First Movie To Use CGI

First Movie To Use CGI

Westworld (1973)

While it is not the first experiment with Computer Generated Imagery, Michael Crichton’s Westworld is the first major movie to make use of computers to add a visual effect to film. Visual Effects or VFX have been experiment with since the beginning of the 20th century but the sci-fi western Westworld includes some images that were processed by means of a computer.

Check out the CGI sequence at 1:09

At one point during the movie we see a POV of Yul Brynner, who is an android. What we see is a “pixelated” view of what Yul is seeing so to simulate what a robot would actually seeing. These movie frames were modified using raster graphics which is essentially a manipulation of images through the use of a grid of pixels making up an image. The author in charge of this, was none other than John Whitney Sr., son of John Whitney who did the famous opening sequence full of animated spirals for Alfred Hitchcock’s Vertigo (1958). This is considered the first computer assisted animation but was actually drawn using thousand of hardware components including pendulums and pens.

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