Oscar season is right around the corner, but its not just the big Hollywood stars that are getting recognition. The Academy also gives away some distinct honors in scientific and technical achievements in film. Unlike the mainstream awards that are given only for accomplishments in the previous calendar year, the science and technology awards are given to innovators and companies who have made a lasting impact in the field, regardless of the year. Take some time to familiarize yourself with this year’s honorees.
Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate)
To J.P. Lewis, Matt Cordner and Nickson Fong for the invention and publication of the Pose Space Deformation technique.
Pose Space Deformation (PSD) introduced the use of novel sparse data interpolation techniques to the task of shape interpolation. The controllability and ease of achieving artistic intent have led to PSD being a foundational technique in the creation of computer–generated characters.
To Lawrence Kesteloot, Drew Olbrich and Daniel Wexler for the creation of the Light system for computer graphics lighting at PDI/DreamWorks.
Virtually unchanged from its original incarnation over 15 years ago, Light is still in continuous use due to its emphasis on interactive responsiveness, final–quality interactive render preview, scalable architecture and powerful user–configurable spreadsheet interface.
To Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall and Jeremy Selan for the creation of the Katana computer graphics scene management and lighting software at Sony Pictures Imageworks.
Katana’s unique design, featuring a deferred evaluation procedural node–graph, provides a highly efficient lighting and rendering workflow. It allows artists to non–destructively edit scenes too complex to fit into computer memory, at scales ranging from a single object up to an entire detailed city.
To Theodore Kim, Nils Thuerey, Dr. Markus Gross and Doug James for the invention, publication and dissemination of Wavelet Turbulence software.
This technique allowed for fast, art–directable creation of highly detailed gas simulation, making it easier for the artist to control the appearance these effects in the final image.
To Richard Mall for the design and development of the Matthews Max Menace Arm.
Highly sophisticated and well–engineered, the Max Menace Arm is a safe and adjustable device that allows rapid, precise positioning of lighting fixtures, cameras or accessories. On–set or on location, this compact and highly portable structure is often used where access is limited due to restrictions on attaching equipment to existing surfaces.
Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque)
To Simon Clutterbuck, James Jacobs and Dr. Richard Dorling for the development of the Tissue Physically–Based Character Simulation Framework.
This framework faithfully and robustly simulates the effects of anatomical structures underlying a character’s skin. The resulting dynamic and secondary motions provide a new level of realism to computer–generated creatures.
To Dr. Philip McLauchlan, Allan Jaenicke, John–Paul Smith and Ross Shain for the creation of the Mocha planar tracking and rotoscoping software at Imagineer Systems Ltd.
Mocha provides robust planar–tracking even when there are no clearly defined points in the image. Its effectiveness, ease of use, and ability to exchange rotoscoping data with other image processing tools have resulted in widespread adoption of the software in the visual effects industry.
To Joe Murtha, William Frederick and Jim Markland of Anton/Bauer, Inc. for the design and creation of the CINE VCLX Portable Power System.
The CINE VCLX provides extended run–times and flexibility, allowing users to power cameras and other supplementary equipment required for production. This high–capacity battery system is also matched to the high–demand, always–on digital cinema cameras.
Academy Award® of Merit (Oscar® Statuette)
To Cooke Optics Limited for their continuing innovation in the design, development and manufacture of advanced camera lenses that have helped define the look of motion pictures over the last century.
Since their first series of motion picture lenses, Cooke Optics has continued to create optical innovations decade after decade. Producing what is commonly referred to as the “Cooke Look,” these lenses have often been the lens of choice for creative cinematographers worldwide.
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