Larry Cuba Uses GRASS for “Star Wars” Computer Graphics

Death Star vector graphics created by artist Larry Cuba for “Star Wars” movie in 1976. - S. Heminover

Participants: Daniel J. Sandin, Steve Heminover, Thomas A. DeFanti

In 1976, visiting artist and technologist Larry Cuba used the GRASS (Graphics Symbiosis System) language developed by EVL director Tom DeFanti during a residency at the University of Illinois at Chicago's Circle Graphics Habitat to create the animated Death Star trench run for the first “Star Wars” film release.

A model of the Death Star was digitized, animated, and displayed using the Digital Equipment Corporation (DEC) PDP-11 Vector General series of minicomputers. The vector graphics incorporated into the movie&rsquo:s war room scene were rescanned to film from the terminal face. This is among some of the early special effects work attributed to EVL technology.


Date: May 1, 1976

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