3D Graphics at Apple Computer

From 1989 through 1994 I worked on 3D graphics at Apple Computer.

QuickDraw 3D

I designed the QuickDraw 3D graphics system which now ships on Power Macintosh computers. This is a portable, extensible, object-oriented 3D graphics system that supports realtime and photorealistic rendering. It features a portable extensible file format (3DMF), low level hardware plug-in layer, extensible high-level rendering interface, and an extensible shader interface.


QuickDraw 3D wins an Editor's Choice Award.

QuickDraw 3D wins Best New Technology Award.

Apple, SGI and Netscape team up to make 3DMF be the VRML/Moving Worlds binary file format.

Exploiting Temporal Coherence For Faster Rendering of Animation

Prior to working on QuickDraw 3D, I did research in the Advanced Technology Group into exploiting temporal coherence for accelerating ray tracing of animated sequences. The essential idea is that, for sequences with a static camera view, you only need to render the pixels that change from frame to frame. My analysis of films indicated that during static camera sequences up to 90% of the pixels do not change from frame to frame.

Ray Tracing

I spent many years studying ray tracing. My thesis was titled "Adaptive Voxel Subdivision" and describes my algorithm for accelerating ray propogation through scenes using a hybrid uniform voxel/adaptive octree approach.

I also did a fair bit of work on parallel ray tracing. I've explored simple techniques such as replicating the entire scene database on all processors and distributing the rays to be rendered across the CPUs, up to systems which distribute the scene over the processors (thereby making full use of the large amounts of memory available on a distributed machine) and either propogate rays or collect local caches of relevant scene geometry while rendering a ray on each processor.

I did some work with Andrew Pearce at Alias Research on shadow caching to accelerate shadown tracing. Prior to being the king of rendering at Alias, Andrew wrote a thesis on parallel ray tracing using ray propogation.

Here are some quick and crude images from my adaptive voxel subdivision ray tracer. It currently supports the VRML, 3DMF, NFF, and Alias file formats.

Formal Studies In 3D Graphics

I did my Master's Thesis on Ray Tracing at the University of Calgary. We created a number of animated films and wrote heaps of software in the GraphicsLand Computer Graphics Group.


The ACM SIGGRAPH online bibliography lists these papers that I authored.

Other 3D Links