Academy Award-winning computer animation trailblazer Bill Kovacs died Tuesday from stroke complications in his home in Camarillo, Calif. The 56-year-old was best known as the co-founder of Wavefront Technologies, which was started in the early 1980s and eventually merged with Alias Research.
Working for Robert Abel and Associates, Kovacs and Roy Hall developed Wavefront’s Advanced Visualizer computer graphics system, which was the forerunner to today’s off-the-shelf computer graphics and animation packages. The achievement also got them recognized with a Scientific and Engineering Academy Award in 1998.
His early CG work in television commercials earned Kovacs a number of Clio Awards, and his work on the Disney feature Tron is considered groundbreaking and still holds up today. He has worked as a consultant to major video game publisher/developer Electronic Arts and Hollywood digital production company RezN8m, and was also a founding partner of software company Instant Effects. In addition, he was a Visiting Artist at Loyola Marymount University and served on the President’s Board of Advisors at Academy of Art University since 2002.