Animation Magazine reports that Andy Witkin, a Senior Scientist at Pixar, passed away while scuba diving on September 12. His official bio on Pixar’s website states:
Andy Witkin received his BA from Columbia College in 1975 and his PhD from MIT in 1980. Witkin has published extensively in the areas of Computer Vision and Computer Graphics. Before joining Pixar in 1998, he was a Professor of Computer Science, Robotics, and Art at Carnegie Mellon University, and before that, a director of the Perception and Graphics groups at Schlumberger’s Palo Alto Research Lab.
In 2006, Witkin received an Oscar along with David Baraff and Michael Kass for his work on Cloth Simulation for Film used in Cars, The Incredibles, Finding Nemo, and Monsters, Inc..
The article also says that most recently, Witkin had “developed new techniques for simulating hair in the upcoming Disney-Pixar feature film Brave.” It will be sad to view the product of his great work on the screen in 2012, and realize that we will not have the chance to thank him. Clearly, he was an individual with great skill, and he will be missed. My deepest condolences to his family, friends, and loved ones.