Jules Urbach

Founder and CEO, Otoy

How he’s innovating: It sounds like a mother’s worst nightmare: Jules Urbach was too busy making videogames to go to Harvard.

“I deferred for a year, and the next year came around and I deferred again, and after awhile it was clear this was where I was and I was going to continue to do this,” Urbach recalls.

But Urbach has done fine without the Crimson, building graphics tools for online gaming that have been adopted by Macromedia other major companies.

With his current venture, Otoy, he’s working on two fronts: using PC video cards to render high-quality images in a fraction of the time required by more traditional methods, and looking to make high-end computer graphics available over the Internet even to users with a standard off-the-shelf PC.

Otoy has attracted the attention of chipmaker Advanced Microdevices, which is collaborating with him on applications for Otoy.

Chris Hook, head of desktop platform PR for AMD says his company’s execs were skeptical until the saw Urbach’s work in action.

“From a gaming industry perspective,” Hook says, “suddenly you could take this Hollywood-quality CG and run it in real time. That opens the door for games where you’re looking at images that your brain believes are reality.

“This is a whole quantum leap forward in terms of digital realism in real time.”

Urbach says he works much as he did when he was oil painting as a kid.

“The approach that I’ve always taken is I know what the end result is going to look like,” says Urbach. “If I have the ability to do it the long way or the hard way I can just see what that is and then I can try to re-create something that visually gives you that exact result in a completely different way.”

Take: “When you combine the left and right brains, when you bring in artistic creativity and throw out having to do it a particular way mathematically, you end up with some really great stuff. I think every great thing I’ve seen in CG has come from that way of thinking.”

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