Gary Yost

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Gary Yost
Gary Yost with camera December 2014.jpg
Yost teaching in 2014
Gary Steven Yost

(1959-04-05) April 5, 1959 (age 63)
Occupation(s)Filmmaker, Software Design
SpouseSondra Davies-Yost
ChildrenRuby Yost

Gary Yost (born April 5, 1959) is an American filmmaker and software designer, best known for leading the team that created Autodesk 3ds Max.

Antic Software[edit]

Yost created the Antic Software publishing unit for Antic Magazine in 1984 after Jack Tramiel bought Atari Computer from Warner Communications and shut down the Atari Program Exchange.[1]

Yost met Tom Hudson at the Fall 1985 Comdex trade show and they began planning a suite of 3D animation tools for the Atari ST line of microcomputers, which became the Cyber Studio suite of animation products, beginning with CAD-3D 1.0, released autumn 1986.[2] Stereo CAD-3D 2.0, released in late 1987, was built on an open-architecture framework and incorporated support for creating stereoscopic animations using the Tektronix “StereoTek” liquid crystal shutter 3D display.[3][4] The StereoTek display was the first low-cost mass-market 3D display for microcomputers.[5]

The Yost Group, Autodesk and beyond[edit]

In 1988 Yost left Antic Software to form “The Yost Group” when Autodesk offered him a software licensing agreement to create a suite of affordable animation tools for the IBM PC, beginning with Autodesk 3D Studio and Autodesk Animator,[6] which was a 2D cel animation tool written by Jim Kent for The Yost Group. An obscure fact about Yost in 1988 is that, along with Computer Graphics pioneer Jim Blinn, he played percussion on the Todd Rundgren album "Nearly Human," which was recorded at Fantasy Studios in Berkeley, California.[7][8]

Working with Tom Hudson, Jack Powell, Dan Silva, Rolf Berteig and Gus Grubba, Yost led the team that created Autodesk 3D Studio versions 1-4 for the MS-DOS platform. Don Brittain, former VP of Research for Wavefront Technologies, was brought into the Yost Group to help create the re-designed 3D animation program called Autodesk 3ds Max, based on the Microsoft Windows NT platform and it was first shown at the Association for Computing Machinery’s SIGGRAPH conference in Los Angeles in 1995[9] before its 1996 release.

Yost and his engineering team applied for and received eight US patents for the technology they invented for Autodesk 3ds Max and in 1997 they sold their rights to the source code and inventions to Autodesk, ending Yost’s involvement with the product.

In 2004 Yost joined Berlin-based mental images, GmbH & Co. as Executive Vice President of their US-based operation.[10] Yost and mental images’ founder Rolf Herken had formed a relationship when Yost licensed the mental ray rendering library and other software components from mental images for Autodesk 3ds Max.[10][11] mental images was acquired by NVIDIA,[12] and Yost’s involvement wound down by 2011.

In 2013, Yost joined Rolf Herken’s Mine Innovation as an engineering advisor.[13][14]

In 2020, Yost was interviewed about his life's experience in CGI on the 300th episode of the CG Garage VFX podcast.[15]

Photography, Filmmaking and Virtual Reality.[edit]

Yost has been a photographer for over 40 years[16] and began pursuing photography more seriously in 2012 when he created the viral video “A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout,” about the Gardner Fire Lookout on Mt. Tamalpais in Marin County, California. That video won a Vimeo Staff Pick award.[17][18][19][20]

He spent seven years working with the Marin Municipal Water District and the Golden Gate National Parks Conservancy on a trilogy of films about Ground Equipment Facility J-33, the abandoned Mill Valley Air Force Station on the West Peak of Mount Tamalpais in Marin County, California.[21][22][23] Yost's Mt. Tamalpais film series [24][25] covers a wide range of topics, including a short doc about artist Zio Ziegler and his Mill Valley mural that was inspired by the Sitting Bull monument on Mt. Tam.[26]

The first film in the trilogy, “The Invisible Peak”[27] was created by Yost with help from Peter Coyote and George Daly. It has been a selection at 16 film festivals, and has won awards for Best Documentary, Best of Show, and Outstanding Environmental Vision.[28] The most-recent work in Yost's Mt. Tamalpais film series is "The Way it's Supposed to Be"[29] featuring performances by Marin County musicians Bob Weir, Maria Muldaur, Ramblin' Jack Elliott and Matt Jaffe

In addition to the filmmaking work he has accomplished on Mt. Tamalpais, Yost has been working on films that document the cultural life of Fijians in 2015.[30][31][32]

His other videos include a project with Puddles the Clown, which has garnered over 8 million views on YouTube[33] and an innovative use of infrared cinematography[34][35] for a project with the YASSOU band,[36] featuring synchronized swimmers from LA-based Aqualillies.[37][38] Yost has been actively promoting the use of time-lapse to tell stories,[39] and was a judge for the LA-based 2016 Timelapse Film Festival[40] along with Godfrey Reggio, the producer of the seminal time-lapse film Koyaanisqatsi.

