William Alan Fetter

Basic Info

Name: William Alan Fetter
Date of Birth: March 14, 1928
Date of Death: June 23, 2002
Country of Origin: US


William Fetter was a graphic designer and artist recognized for being a pioneer in the field of computer graphics. Fetter’s well-known 1964 “First Man” or “Boeing Man”, a short animation of a pilot, meant to be used in films, was the earliest example of a human figure generated by computer. He is widely credited with coining the term “computer graphics“.

Born in Independence, Missouri, in 1928, he obtained a B.A. in graphic design from the University of Illinois in 1952. In 1959, he was recruited by Boeing as art director of the CAD department to generate new methods for producing 3D drawings. Fetter worked as a graphic designer in a team with engineers and programmers, creating processes for perspective drawing that were then translated into computer programs for the mathematical operations required.

His “First Man”, alternatively called “Human Figure”, has been exhibited internationally beginning in 1968 and as recently as 2015 at the Zagreb Contemporary Art Museum.

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