Profile on Ed Catmull
April 24, 2017
The Salt Lake Tribune recently published a profile on University of Utah College of Engineering graduate Ed Catmull, who now is president of both Walt Disney Animation and Pixar Animation and responsible for some of the biggest money-making animated movies in history, including “Toy Story,” “Monsters Inc.” and “Finding Nemo.”
Catmull graduated from the U’s famed computer science department and was one of that department’s pioneers in computer graphics, along with other noted alumni as John Warnock and Alan Kay.
Below is the Tribune’s story.
At 72, Ed Catmull has no plans to retire from his tower atop the world of computer-animated movies.
While leading Pixar Animation Studios, which he co-founded with the late Apple leader Steve Jobs and others, Catmull has won five awards from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, including a 2001 Oscar.
He also led Pixar through a string of huge successes after its release of the first full-length computer-animated motion picture, “Toy Story.” Those include “Cars,” “Wall-E,” “Finding Nemo,” “Brave,” “Up,” “A Bug’s Life,” “Inside Out,” “Ratatouille,” “Monsters Inc.,” “The Incredibles” and a bunch of sequels.
That success came after Catmull grew up in the Salt Lake Valley and earned a doctorate at the University of Utah. His degree focused on computer-generated graphics, which led down a rock-strewn path 21 years later, to “Toy Story.”
“As much as anyone on the face of the earth, Ed has pushed computer-generated visuals into people’s lives,” said Richard B. Brown, dean of the U.’s College of Engineering.
But what Catmull talks about these days is not so much the animation technology he helped develop, nor all the movies. Rather, it’s the business of managing creativity, or, as he would put it, removing barriers so employees’ creativity can shine through a sometimes stifling hierarchy.
To read the full story, click here.