Scanimate News

Hi! I'm Dave Sieg. I have the dubious honor of owning the last remaining Scanimate. In the early 1980's, I worked at Image West in Hollywood where we had 2 Scanimates. I never imagined I would end up owning the only remaining machine, but here it is, in my studio in Asheville, NC. Over the years, I've maintained the Scanimate website and have become the official collector of Scanimate material, photos, videos, stories, you name it. Please feel free to take a look around and find out more about this amazing analog animation machine. And if you're ever in Asheville, drop me a line and stop by and twiddle some knobs!
-Dave Sieg
4/14/2011 - My presentation at NotaCon in Cleveland
Recently, Chris Stack visited ZFx and we tinkered around with connecting control voltages from his Moog Little Phatty to the Scanimate. It was a fun session! We suffered from the Scanimate not being "zeroed out" after my last animation project, and from a lack of proper patch cords with 1/4" phone plugs on the Moog end and the oddball 0.09" analog patch cords Scanimate uses, but we managed to demonstrate some very interesting combinations of music that is synchronized with visuals that the two can produce. Of course we have great ideas about the next step, but I thought you might find this first experimental test interesting. Thanks Chris!



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@zfx.com with your questions or comments.

Scanimate Stars in High-Definition White Gold Rock Opera!

Scanimate recently completed 3 days of shooting the "Vortex Scene" in a new Rock Opera for White Gold. Check out the trailer HERE. In the video above, Joe Mullen from Buck in LA talks about the experience of shooting 4K resolution footage with the RED Digital Cinema camera. More Pictures and info on my blog.
UPDATE: Buck has just updated their site with high-rez movies of the final composites.

"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.



Scanimate moves to Asheville, NC

Dave Sieg and ZFx recently relocated to new headquarters in Asheville, NC.
"We feel this will be an amazing fit with the community where Robert Moog did all his analog wizardry in the music world.
What a great place for Scanimate to wind up!"
Scanimate Gets a New Lease On Life!
While in production for the new Scanimate DVD-2 I have been giving Scanimate some new capabilities, like a SGI Indy to truly provide "high-rez" artwork, and a CCD pickup camera. Click here for details!


Due to overwhelming demand, DVD-1 has been re-released in a standard DVD case as DVD-1 First Edition.
(This is the same material originally seen in DVD-1, just new packaging.) People all over the world are talking about the first Scanimate DVD! 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!

Notes From Dave Sieg:
OK, So What is a Scanimate? The Scanimate is an analog computer system that was built by the Computer Image Corporation of Denver, Colorado in the late sixites and early seventies. In all only eight machines were ever produced. It was used on many famous jobs over the years, and many of the people that were involved with its development, operation, and care and feeding have gone on to do significant things in a variety of places all over the world. I first became involved with Scanimates in 1979 when I was a maintenance engineer at Image West, in Hollywood, California. I now own and maintain the last working Scanimate system, that I am aware of, a dubious honor that has brought me into contact with many of the people whose lives have been touched by these machines.
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!

Note: Due to SPAM-Bots, I have had to remove the guestbook addition feature. Old entries are still shown, but you can post new entries on My Blog.

Enjoy your visit!

Dave Sieg

Last updated Feb 12, 2012
All Images, Text, Motion Pictures Copyright, © David W. Sieg