Biographies for Drew Perttula (mostly autobiographies)

Some of these writeups have already appeared places; some are additional sections I wrote for the site.

IMDB bio


6' 9" (2.06 m)


Kelsi Perttula (17 September 2006 - present)


Earned a Bachelor of Science in Electrical Engineering and Computer Science from UC Berkeley (2000).

Enjoys home automation including homemade light dimmers and barcode scanner/electric strike for entry into his home.

2002 Theater playbill for Guys and Dolls:

Drew has worked on PLOT shows since 1990, and he recently lit City of Angels at Masquers. For the last few years, he has been building a computerized lighting system with fellow lighting designer and programmer David McClosky. Drew tests all his inventions at his home in Berkeley, much to the dismay of his housemates. When he's not in the theater, Drew designs commerce websites and creates visual effects for films.

2001 Theater playbill for Kiss Me Kate:

This year, for the first time, Drew will have worked on PLOT shows for more than half his life. Drew graduated from U.C. Berkeley's School of Engineering last year after studying computer graphics and computer vision. He returned to Berkeley as a teaching assistant last semester and now is looking for a job creating visual effects for movies. At home he regularly violates his lease conditions by building giant furniture and lighting systems. Even his W.C. has a sound system and computer-controlled lighting.

2002 Theater playbill for City of Angels:

Drew has lit Bay Area shows for the last 12 years. By day, he programs web sites and ticketing systems for a ferry company; by night, he designs visual effects for films. At home he regularly violates his lease conditions by building giant furniture and lighting systems. Drew is attempting to use his electrical engineering and computer science degree to build an advanced computerized lighting system.

Creative Cow profile

Drew is an open source nut who aims to work on visual effects production. He builds ridiculous hardware and writes all sorts of software. Some of his favorite answers to computer questions are "zsh can already do that" and "I'd recommend python". Drew took two paying video projects in the last year, yet he owns no video editing software and does not intend to buy any. This is why it's very important that he develop his own editing system, and fast. You'll be able to use it, too, real soon now. Drew Perttula is a leader in the Linux forum at

Linuxmovies resource guide introduction

I'm Drew Perttula, from Berkeley, CA. I started the wiki, which is why some pages are modified by my zope user drewp instead of my wiki name DrewP. I have another job doing programming, web site construction, and system administration. I want to be working on films. I was a tester for Silicon Grail's Rayz compositor before it got eaten. I'm a regular gimp user, and I write python scripts to auto-generate graphics with the gimp. I'm working on a theater lighting controller and a DV editing suite. I hang out on in #python, #livid, #pygame, #zope, #matterial, and #slackware.

Brief graphics and programming background

At UC Berkeley, I focused on computer graphics and computer vision. I also took a few hardware and computer architechture courses (and returned to TA for two of them). I took some elective dynamics and fluid mechanics courses because I'm interested in physical simulation. Nowadays, I work on open source projects such as a theater lighting control system and a digital video editor. Some other past projects are on my homepage.

I much prefer the open source world, although I have experience with Media 100, Premiere, and Final Cut Pro systems; and Rayz and Maya.

A Cuisine presentation intro

I've always lived in the Bay Area, and I studied computer graphics and computer vision at U.C. Berkeley. I took some elective dynamics, fluid mechanics, and robotics courses because I'm interested in physical simulation. I've been a videographer since 1992 and interested in computer graphics for all my moviegoing life. I've worked on theater lighting for almost that long, which I love because of the teamwork between artists and technicians and because quality, efficiency, and creativity are all rewarded.

Cuisine is one of my recent projects. I took two paying video projects in the last year, yet I owned no video editing software and didn't intend to buy any. Like a good open-source enthusiast, I started developing my own (after researching the existing systems). My first priority was to complete the first video project by November 2002, but my other big priority was to build something that would continue to work for me and would help others. Cuisine is a set of libraries and small tools for processing, annotating, and editing video. I'll be talking about the design decisions I made, the tools I chose, and what I'm now able to accomplish.

Computer experience

Basic since 1984, C since 1993, Perl and Tcl since 1996, Python since 1999.

DOS (and some CP/M) since 1984. Owned an Amiga since 1989. Run Linux machines since about 1995; continuously since 1996 (web site since around then, too).

Academic history

I attended the College Preparatory School in Oakland, California from 1992-1996. Then I attended U.C. Berkeley, described below.

Most course names are fictional based on what I remember learning.

Schedules are approximate, as I may have deviated from my official schedules in ways that I have now forgotten. Some subjects are abbreviated: computer science, mechanical engineering, electrical engineering. You could try to look up course descriptions at on Berkeley's site.

Fall 1996: 
 Math 53M "Calculus, Especially on Curves and Surfaces", 
 History 7A "Some of U.S. History", 
 CS 61A "Structure and Interpretation of Computer Programs"

Spring 1997: 
 CS 61C "Computer Architectures", 
 Math 54M "Linear Algebra", 
 Physics 7A "Kinetics",
 Linguistics 55 "Survey of Linguistics"

Fall 1997: 
 English 1A "Book reading",
 Physics 7B "Electricity and Magnetism"

Spring 1998: 
 CS 170 "Algorithms",
 Math 55 "Discrete Math and Logic",
 Physics 7C "Optics and Relativity",
 CS 184 "Intro to Graphics"

Fall 1998: 
 ME 104 "Solving Dynamics Problems", 
 CS 284 "Curved surfaces", 
 CS 164 "Compilers", 
 CS 294 "Rapid Prototyping"

Spring 1999: 
 Classics 28 "Mythology", 
 EE 120 "Signals and Systems", 
 CS 280 "Computer Vision", 
 CS 298 "Research Assistant on a Vision Perception and Grouping Project"

Fall 1999: 
 EE 125 "Intro to Robotics", 
 CS 150 "Digital Design", 
 Linguistics 125 "Intro to Theories of Syntax", 
 CS 294-2 "Perception and grouping"

Spring 2000: 
 EE 192 "Sensors, Actuators, and Control Systems for Robots",
 Scandinavian 116 "Hans Christian Andersen"

Fall 2000 (cant find course numbers): 
 Political Science "U.S. Political Science",
 ME "Fluid Mechanics", 
 E 45 "Intro to Materials"

Even more background

I like to build my own furniture. Here's a plan for a shelf I now use. I built my own desk which can be seen in the photos at the bottom of this recent page. Here's a composite image showing the desk shortly after I built it. The left half is a POV-Ray rendering of the plans for the desk; the right half of the image is a photo of the desk (with a wide-angle lens). The chair is in the middle of the dissolve from rendered to real, so it only appears halfway.