• Jan 1, 1949
    (b.) - ?


An American computer scientist, he is one of the founders of the Computer Graphics industry. He has spent his life expanding industry knowledge and using that same technology to educate others. His career spans the invention of environment mapping (1976), bump mapping (1978), the critical JPL NASA flyby animations, multiple SIGGRAPH papers, awards, books and several TV shows. He first became widely known for his work as a computer graphics expert at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory (JPL), particularly his work on the pre-encounter animations for the Voyager project, his work on the Carl Sagan Cosmos documentary series and the research of the Blinn–Phong shading model. In 1970, he received his Bachelor's degree in Physics and Communications Science, and in 1972 his Master's degree in MS Information and Control Engineering from the University of Michigan. In 1978 he received a Ph.D. in Computer Science from the College of Engineering at the University of Utah in Salt Lake City, Utah. He devised new methods to represent how objects and light interact in a three-dimensional virtual world, such as environment mapping (an efficient image-based lighting technique for approximating the appearance of a reflective surface by means of a precomputed texture image) and bump mapping (a technique in computer graphics for simulating bumps and wrinkles on the surface of an object). He is well known for creating animation for three television series: Carl Sagan's Cosmos: A Personal Voyage; Project MATHEMATICS!; and the pioneering instructional graphics in The Mechanical Universe. His simulations of the Voyager spacecraft visiting Jupiter and Saturn have been widely seen. He is now a graphics fellow at Microsoft Research. He also worked at the New York Institute of Technology in the summer of 1976. He the author of numerous publications including, but not limited to: “Jim Blinn's Corner: Dirty Pixels”, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., ISBN 1-55860-455-3; “Jim Blinn's Corner: A Trip Down The Graphics Pipeline”, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., ISBN 1-55860-387-5; Blinn, James F.: Jim Blinn's Corner: Notation, Notation, Notation, Morgan Kaufmann Publishers, Inc., ISBN 1-55860-860-5; “Simulation of Wrinkled Surfaces”, Computer Graphics, Vol. 12 (3), pp. 286–292 SIGGRAPH-ACM (August 1978); and “Models of Light Reflection for Computer Synthesized Pictures”, SIGGRAPH 77, pp 192–198. In 1983, he was awarded the NASA Exceptional Service medal for Voyager Fly-by animation and the SIGGRAPH Computer Graphics Achievement Award. In 1989, he was presented with the IEEE Outstanding Contribution Award for “Jim Blinn's corner”. Other awards he received were: in 1991, the MacArthur Fellowship, “in recognition of and to allow continuation of his work in educational animation”; in 1995, Honorary Doctor of Fine Arts degree from the Parsons School of Design for “contributions to computer graphics”; and in 1999, the Steven Anson Coons Award for “Outstanding Creative Contributions to Computer Graphics”.
  • Date of Birth:

    Jan 1, 1949
  • Noted For:

    Creator of the pre-encounter animations for the Voyager project at NASA's Jet Propulsion Laboratory
  • Category of Achievement:

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