Chris Ford is a well known expert and authority on advanced photorealistic imaging, computer graphics (CG) software, and digital media content creation with over 25 years experience in feature film visual effects, animation, game development, and scientific visualization. As RenderMan Business Director at Pixar Animation Studios (Walt Disney Co.) from 2005 to 2016, RenderMan grew to a dominant market position of 75%+ of all feature films rendered during this period. Prior to joining Pixar, Chris held key positions at Autodesk where he was Director of Product Management for all 3D Media & Entertainment software applications between 2002 to 2005, including 3D Studio Max, and at Alias|Wavefront (SGI) as Senior Product Manager between 1997 and 2002, introducing to market Maya, the world’s leading professional CG digital content creation software. Film industry applications managed by Chris have been awarded three Academy Awards for technological innovation during his terms of leadership, and he is credited in twelve feature films.
Chris is also an active amateur astronomer and astrophotographer with a specific interest in explaining the universe through advanced visualization techniques. He was formerly president of the Mount Diablo Astronomical Society between 2010-2013, is currently co-chair of the society’s imaging special interest group, and has spoken at many events featuring the intersection of 3D visualization and astronomy, such as SETICon, The Advanced Imaging Conference (AIC), Contact, and at various planetariums and local astronomical societies. Chris joined the Board of Directors of the Astronomical Society of the Pacific (ASP) in 2011, and was voted President Elect of the society in 2016.