I got my Autodesk start by working at Ithaca Software. Ithaca Software was acquired by Autodesk in 1993. A few of us early Ithacans are still at Autodesk as in Carl Bass, Jeff Kowalski, Brian Mathews, and Norbert Jeske. As Ithaca software and even in the early days as part of Autodesk, our primary product was HOOPS - a 3D graphics system that let application developers focus on their domain of expertise and leave the computer graphics to us. After a few years of supporting HOOPS, Autodesk spun out what eventually became Tech Soft 3D.
On Friday my wife, Sheryl, and I attended the "Friends of HOOPS" party hosted by Tech Soft 3D. We had a great time catching up with former Ithaca Software employees like Carl, Jeff, Bob Covey, Glen Vondrick, and Gary Wayne.
Ron Fritz, Yanick Fluhmann, Rob Mazeffa, and Gavin Bridgeman are at the helm of Tech Soft 3D now. I have known them since they started with HOOPS. Ron has had a long-standing challenge to the sales team that if TechSoft 3D ever became a $5 million business, he would get a tattoo of the company logo.
Way back in the day, the 3 interlocking rings presented a challenge for 3D graphics systems in that each ring is both in front of and behind the others. It was easy for some graphics systems, not HOOPS, to go into an infinite loop when trying to render this set of geometry. The red, green, and blue refer to the RGB color space used in many graphics systems.
As part of the evening's toasting the success of HOOPS, Ron revealed that TechSoft 3D had indeed reached its goal. He unrolled his sleeve to reveal a day-old tattoo:
With Carl Bass in attendance, we couldn't help but wonder, what will happen when Autodesk weathers the current economic climate and grows to be a $3 billion company? Is there an Autodesk logo on the horizon for Carl?
Now my todays are gray, the seconds tick away
But if I close my eyes, it's only yesterday
And I see rainbows surrounding you and me
But that was in the past, I know it won't last
I'm living in the past I know, but the past is gone
"Past," Todd Rundgren, 2004.
Living in the past, but just for a moment, is alive in the lab.