Welcome to Scanimate Central!
Once upon a time (but not so long ago) making animation with computers was pretty farfetched futuristic wizardry. A few brave souls believed it was the future, and helped start what is today a major industry. This site celebrates the people, places, machines, and projects that came out of that colorful past. I welcome your inquiries, I try to answer them all. Email dave@zfxinc.net with your questions or comments.

Long Overdue Scanimate News

UPDATED June 3, 2022

Hi! I'm Dave Sieg. Back in the 1980's I was chief engineer at Image West in Hollywood, CA. Image West had initially been set up by Computer Image corp of Denver, CO in the mid 1970's. CI had designed and built several Scanimate analog animation computers and they had become quite popular with advertisers and networks due to their ability to produce animation in real time. Image West was an attempt to tackle the west coast market, but things had not gone well. The bank forced Computer Image to sell Image West and one of CI's customers was a Canadian company called Omnibus. They took over the company and were successful in marketing the Scanimates in Hollywood, particularly after producing some material for the first Star Wars film.

The Back Story Continued

Some Interesting Video links:

Lynda.com's Scanimate documentary!:

Scanimate: The Origins of Computer Motion Graphics from Lynda.com on Vimeo.

Crew here from Lynda.com shooting documentary about Scanimate with Dave Sieg and Roy Weinstock.
Scanimate!! - Spherical Image - RICOH THETA
360 degree view of Scanimate in its analog universe taken by Nick Campbell.

"Introduction to the Scanimate" showing basics of how Scanimate works. Part 1
Part 2 Introduction to Scanimate. Part 2
Part 3 Introduction to Scanimate: Analog circuits. Part 3

"Dream Machine" DVD-2 Available!

A couple of years ago, the overwhelming response to some of the sample movies I had put on this site motivated me to compile the Scanimate DVD-1 featuring some of the video demo reels I have collected over the years from Computer Image and Image West.

But the demo reels only show the work. In the second DVD, "The Dream Machine", I've been fortunate enough to interview many of the people whose pioneering work with Scanimates broke ground for what is today a multi-billion dollar industry. I've been able to piece together the stories of people like Lee Harrison, who dreamed of a way to share what the mind's eye sees, and whose company, Computer Image built Scanimate, the first commercially successful electronic animation computers. For more detailed information on the contents of The Dream Machine, or to order your copy today, Click here.

Due to overwhelming demand, DVD-1 has been re-released as DVD-1 First Edition.
Two hours of classic '70's and '80's electronic animation produced by the "Dream Machine" and the companies that built and used Scanimate computers to pioneer the animated graphics we've all come to know and love on television and films. For more information or to order your copy today, Click Here.

SIGGRAPH Paper The History of Analog Computer Animation - from the SIGGRAPH 98 History Project. by David Sieg.
amazing early pics! Ed Tacjhman, former head of engineering at Computer Image sent me an amazing package of material, including early videos from Scanimate, Animac, CAESAR, and other goodies.
Scanimates around the world Marilou Harrison and her son Paul have sent me some excellent photographs of Lee Harrison (Scanimate's inventor), Scanimates around the world, and Animac, (Scanimate's precursor).
We used to have to knit this stuff together! How Analog Animation Was Produced. Step-by-step description of how artwork was prepared, how waveforms were controlled, with a pictorial tour of Scanimate's components.
Do you know anybody here? Over the years, a surprising number of people have been involved with Scanimate or one of the early computer animation companies. Some of the Alumni of Scanimate history are listed here.
Dave Holman Remembers Dave Holman was so taken with this page he sent his memoirs. They were so good, I gave him his own section!
Guestbook Entries Scanimate Alumni Guestbook. Yes, it really was that hard, yes, it really was that much fun!
Project Pics! A collection of thumbnail Images from many past projects. Click the thumbnail for a larger image.
Movies! Scanimate Videos from Various sources.
Er..., thats Tom and Ed, right? Some odd little tidbits. Yes, we were and still are an odd bunch!

This site represents the efforts of many individuals over many years. I am only trying to preserve a little piece of history, not take credit for it! Please help support this effort by buying the Scanimate DVD's. That is the only way I have to pay for this work. Your generous comments and support are greatly appreciated!

Dave Sieg

Last updated June 03, 2022
All Images, Text, Motion Pictures Copyright, © David W. Sieg