Computer science and engineering graduates have historically dominated the field of CGI (Computer generated Images) but that is now changing. They developed the algorithms that are still in wide use for CGI. And just to be clear these algorithms have been very successful in creating many of the beloved movies that audiences have enjoyed around the world.
What is changing?
Adam Finkelstein, a computer science professor and the senior researcher at Princeton believes that graphics programming is "entering the world of Big Data."
Big Data — a term for the paradigm shift in which the ability to capture, store and analyze huge quantities of digital information allows scientists to leverage this data in addressing new challenges — is fundamentally changing many fields of computing.
A Big Data approach allows programmers to use that data to answer questions, or create simulations, through examples rather than pure mathematics. To do that, scientists need to use statistical and machine-learning approaches to draw the answers from the vast amounts of data available.
The graphics program RealBrush, which was developed by a team of researchers including Princeton scientists, can not only create authentic brushstrokes in a wide variety of materials, it can also exactly render effects such as smudging and overlapping. (Images courtesy of Jingwan "Cynthia" Lu et al.)