The Pixar team would try to dissuade him by saying that RenderMan was not as easy to use as, say, Excel or Adobe Illustrator.
Then Jobs would go to a whiteboard and show them how to make it simpler and more user-friendly.
"We would be nodding our heads and getting excited and say, 'Yes, yes, this will be great!'" Kerwin recalled.
"And then he would leave and we would consider it for a moment and then say, 'What the heck was he thinking!'
He was so weirdly charismatic that you almost had to get deprogrammed after you talked to him."
As it turned out, average consumers were not craving expensive software that would let them render realistic images.
RenderMan didn't take off.
There was, however, one company that was eager to automate the rendering of animators' drawings into color images for film.
When Roy Disney led a board revolution at the company that his uncle Walt had founded,
the new CEO, Michael Eisner, asked what role he wanted.
Disney said that he would like to revive the company's venerable but fading animation department.
One of his first initiatives was to look at ways to computerize the process, and Pixar won the contract.
It created a package of customized hardware and software known as CAPS, Computer Animation Production System.
It was first used in 1988 for the final scene of The Little Mermaid, in which King Triton waves good-bye to Ariel.
Disney bought dozens of Pixar Image Computers as CAPS became an integral part of its production.