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Jerry Tessendorf

Class of 2017-18

Jerry Tessendorf
Jerry Tessendorf

Clemson University
Academy Award for Technical Achievement
Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences
Thirty-nine Feature Film Credits

Recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 2008 for technical achievement, Jerry Tessendorf is known for advancing the use of fluid simulations in computer graphics for motion pictures. His algorithms and digital tools allow filmmakers to simulate water, fire, and other highly complex systems and to predictably render the results.

Tessendorf has thirty-nine feature film credits, including Waterworld in 1995, Titanic in 1997, Superman Returns in 2006, and The Golden Compass in 2007. His software was used for the 2012 film Life of Pi, which won the 2013 Academy Award for Best Visual Effects.

Tessendorf received his doctorate in physics from Brown University. He has held positions with Areté Associates, Texas A&M University, Areté Image Software, Cinesite Digital Studios, Finelight Visual Technologies Inc., and Rhythm and Hues Studios.

He shared a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the custom fluid dynamics tools developed and used within the studios. In addition to general three-dimensional fluid dynamics, he developed algorithms and software for water surface dynamics, volume manipulation and enhancement techniques, volume rendering, geometry tracking and texturing, and the coupling of dynamical systems.

Tessendorf directed Clemson’s Digital Production Arts program and now conducts research on new high-quality methods of fluid simulation, for both volumetric and free-surface dynamics, and supervises doctoral students on research into radiative transfer solution methods.

Tessendorf has written forty-three articles for peer-reviewed publications.

As a Faculty Fellow, Tessendorf will collaborate with faculty and students in the College of Architecture, the College of Engineering, and the College of Geosciences.


Brennen Taylor – 2018-19