Great profile of Alvy Ray Smith by Steven Levy. Several great anecdotes, leading with:
“This might be crazy,” she began, “but is there any connection between the world of the counterculture and psychedelics, and Pixar?” The panelists on stage—Ed Catmull and John Lasseter, both central to Pixar’s development—fell into an uncomfortable silence. Drugs and the counterculture are edgy subjects for employees of a Disney division beloved by generations of children. Finally, Lasseter said, “Is Alvy Ray Smith in the audience?”
From there, the crossing of paths with George Lucas and Steve Jobs – no love lost there. Also, I find this almost shockingly compelling:
Putting together their contributions on the nature of light, sampling, and computation, Smith makes a convincing case that there’s no difference between analog and digital reality. It’s a belief that he’s held for decades. Barbara Robertson, a computer graphics journalist, remembers sitting with him at a café and hearing him say, after a contemplative silence, “You, know, everything is just waves.”
He also grew up, quite literally, under a mushroom cloud – just 100 miles from the Trinity atomic bomb test when he was an infant.