If you wanted to learn the history of 3d Computer Graphic, I would suggest you to start with that great series of interviews with the creators of 3dstudio (the DOS version of 3dstudio max) and José Maria De Espona, one of the first 3dstudio artist to make the switch from Silicon Graphics based solutions to Intel based desktops.
“It was not however an easy task to convince my partners to adopt 3DStudio, and even harder for my clients to accept the fact that something could be produced with household PCs. We had additional problems, such as the need to keep PC boxes always open and put small fans over the CPUs, because we had literally melted some 486 PCs. Every time clients walked into our office, they would stand there with their mouths wide open looking at the atrocious spectacle of all the disassembled PCs, with their chassis and metal guts in open air, accompanied by the loud noise of the fans. I have to say we lost some clients due to this, and also because rumor spread among the competition that we used home PCs for producing TV ads”.
The Gary Yost interview contains a little gem that Character Studio and Chuck Jones fans will love. I let you read how this came about.
I should also add that great video to this post: Pixar – A human Story of computer animation, a panel with Ed Catmull, Alvy Ray Smith, Brad Bird and Andrew Stanton:
Jason Schleifer interview – Speaking of animation