It was the fall of 1989, and I was taking a computer animation class at UMass Amherst (I went to Hampshire College, another school in the Five Colleges consortium). We were using long-gone tools like Paracomp Swivel 3D to create a video about robots. This was well before After Effects, so we were using Macromind Director 1.0 as a very basic compositing application. We needed faster playback on our 20 MHz Macintosh IIcx to preview animation timing. I started experimenting with a utility called Director Accelerator, which composited together all layers of the Director project and compressed the final frames with Run-Length Encoding (RLE), a very early form of compression. I was amazed how the resulting files were smaller than the originals. ...

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