'Enter the CG industry'
what, how?

Dr. Saty Raghavachary, CS Dept, saty@usc.edu

A FUN field!

Computer graphics, 'CG', is at its core, colorful, fun!

In this talk, we're going to look at a variety of sub-areas of the CG industry, with a focus on how YOU can work in it.

A fun career...

I have been fortunate to have had CG as my career...

If I could go back and do it all over again, I would!

What is CG used for?

Broadly speaking, there are FOUR application areas for CG, with multiple sub areas in each:

Let's go through them...


The splashiest, 'loud', most "colorful" area!!

Animated movies

'Feature animation' is the formal name for computer animated movies, which started with Toy Story in '95.

In animation, a CG software developer can have two different roles:

The bulk of feature animation consists of artists - layout artists, character and fx animators, lighters...

Tools used:


Videogames are all about realtime interaction!

In the videogame industry, programmers (game developers) RULE - reason - dependence on custom/one off tools, effects...

Similar to animation, a CG specialist can be a :


Visual effects ('VFX')

VFX are a Hollywood staple!

In VFX, again there are TDs, and graphics software developers (VERY similar to the animation industry).

Main tools: Maya, Houdini, Photoshop, RenderMan, Nuke.

Performance/installation art

'Live DJ' software is not just for audio... Touch Designer, vvvv etc. can be used for real-time performance, in standard venues (eg clubs), and also in dome theaters [including plantariums].

Advertising (commercials)

Since the start, CG has been used in commercials - popular when television was a bigger medium...

Advertising - evolution

Advertising is sure to keep changing with the times:


Journalism + CG: 'VR journalism'


CG is 100% responsible for virtual humans - a future meeting just like this one could occur in a virtual classroom, with photoreal versions of ourselves.

Virtual classrooms, movie theaters, malls, concerts, sporting events... can all be filled with virtual humans.


Generative design, parametric design, product design... CG makes design possible.

Closely related to design is AEC.

Applications in education

Scientific visualization - weather, molecules, fluid flow (CFD)... entirely relies on CG!

Simulation is a closely related area that uses 3D CG - numerically compute natural phenomena, present results visually.

Likewise, data visualization , sci-viz's twin, is also entirely software driven - mostly 2D, but, can be adapted for 3D - including VR, AR, 3D printing...

Direct applications in education include visualizing math, algorithm animation, chemistry, anatomy, etc.

Browser-based CG!

CG is not limited to (C++ based) applications on laptop OSs and game machines. The browser is an increasingly popular platform for CG:



Good luck!