Here’s a video done by Ed Catmull (founder of Pixar) in 1972 while at the University of Utah. It’s purported to be the first digitally rendered film. It’s just amazing how far we’ve come since these early pioneering days.
The math that we take for granted for rendering 3D was being invented, real time, to create this video. (Ed’s credited for having working out that math to handle things like texture mapping, 3D anti-aliasing and z-buffering.)
The story behind the video and how it was found recently is pretty cool too. Props to Robby Ingebretsen for sharing this!