Rob Cook was the co-architect and primary author of Pixar's RenderMan software, which creates photo-realistic computer images. For 16 consecutive years, every film nominated for a Visual Effects Academy Award used RenderMan. In recognition of this, he and two colleagues received the first Oscar ever given for software.

He has a Bachelors in physics from Duke and a Masters in Computer Graphics from Cornell. At Lucasfilm, he pioneered programmable shading, which is an essential part of GPUs and high-end renderers, and introduced Monte Carlo techniques to computer graphics, which allowed computer-generated imagery to match the motion blur and depth of field of live-action footage. At Pixar, he led the software development group. He received the Coons Award for lifetime contributions to computer graphics, is a Fellow of the ACM, and has been named to both the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences and to the National Academy of Engineering.