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Computer Graphics History and 3d Visualization
History of Computer Graphics and 3D Visualization

In this page you can find a brief history of computer graphics and 3d visualization, quoting some milestones from the begining with mainframes till personal computer.


Whirlwind (1945)

Whirlwind, The first computer that operated in real time using video displays

Whirlwind (1945)  is a lankmark in the time line of Computer Graphics. Whirlwing computer was developed  at MIT -  Massachusetts Institute of Technology. It was fhe first computer that operated in real time using video displays for output. 

To read about the  "Whirlwind" at Wikipedia click here.

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Before AutoCad, most CAD programs required mainframes or mini-computers, too expensive to have one at home.
AutoCAD was one of the first CAD softwares to run on PC personal computers. It was design to run on the IBM PC. 
It was Initially released in late 1982. So it has one of the most important roles regarding the popularization of CAD.

Autocad Versions

Official name version release year of
AutoCAD Version 1.0 1.0 1 1982 for DOS System
AutoCAD Version 1.2 1.2 2 1983
AutoCAD Version 1.3 1.3 3 1983
AutoCAD Version 1.4 1.4 4 1983
AutoCAD Version 2.0 2.0 5 1984
AutoCAD Version 2.1 2.1 6 1985
AutoCAD Version 2.5 2.5 7 1986
AutoCAD Version 2.6 2.6 8 1987 Last version to run without a math co-processor
AutoCAD Release 9 N/A 9 1987
AutoCAD Release 10 N/A 10 1988
AutoCAD Release 11 N/A 11 1990
AutoCAD Release 12 N/A 12 1992 last release for Apple Macintosh
AutoCAD Release 13 N/A 13 1994 last release for Unix, MS-DOS and Windows 3.11
AutoCAD Release 14 N/A 14 1997
AutoCAD 2000 15.0 15 1999
AutoCAD 2000i 15.1 16 2000
AutoCAD 2002 15.6 17 2001
AutoCAD 2004 16.0 18 2003
AutoCAD 2005 16.1 19 2004
AutoCAD 2006 16.2 20 2005
AutoCAD 2007 17.0 21 2006
AutoCAD 2008 17.1 22 2007 first release available for the x86-64 windows version of XP and Vista.
AutoCAD 2009 17.2 23 2008
AutoCAD 2010 18.0 24 2009

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3D Studio 

As long with Autocad, 3dStudio It was a program that had one of the most important roles regarding the popularization of Computer Graphics. It had professional capabilities and did not required mainframes or mini-computers, too expensive to have one at home.

3D Studio and 3ds Max - Early history & Releases

The original 3D Studio software was created for the DOS platform by the Yost Group and It was published by Autodesk. 
After 3D Studio Release 4, the program was re-named 3D Studio MAX and rewritten for the Windows platform. 
This version was originally created by the Yost Group as well.

The 3D Studio Max was released by Kinetix, which was at that time Autodesk's division of media and entertainment. 

Autodesk purchased the 3D Studio Max at the second release and internalized the development entirely over the next two releases.
Later the product name was changed again to 3ds max and product was branded with Discreet logo, a software company, based in Montreal, which Autodesk had purcased.

At release 8, the product was branded again with Autodesk logo, and named again to 3ds Max. At release 2009, the name changed again to Autodesk 3ds Max.

An Overview:

3ds Max is one of the most popular off the shelf 3D animation.

It has excellent modeling capabilities
Long heritage on the Microsoft Windows platform
Flexible plugin architecture

It is mostly used by video game developers
Architectural visualization studios
TV commercial studios
Used for movie effects and movie pre-visualization

Version Platform Release year
3D Studio DOS MS-DOS 1990
3D Studio DOS 2 MS-DOS 1992
3D Studio DOS 3 Windows/MS-DOS 1993
3D Studio DOS 4 Windows/MS-DOS 1994
3D Studio MAX 1.0 Windows 1996
3D Studio MAX R2 Windows 1997
3D Studio MAX R3 Windows 1999
Discreet 3dsmax 4 Windows 2000
Discreet 3dsmax 5 Windows 2002
Discreet 3dsmax 6 Windows 2003
Discreet 3dsmax 7 Windows 2004
Autodesk 3ds Max 8 Windows 2005
Autodesk 3ds Max 9 Windows 2006
Autodesk 3ds Max 2008 Windows 2007
Autodesk 3ds Max 2009 Windows 2008
Autodesk 3ds Max 2010 Windows 2009

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Micro-Computers - Personal Computer

Apple II and IBM PC
Above an Apple II and an PC. The computer in the pics above are similar to  the first and second computer that I used respectvely. I used a Apple II around 1984.  Around 1989, I started using Autocad, on a green screen VGA monitor, using a PC computer.

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Links - Origins and History of Computer Graphics:

Whirlwind and computer graphics history

Photo gallery about Autocad history  

A Critical History of Computer Graphics and Animation - Nice website about the history of Computer Graphics with lots of texts and illustrations.

