3D models and technology we use today.
David Evans and Ivan Sutherland – professors of the Utah University – decided to set up their on company named Evans&Sutherland in 1968. Initially the company was located in abandoned shanties on the grounds of the university. Their main goal was to construct computer hardware that could be used to operate software created by the university.
In the 1970 the company bought a flight simulation software from General Electrics and in cooperation with a British enterprise Reduffusion Simulation took up writing of digital simulators. They also started to construct colorful vector screens (Picture System 1, 2 and 300). Towards the end of 1960s they built a computer called LDS-1 (Line Drawing System-1), that was made of a vector monitor and a workstation. It was equipped with a first ever CAD software.
In the following decade – 1970s – the leading research institute dealing with computer graphics was actually The Utah University where still worked the above mentioned Sutherland and Evans. Their students – Edwin Catmull and Fred Parke created one of the first computer animations. It would be very difficult to imagine work of architects today without this very useful tool. Computer animations and simulations with high-quality 3D models used help the professionals present their clients with very real-looking designs of their interiors and gardens and thus make their job easier and more efficient. It would never be possible without the work results of Catmull and Parke.
While studying Ed Catmull devised methods of texture mapping and algorithms so-called subdivision surface and antyaliasing. In 1972 he created an animation of his left hand which was four years later put into the movie “Futureworld”. His fascination with computer animations resulted in his work in later years for Lucasfilm, Pixar and Disney. His achievements in this field brought him wide recognition and the Oscar Award for his contribution into development of computer animation.
In 1970 Fred Parke, on the other hand, created the first animated 3D model of human face on which he presented different types of expressions.
Another student of the Utah University was John Warnock who in 1969 created so-called Warnock Algorithm that was utilized for removing invisible surfaces. In 1978 he started a career in Xerox PARC and cooperated with Charles Geschke. They were to be heard of in the following decade.
Henri Gouraud, a French IT specialist, cooperated with the Utah University after graduating from his studies in Paris. Under supervision of Evans and Sutherland he wrote his PhD paper on mapping of curved surfaces. He created a method called Gouraud Shading that made it possible to recreate chiaroscuro on a three-dimensional object.
Bui Tuong Phong was a Vietnamese who graduated from his engineering studies in France and in 1971 moved to the Utah University. Two years later he devised a method of mapping of light reflection points on an object. It is more widely known as Phong Reflection Model. He is also the author of Phong Shading method.
1972 was a year of an important new invention. Richard Shoup – an employee of Xerox PARC wrote the first graphical programme called SuperPaint. Users could process movies, draw and create animations. It included such functionalities as change of saturation and brightness, drawing lines and polygons, varied drawing tools (at the beginning all the brushes available were one pixel wide and had any height chosen) and a range of colors. It also had the function of autocompletion and antyaliasing. It was one of the first softwares that used the user’s graphical interface.
In 1977 3D Core Graphics System was devised. It was the first standard of three-dimensional computer graphics. The concept was created by a team of twenty-five experts on computer graphics.
In 1975 the world saw the first construction designed fully by means of a computer programme dedicated for 3D modelling. It was a giant Easter egg that can still be watched today in Vegreville in Canada. The authors are Paul Sembaliuk, Ronald Resch and Robert McDermott.
Also in 1975 Martin Newell created a three-dimensional model of a kettle that was used for testing new algorithms and methods of more and more advanced graphical technologies. The kettle from Utah became an icon of 3D graphics and is now placed on different software e.g. 3DStudio Max, AutoCAD and funny references to it appear in animated films like Toy Story.