Steve Sullivan


For his industry leadership and significant contributions to mixed reality and content creation technology

Executive Leader

  • MS, Electrical Engineering, The Grainger College of Engineering, 1991
  • PhD, Electrical Engineering, The Grainger College of Engineering, 1997

Steve Sullivan served most recently as Partner and General Manager at Microsoft, where he founded and led the Mixed Reality Capture Studios program to produce holographic video of human performances for VR, AR, and 2D applications. His team incubated the technology in Microsoft’s Startup Business Group, graduated to the HoloLens team for launch, then rebooted as a studio program in San Francisco to commercialize the technology widely. 

In the past 5 years, their work has been used on hundreds of Mixed Reality productions and experienced by hundreds of millions of viewers. Current stages/partners are located in San Francisco, London, Los Angeles, Berlin, Redmond, Seoul, Washington D.C., Zurich and Tokyo.

From 2002-2012, Steve was Director of R&D and then Senior Technology Officer at ILM/Lucasfilm. He led R&D across the Lucas Divisions, driving both strategy and execution to advance the state of the art in computer graphics and production technologies for film, TV, and games. He contributed to more than 70 films including the Star Wars prequels, Avatar, Pirates of the Caribbean, Transformers, Harry Potter and Minority Report, among many others. He received three Academy Awards for Technology for matchmoving, image-based modeling, and on-set motion capture - the R&D team earned nine more for work during his tenure. 

Steve is an inventor on more than 25 patents and a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. He served on the SciTech Academy Awards committee and the Academy's Science and Technology Council for many years. Steve has also received a Lumiere Award for his work in volumetric video, and he was honored with a Young Alumni Achievement Award in 2006 by The Grainger College of Engineering’s Department of Electrical and Computer Engineering.

Current as of February 2023