In 2017 Yost was the recipient of the Mill Valley Creative Achievement "Milley" award from the Mill Valley, California Arts Commission, joining previous recipients including Dan Hicks (singer), John Korty, Joyce Maynard, Sammy Hagar, Jane Hirshfield and Bob Weir.[41][42][43]

In both 2018 and 2019 Yost won the Best Indie Filmmaker reader's choice award in Marin County, California from the Pacific Sun (newspaper)[44] and he launched the 360 Filmmaking blog in early 2018, focusing on documenting the learning processes involved making immersive virtual reality films.[45] He was the director of photography for "Circle of Dreams," a virtual reality project with the legendary SF-based art collective The Residents.[46][47]

The WisdomVR Project and Inside COVID19[edit]

Yost launched the nonprofit WisdomVR Project[48] as a 501(c)(3) with strategic partnership support from Oculus VR and the Long Now Foundation in early 2019.[49][50] As of September 2019, WisdomVR participants include Ram Dass, Betty Reid Soskin, Gavin de Becker, Peter Coyote, Shelton Johnson, Gaelynn Lea, L. Frank Manriquez, Anna Halprin, Todd Rundgren, Wavy Gravy, Joan Jeanrenaud, Malcolm Margolin, Reuben Heyday Margolin, John Law (artist), Stanislav Grof, Huey Johnson and Pearl E. Gates from Pearl Harbor and the Explosions.

In late 2020 the 501(c)(3) WisdomVR Project launched the stereoscopic 360° documentary Inside COVID19,[51] funded by Oculus (brand), which told the story of an American ER doctor who nearly died from the novel coronavirus and featured over 10 minutes of 360° stereoscopic molecular animation designed by Andrew Murdock and created in Autodesk 3ds Max.[52][53][54][55][56] Alvy Ray Smith, co-founder of Pixar, stated “WisdomVR's 'Inside COVID19' production was excellent and the interviews felt more intimate than normal (hence showing off VR in an unexpected way). The computer graphics were stunning, and the best explanation I’ve seen of COVID at work. It shows what really can be done in this new medium.” and John Carmack, founding CTO of Oculus tweeted "Inside COVID19 is a high production value documentary that just happens to be done in stereo 360, rather than a tentative exploration of a new medium. Things are maturing.” The Inside COVID19 VR documentary was nominated for the 2021 Emmy Awards in the Outstanding Interactive Program category,[57][58][59] won the Festival of International Virtual & Augmented Reality Stories "People's Choice" award for best immersive video in February 2021, is a 2021 Webby Awards Honoree[60] and was selected to be featured in the 2021 SIGGRAPH VR Theater.


