Why a teapot features in many computer graphics

Source: Nautilus, Feb 2016

… the “Utah teapot,” as it’s affectionately known—has had an enormous influence on the history of computing, dating back to 1974, when computer scientist Martin Newell was a Ph.D. student at the University of Utah.

The teapot quickly became a beloved staple of the graphics community. Teapot after teapot graced the pages and covers of computer graphics journals. 

“Anyone with a new idea about rendering and lighting would announce it by first trying it out on a teapot,” writes animator Tom Sito in Moving Innovation. “We saw the teapot rendered as if made of alabaster, red brick, leopard skin, and animal fur.” Most famously, a 1987 paper introduced an image casually described as the five Platonic solids plus the “newly discovered Teapotahedron.”

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