If you don't already know about how Pixar began life as a high-end computer imaging firm, this is as good an introduction as any:
By the time Ed Catmull graduated from the computer science program at University of Utah, he was already considered a genius and pioneer in his field. He had developed texture mapping, a method for adding detail, texture, and color to a computer 3-D model. In 1972, he used texture mapping to create one of the earliest examples of 3-D computer animation ever – an animated film of his left hand. The one minute clip was eventually bought by a Hollywood producer and used in the 1976 film “Futureworld” – the first full-length film to use computer animation. Today, the clip, entitled “A Computer Animated Hand,” is housed in the Library of Congress after being selected for preservation in 2011 by the National Film Registry.
And if you've not seen it before, that clip from Futureworld is here. Amazing stuff.