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Thread: 1975 cgi?

  1. Default 1975 cgi?

    Have a look at this Scarfe animation for Pink Floyd from 1975:

    Starting at 6:46 is a spherical maze sequence which has enough geometrical precision to look computer-generated. I'm not suggesting the film was CGI - it's obviously traditionally animated - but I wonder whether the outlines might have been CG, perhaps drawn on a plotter or photographed off a CRT. It has the feel of an early computer "demo" sequence.

    Any knowledge or opinions on that?

  2. #2
    Join Date
    Aug 2006
    Chicagoland, Illinois, USA
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    It was animated traditionally (paper shot under a camera). However, it's very possible that the maze was rotoscoped from a model, or possibly the wireframe of it was computer-generated and then fleshed out by Scarfe.
    Offering a bounty for:
    - The software "Overhead Express" (doesn't have to be original, can be a copy)
    - A working Sanyo MBC-775, Olivetti M24, or Logabax 1600
    - Documentation and original disks for: Panasonic Sr. Partner, Zenith Z-160 series
    - Music Construction Set, IBM Music Feature edition (has red sticker on front stating IBM Music Feature)

  3. #3


    In 1975 Disspla, FORTRAN, and a Dicomed was available that could have generated the graphics as shown. I started using them in 1979- but they had been around for a while. I'm not sure if the Gould Deanza image processors were available yet- they were around in the late 70s. Ramtek was founded in 71- I used the 9465 in the early 80s. Funny story- had expiring funds, they flew it out on a Lear Jet to make the delivery before the funds expired. The Lear Jet beat the budget office, we took delivery in time to expend the funds.
    Last edited by BrianS; April 13th, 2018 at 02:40 PM.

  4. Default

    plotter drawings?

  5. #5


    It'd be really interesting to see if there's a writeup on this somewhere (since Pink Floyd is second only to the Beatles in the list of bands that have had every single facet of their existence exhaustively dissected multiple times over in the last four decades or so,) but offhand I don't think this was automated or assisted. Unless it's an issue with the video, the lines in the maze sequence actually are just a little wobbly here and there, and in any case Winsor McCay was doing things of comparable complexity with a similar degree of precision back in the 1910s.

    Man, though, I really do need to dig into Scarfe's work a bit more. Some fascinating work here.
    Computers: Amiga 1200, DEC VAXStation 4000/60, DEC MicroPDP-11/73
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    "'Legacy code' often differs from its suggested alternative by actually working and scaling." - Bjarne Stroustrup

  6. Default

    It reminds me of the wireframe Death Star animation in Star Wars done in 1976 on a PDP-11:

  7. #7
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    Oct 2009
    Huntsville, AL


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