Bill Reeves

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Most Recent Affiliation:

  • Lucasfilm


  • Bill Reeves began his graphics career at the University of Waterloo and at the University of Toronto, where he received his B.S. in math and M.A. and Ph.D. in computer science. In 1980, Reeves joined the computer division of Lucasfilm as project leader of the systems group and a member of the computer graphics group. Several years into a career that focused Reeves on the field of animation, he invented the particle systems image synthesis technique that enabled the generation of very complex and detailed images.

    From 1982 to 1986, he worked as project leader of the modeling and animation group at Lucasfilms. In 1986, Reeves joined Pixar as head of Animation Research and Development. His film credits while at Lucasfilm, Ltd. and Pixar include: Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Return of the Jedi, Young Sherlock Holmes, Luxo Jr. (1986 Academy Award nominee), Red’s Dream, Tin Toy and Knickknac and others. In 1988, Reeves received an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his work as technical director on Tin Toy.

    A particle system is used to describe techniques for modeling, rendering, and animation of dynamic objects. The system involves a collection of particles, each of which has attributes that directly or indirectly impact the behavior of the particle and/or its neighboring particles. The individual particles can be graphical primitives such as points or lines, but they can also be any geometric entity (birds, stones, snowflakes, water drops, etc.) The other characteristic of a particle system is a random element that controls the actions and characteristics of each particle (eg, position, velocity, color, transparency, etc.) The random element is stochastically controlled, meaning that the randomness has bounds, controlled variance, or some mode of distribution.
    Extracted from: “19.1 Particle Systems and Artificial Life”