In praise of 2 Frenchmen

Bezier_curve

Bezier curves are great. Named after Renault engineer Pierre Bezier, they make manipulating curves on a digital computer easy and intuitive.

Go on, try it! (Assuming you’re not on a mobile: click the circles, hold the mouse button down, move them around.) Cool eh? You don’t need to know anything about the complicated equations being changed. It’s the magic of a perfect interface.

However in a classic parallel invention story, they should really be called Casteljau curves. Citroen engineer Paul de Casteljau came up with the technique first but Citroen had a corporate policy of secrecy and he didn’t get to publish until some 15 years later. Bezier, working independently, was allowed to share his innovation and hence it’s his name you find in the menus of design software today.


Thanks to Pomax for the awesome code.