Wafront - A Wavefront Technologies era uma companhia de computação gráfica que desenvolvia e vendia software para animações usadas em filmes de Hollywood e outras industrias. Usava plataformas mais caras, como Silicon Graphics que ficaram famosas e conhecidas na decada de 80.

The Brazilian Computer History Museum 
Interesting web site about the computer history including The Brazilian Computer History Museum.

The Links indicated below are available only in Portuguese:

As origens da Computação Gráfica e seu crescimento (available only in Portuguese)

Origens e História da Computação Gráfica e Cronologia - Desde os Antedentes - 1940 até hoje.

Este site aborda a história e evolução dos computadores pessoais, dos softwares, dos processadores, a história do Personal Computer da IBM (PC ou computador pessoal) contada de forma simples e resumida, com algumas ilustrações.

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Old times Autocad screen and its menus

Old times Autocad 10 screen | Menus and one of its famous sample drawing

3D commercial interior rendering - Small waiting room
Fully furnished 3D floor plan rendering - doll house view

3D Visualization - Rio, 1994
Doctors office: I made this 3D Models of a doctor´s office in 1994. To built the 3D model I used Autocad and to render I used the old 3D Studio r.4. 

McDonalds Shop in Rio - 1995 - 3D commercial rendering
3D Commercial Interior Renderings. MacDonalds interior visualization, Rio , 1995. 
I built the 3D model using Autocad and to render I used the old 3D Studio r.4

Wire-frame - Hotel looby

Wire-frame - Post modern hotel looby -  1992 -  I made this wire frame using Autocad to be rendered using the old 3D Studio r.4 DOS.

Wire-frame - Colonial-style city 3D model

Wire-frame of a Colonial Style Buildings - 1992 
I used Autocad to built this wire frame. This mesh would be export via .dxf file to the old 3D Studio r.4 to be rendered.

Sky horse crane and petrol-oil refinery 3D Model made in 1993
Sky horse crane and petrol-oil refinery 3D Model made in 1993 - Made in Autocad R.11 
Sky horse crane and petrol-oil refinery 3D Model made in 1993 - site plan and aerial views
Sky horse crane and petrol-oil refinery 3D Model made in 1993 - site plan and aerial views - Made in Autocad R.11
Later on I used this 3d model to produce 3d animations


3D Animations between 1992 -1996

3D Architectural and Technical Animation record in VHS video-tape format
Between 1993 and 1996 I produced some 3D architectural and 3D Technical animations, using personal computer based on 486 and later on Pentium I Intel processor.
Some animations were recorded in Vido-Cassete Tapes - VHS-format. At that time, DVD format it was not popular. Two animations, when mounted was between 10 and 30 minutes long.

3D Architectural and Technical Aniamtions produced between 1992 and 1996You can see the animations by clicking on the right pictures. It was not high-quality video to like the ones to broadcast on TV system. It was animations to display as an experimente and 2 animations were required by property developers to help sell Its development proposals.
My activities in the field of 3D architectural and technical animations in the 90´s were restricted by few presentations and you can sse them by clicking on the picture above. At that time, it was not a profitable activity.

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3D Models and 3D renderings made between 1992 e 2000

3D Models and Architectural Renderings - Produced between 1992 and 2000Most of the 3D Models were created to get perspective views and some of the 3D Models were made to render 3D animations such as walk through and fly-by. To make those works, I used a personal computer based on either 486 or Pentium I processor. The 3D models were made  using Autocad software Autocad and to render I used the old 3DStudio.r4 DOS version.  Click here to see those 3D models, renderings and some animations.

Community Center 3D Model, Renderings and Animations
Photorealistic and non-photorealist renderings - Produced in 1999Rio, 1999
Click on the right thumbnail to see the Community Center´s 3D model and 3D renderings

Recent Works: To see recent works in the field of 3D Renderings, click on the right side thumbnails.

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3D Architectural Photorealistic Rendering
Photorealistic Rendering

3D Interior Rendering - commercial and residential buildings
3D Interior
3D Exterior photo realistic rendering - House Rendering and  exterior images of buildings
3D Exterior
3D Condominium rendering - Architectural Illustration
Condominium - 2006
3D Architectural Model and 3D rendering of apartment building
3D Model& Rendering
3D Model and 3D architectural rendering - Condominium building
3D Rendering - 1998
3D Models, 3D Renderins e 3D Animations created between 1992 and 1998
3D Renderings: 1992-1998
3D Section - 3D House Model and Rendering - Exterior and Interior perspective renderings
3D House Rendering
House 3D Section, 3D Interior and 3D Exterior perspective renderings
3D Sections & Interiors
3D Floor Plan Rendering
3D Floor Plan Render
3D Technical Model and 3D Technical Rendering and Illustration - 3D Animation
3D Technical Render
3D Animation
Floor Plan Rendering
3D Floor Plan Renderings
3D Architectural Modeling & Rendering - Civic Center - 1999
3D Modeling: 1999
3D Architectural Model and 3D Rendering - Building Renovation Presentation
Renovation Building 3D Rendering
Archtectural and Technical  3D Animations - Created between 1992 and 1996
Old 3D Animations