A (re-edited) training video of the Cubicomp Picturemaker system from 1986. Those of you who think computer animation is hard NOW – watch this and count yourselves lucky!
Short version: slow interaction, technical/hardcore workflow, 2 frame buffers, one to be used for a 512×576 texture map (no file textures) 32 materials, no intersecting or non-planar polygons or it crashes, 5 lights, 32 materials, go over 10,000 polys and it crashes (I seldom risked more than 2000), a texture-mapped polygon turns almost side on to the camera – it crashes … and it had no compositing software. But ascii based command macros let you trick it into doing more, and if you didn’t mind sleeping at work to babysit renders, you could get good results.
All of the 3DCGI / Pixel Perfect work until 1994 was done on this system.
Kudos to jim cheever for the Youtube posting of the source material, and to the original picturemakers who created it!