Carla's Island, 1981
2019. Screening Documentation. 4:36 min 4k video. Scanned 70mm IMAX archival test footage with new sound composition. Dicomed D48 derived custom font. Sound sampled from a Cray-1 supercomputer and a Lawrence Livermore employee honking their car's horn at anti-nuclear activists.
In 1981 Dr. Nelson Max, while working at Lawrence Livermore National Laboratory, published Vectorized Procedural Models for Natural Terrain: Waves and Islands in the Sunset in the journal Computer Graphics. The paper detailed the ray tracing procedural model, as well as the algorithms, used to produce the animation Carla’s Island. The work was performed under the auspices of the US Department of Energy in one of two nuclear weapons research laboratories in the US.
Gene Youngblood, in a catalogue essay for SIGGRAPH the year the work premiered, noted "The Simulators of the Apocalypse should be honoured to share the SIGGRAPH spotlight with noble amateurs - heroic warriors of the Electronic Age - who shall inherit the world of simulation by living in the worlds they simulate."
Carla’s Island is widely considered the first computer generated animation of water.