  1. ^ "ANTIC The Atari 8-bit Podcast : ANTIC Interview 193 - Gary Yost, The Catalog and Cyber Studio". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  2. ^ "The Antic Cyber Graphics Software and the Pre-history of Autodesk 3D Studio and Discreet 3ds max". Martin Doudoroff LLC. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  3. ^ Mace, Scott (August 4, 1986). "Antic Prepares 3-D Glasses For CAD Graphics Program". InfoWorld. 8 (31): 16. Retrieved 19 August 2016.
  4. ^ Andy Eddy; Charles F. Johnson (July 1988). "Review CAD-3D". Atari Magazine (21): 86.
  5. ^ "Stereoscopic Display for ST". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  6. ^ Jerry Leon (2010-12-30), Autodesk Animator Demo (hard to find reel), retrieved 2016-08-19
  7. ^ Myers, Paul (15 October 2010). Myers, Paul "A Wizard, A True Star: Todd Rundgren in the Studio". ISBN 9781906002336. Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  8. ^ "Youtube "Todd Rundgren, For the Want of a Nail"". Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  9. ^ "SIGGRAPH 95". Archived from the original on 2012-10-11. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  10. ^ a b "Gary Yost: Executive Profile & Biography - Businessweek". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  11. ^ "mental images Visualizes Gary Yost as Exec VP". 2004-01-26. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  12. ^ "NVIDIA Advanced Rendering: mental images® Appoints Key Business Development Executives". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  13. ^ "People – MINE Innovation Engineering". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  14. ^ "MINE and Reality Ventures Founded; Create Conducive Environment for Engineers and Scientists to Solve Daunting Technological Challenges". Market Wired. Retrieved August 18, 2016.
  16. ^ "Gary Yost Reflects on More Than 40 Years as a Photographer | Photoshop Blog by Adobe". Photoshop Blog. Retrieved 2016-08-20.
  17. ^ "Magical Mount Tam video goes viral". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  18. ^ "Photographer Gary Yost Captures 'A Day in the Life of a Fire Lookout' | Photoshop Blog by Adobe". Photoshop Blog. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  19. ^ Baldegg, Kasia Cieplak-Mayr von. "This Bay Area Fire Lookout Might Have the Best View in the World". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  20. ^ Caine, Julie. "Audiograph: Mt. Tamalpais Fire Tower". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  21. ^ "Paul Liberatore's Lib at Large: Gary Yost's final film in trilogy uses music to heal Mt. Tam's war wounds". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  22. ^ "Magical Mt. Tamalpais". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  23. ^ "Restoring Mount Tamalpais". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  24. ^ "A Day in the Life of Mt. Tamalpais in 5 Minutes | San Francisco Chronicle". Retrieved 2018-09-30.
  25. ^ "Mount Tamalpais Short Films | Gary Yost portfolio website". Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  26. ^ "Sitting Bull plaque mystery enhances Mount Tam's legend | San Jose Mercury News". Retrieved 2016-12-19.
  27. ^ "IMDB "The Invisible Peak |". Retrieved 2016-08-22.
  28. ^ "The Invisible Peak | Vimeo". Retrieved 2021-07-12.
  29. ^ "Youtube video "The Way it's Supposed to Be" directed by Gary Yost, featuring an original song by Dore Coller". Retrieved 2017-07-01.
  30. ^ "Filmmaker: The Beauty Of Fiji Can Make You Cry | Fiji Sun". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  31. ^ "The Loss Of Fijian Oral Culture, Through The Eyes Of Filmmaker | Fiji Sun". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  32. ^ "Fiji Sings! | website". Retrieved 2017-09-21.
  33. ^ Gary Yost (2014-10-16), Hallelujah – Puddles Pity Party at the SF Regency Lodge Ballroom, retrieved 2016-08-19
  34. ^ "Yassou Benedict "Youngblood" (infrared)". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  35. ^ "Gary Yost on shooting infrared music video underwater with a Nikon D200 and D5200 IR converted cameras | Nikon Rumors". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  36. ^ "YASSOU". Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  37. ^ "Synchronized Swimming for events, parties, weddings & more..." AQUALILLIES. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  38. ^ "Yassou Benedict "Youngblood" BTS". Vimeo. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  39. ^ "Why should you create time-lapse stories, not just sequences". Time Lapse Network — Free Tutorials, Videos, forum and much more!. 2014-04-24. Retrieved 2016-08-19.
  41. ^ ""Mill Valley's 2017 Milley Award winners announced" | Marin Independent Journal". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  42. ^ "Milley Awards | Mill Valley Arts Commission". Retrieved 2017-09-20.
  43. ^ "Capturing the artistic soul of a community | Marin Independent Journal". Retrieved 2017-11-10.
  44. ^ ""Best of Marin 2018 Arts & Culture" | Pacific Sun". Retrieved 2018-04-26.
  45. ^ ""Blog:" | Blog". Retrieved 2018-02-01.
  46. ^ ""Z CAM V1 camera captures The Residents..." | 360Filmmaking blog". Retrieved 2018-12-12.
  47. ^ "The Residents present "Circle of Dreams" on OculusTV". Retrieved 2021-02-20.
  48. ^ "WisdomVR Project | website". Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  49. ^ "WisdomVR experiences on OculusTV | website". Retrieved 2020-01-01.
  50. ^ ""WisdomVR Project" | website". Retrieved 2019-01-20.
  51. ^ "Inside COVID19 | website". Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  52. ^ "INSIDE COVID19 SHEDS A HUMAN LIGHT ON THE GLOBAL PANDEMIC | Oculus Blog". Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  53. ^ "Inside COVID-19: A Doctor's Personal Battle with the Virus + Immersive Medical Visualizations | Voices of VR podcast with Kent Bye". Retrieved 2020-12-02.
  54. ^ "A new VR documentary allows viewers to experience the unfolding pandemic in a powerful, unforgettable and fully immersive way | Richard Hine's "Unprecedented" Blog". Retrieved 2021-03-21.
  55. ^ "Filmmaker Gary Yost on Using VR and 3ds Max to Tell Stories | Autodesk Area Blog". Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  56. ^ "Gary Yost — 3ds Max Development Team Leader & WisdomVR Project Founder | Chaos Group CG Garage interview". Retrieved 2021-07-01.
  57. ^ "2021 Emmy Awards | website". Retrieved 2021-07-14.
  58. ^ "Oculus Blog | website". Retrieved 2021-07-15.
  59. ^ "2021 UploadVR | website". Retrieved 2021-07-14.
  60. ^ "2021 Webby VR | website". Retrieved 2021-07-14.

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