William (Bill) T. Reeves

Most Recent Affiliation(s):

  • Pixar Animation Studios, Head of Animation Research and Development and Technology & Pipeline Supervisor

Other Affiliation(s):

  • 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: https://ohiostate.pressbooks.pub/graphicshistory/chapter/19-1-particle-systems-and-artificial-life/ “19.1 Particle Systems and Artificial Life”

    SIGGRAPH 1992

    William Reeves is head of Animation Research and Development at Pixar. He received his B. Math. from the University of Waterloo in 1974, a Msc. Computer Science from the University of Toronto in 1976, and a PhD. in 1980. From 1980 to 1986, Bill was a project leader in the systems, and then the graphics groups at Lucas Films. He joined Pixar in 1986. Bill is best known for his invention of the particle-system image synthesis technique. He has also made numerous other research contributions to the field including new in-betweening techniques, a model of ocean waves with Alain Fomnier, and an efficient anti-aliased shadow algorithm with David Salesin and Rob Cook. Bill’s film credits include: “Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan”, “Return of the Jedi”, “The Adventures of Andre and Wally B.”, “Young Sherlock Holmes”, “Blowin’ in the Wind”, “Flags and Waves”, “Luxo Jr.” (1986 Academy Award nominee), “Red’s Dream”, ”Tin Toy” and “Knickknack”. In 1988, Bill received an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film for his work as Technical Director on “Tin Toy”.  


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