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New York / Heidelberg, 31 July 2013

The History of Visual Magic in Computers

New book explains how beautiful images are made in CAD, 3D, VR and AR

Have you have ever looked at a fantastic science fiction movie, an amazingly complex computer game or a TV commercial where cars behaved liked people and wondered, "How do they do that?" You can now satisfy your curiosity with a new book The History of Visual Magic in Computers by the computer graphics analyst Dr. Jon Peddie.
Computer graphics is used in a wide variety of industries, from automotive design to movies, architecture, games, molecular design, and the simulation or visualization of imaginary worlds. In order to overcome the processing limitations of the computer, graphics had to exploit the characteristics of the eye and brain and develop visual tricks to simulate realism. The goal was to create graphics images that will automatically overcome the visual cues that create and cause disbelief and tell the viewer this is not real.
"It's impossible to trace a single line of development to generating beautiful realistic images with a computer," said Peddie. "There is the complex pedigree of the computer itself - the basic math, the display and its controller, the software algorithms used to generate curves and textures, and the applications that tie all this together."
The History of Visual Magic in Computers traces the developments of DEC, Burroughs, SGI, and dozens of others, and shares how the technology from those companies found its way to AMD, Apple, HP, Intel, Microsoft, Nvidia, Qualcomm and Sony, to mention a few.
"Thousands of people over thousands of years have developed the building blocks and made discoveries in mathematics and science to make such 3D magic possible," said Jon Peddie. "This book is dedicated to all of them and tells their story."
Written in a narrative style, The History of Visual Magic in Computers traces the earliest understanding of 3D and then foundational mathematics, to explain and construct 3D from mechanical computers through tablets. Several of the most amazing computer graphics algorithms and tricks came during periods where new ideas and techniques seem to erupt all at once, all stimulated by the cold war. With fundamentals of how to draw lines and create realistic images becoming better understood, more sophisticated applications emerged. That in turn led to hardware 3D controllers that drove the sophistication of the display all the way to stereovision, and virtual and augmented reality. This book is a historical and visual treat with some amazing images.
Dr. Jon Peddie is one of the pioneers of the graphics industry. He lectures at numerous conferences on topics pertaining to graphics technology and the emerging trends in digital media technology. Recently named one of the most influential analysts, he is frequently quoted in trade and business publications, and contributes articles to numerous publications including – as well as appearing on – CNN and TechTV.
Jon Peddie
The History of Visual Magic in Computers
How Beautiful Images are Made in CAD, 3D, VR and AR
2013, XLI, 448 p. 369 illus, 226 in color. Softcover $44.99, €44.99, £24.95
ISBN 978-1-4471-4931-6
Also available as an eBook