Animator Tom Sito Presents the Birth of Digital Cinema


Animator Tom Sito Presents the Birth of Digital Cinema

December 1, 2015

I grew up watching Disney films and was one of the many students inspired by meeting acclaimed animator Tom Sito at NYIT. He visited the Manhattan campus earlier in the fall semester to discuss digital cinema. Sito is a professor at the University of Southern California and has animated characters in films such as Beauty and the Beast, Shrek, and Yogi Bear.

"Everything we do in media is now connected to digital and animation," said Sito, who remembers bygone days when animation was only "the stuff shown on Saturday morning."

These days, digital technologies have spawned an array of computer-animated films with life-like details and stunning motion graphics. Sito gave an insider's look into his industry, told stories about his experiences, and chronicled the history of animation.

A big part of that history is NYIT's Computer Graphics Lab (CGL) formed in 1974. CGL would operate for nearly two decades and early on employed future Pixar Animation Studios President Ed Catmull and co-founder Alvy Ray Smith, Sito's colleagues on many films. Among CGL's innovations was an eight-bit paint system to ease computer animation. Today, Pixar is a subsidiary of the Walt Disney Company and the companies release films together, including The Good Dinosaur, which opened in U.S. theaters on Nov. 25.

Learn more about NYIT's legacy in computer graphics.

This event was organized by NYIT's Department of Fine Arts in partnership with SIGGRAPH, an international community of computer graphics industry professionals convened by the Association for Computing Machinery. Be the first to know about upcoming computer graphics events on campus. Follow NYIT on Facebook, Twitter, and Instagram.

By Asad Richardson