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A Biography of the Pixel by Alvy Ray Smith
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A Biography of the Pixel

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A Biography of the Pixel by Alvy Ray Smith
Paperback $39.95
Aug 03, 2021 | ISBN 9780262542456

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  • Aug 03, 2021 | ISBN 9780262542456

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  • Aug 03, 2021 | ISBN 9780262365215

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“[Smith] lays out a grand unified theory of digital expression. Pixel is a deep and challenging tome in the spirit of Douglas Hofstadter’s Gödel, Escher, Bach: An Eternal Golden Br­aid, a winding tale of science, heroes, and tyrants, all leading to the moment, sometime around the beginning of our current century, when a long-­predicted digital convergence coalesced.“

“Like the pixels that power the imagery all around us, A Biography of the Pixel is a dazzling game of connect-the-dot…to describe what he’s written just as a history of computer graphics would be woefully inadequate.”
Fast Company

A Biography of the Pixel is an essential and pleasant read for all those who regularly engage in a lot of media content: whether you’re an avid gamer, a film enthusiast, or simply like to browse the Internet. In fact, if you’re aspiring to pursue a career in filmmaking and/or animation, perhaps this book would inspire you further.”
E&T, Engineering and Technology

“We suspect that the digital world is grainier than the real, coarser, more constricted, and stubbornly rectilinear. But this is a prejudice, one that’s neatly punctured in A Biography of the Pixel, a new book by electrical engineer Alvy Ray Smith, co-founder of US computer animation studio Pixar. This eccentric work traces the intellectual genealogy of Toy Story (Pixar’s first feature-length computer animation in 1995) over bump-maps and around occlusions, through endless samples, computations and transformations, back to the mathematics of the 18th century.”
The Telegraph

“Smith reminds us that few great ideas come from the mythical lone genius. Many important innovators and alternative paths tend to be left out of such stories, an issue he tries to correct here.”

Table Of Contents

Beginnings: A Signal Event
Foundations: Three Great Ideas
1. Fourier’s Frequencies: The Music of the World
2. Kotelnikov’s Samples: Something from Nothing
3. Turing’s Computations: Eleventy-Eleven Skydillion
Contributions: Two High Technologies
4. Dawn of Digital Light: The Quickening
5. Movies and Animation: Sampling Time
The Rise and Shine of Digital Light
6. Shapes of Things to Come
7. Shades of Meaning
8. The Millennium and the Movie
Finale: The Great Digital Convergence

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