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A HISTORY OF COMPUTER GRAPHICS AND SPECIAL EFFECTS

When we watch a movie like Avatar, we are seeing the results of nearly 200 years of dreamers. It started in the nineteenth century, with Charles Babbage. He grew up among wonderful new inventions, including machines to transport people and goods faster than ever before, and ones that achieved precision in manufacturing previously impossible. He imagined a machine that could be made to do complicated mathematics (Figure 1.1). His analytical engine was unfortunately never funded and many of his modern ideas wouldn’t be matched for almost 100 years.

The earliest computers were mechanical adding machines. Later, electronic computers were used in World War II in the USA to help crack communication ...

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