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Jim Blinn Industry Legend Computer Graphics Guru

Jim Blinn Industry Legend Computer Graphics Guru

James F. Blinn is a computer scientist who first became widely known for his work as a computer graphics expert at NASA’s Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), particularly his work on the pre-encounter animations for the Voyager project,[1] his work on the Carl Sagan Cosmos documentary series and the research of the Blinn–Phong shading model and the the world’s most famous 3D model – the Utah Teapot!!.

In 1970, he received his bachelor’s degree in physics and communications science, and later a master’s degree in engineering from the University of Michigan. In 1978 he received a Ph.D. in computer science from the College of Engineering at the University of Utah.

Blinn devised new methods to represent how objects and light interact in a three dimensional virtual world, like environment mapping and bump mapping. He is well known for creating animation for three television series: Carl Sagan’s Cosmos: A Personal Voyage; Project MATHEMATICS!; and the pioneering instructional graphics in The Mechanical Universe. His simulations of the Voyager spacecraft visiting Jupiter and Saturn have been seen widely. He is now a graphics fellow at Microsoft Research. Blinn also worked at the New York Institute of Technology in the summer of 1976.

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