Ed Catmull, president of Walt Disney and Pixar Animation Studios, will accept the first Randy Pausch Prize from Carnegie Mellon University’s Entertainment Technology Center. The prize is in remembrance
of computer scientist and game veteran Dr. Pausch, who passed away in July 2008 of pancreatic cancer, and who was co-founder of the ETC.
Pausch may be best remembered in the game community for co-founding the Entertainment Technology Center at CMU and for creating Alice
, a free 3D programming environment that lets the user easily create an animation for telling a story, playing an interactive game, or a video to share on the web.
Catmull will also present the keynote address at the 7th International Conference on Entertainment Computing, to be hosted this year at the ETC campus on Sept. 26, according to an announcement.
The ETC plans to present the Pausch Prize annually, in honor of entertainment industry experts who embody the professor’s interdisciplinary spirit. Pausch was passionate about the need for technologists and artists to work together and unusually successful in making these collaborations work.
“We couldn’t think of a more fitting person to receive the first Pausch Prize than Ed Catmull,” said Don Marinelli, who co-founded the ETC with Pausch and is its executive producer. “Eleven years ago, when the ETC was just a vision that Randy and I were trying to make a reality, Ed generously shared with us his thoughts about how to prepare students for the new world of interactive digital media. His suggestions, including the idea of having everyone in the program study improvisational acting, were priceless.” All ETC game development students must take improv. “He helped us make the ETC a place where right-brained and left-brained individuals can work together successfully,” Marinelli said.
Catmull co-founded Pixar and created two other leading centers of computer graphics research: the computer graphics laboratory at the New York Institute of Technology and the computer division of Lucasfilm Ltd.
Catmull is also one of the architects of the RenderMan rendering software, which just celebrated its twentieth anniversary and has been used in 44 of the last 47 films nominated for an Academy Award in the Visual Effects category.