The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences recently presented its Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards to 25 recipients during a ceremony held at the Beverly Hills Hotel in Los Angeles, Calif. Unlike for the Academy Awards that will be presented on February 24, these science and technical achievements were not required to be developed and introduced in 2012, but they must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures. Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards presentation will be included in the upcoming Oscar telecast.
The Academy Award of Merit (an Oscar statuette) went to Cooke Optics Limited for its 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 its 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.
The Technical Achievement Award (an Academy certificate) went to J.P. Lewis, Matt Cordner and Nickson Fong for the invention and publication of the Pose Space Deformation (PSD) technique. 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.
Lawrence Kesteloot, Drew Olbrich and Daniel Wexler also won a Technical Achievement Award for the creation of the Light system for computer graphics lighting at PDI/DreamWorks. Virtually unchanged from its original incarnation 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.
Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall and Jeremy Selan won a Technical Achievement Award 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 nondestructively edit scenes too complex to fit into computer memory, at scales ranging from a single object up to an entire detailed city.
Theodore Kim, Nils Thuerey, Dr. Markus Gross and Doug James won a Technical Achievement Award for the invention, publication and dissemination of Wavelet Turbulence software. This technique allows for the fast, art-direct-able creation of highly detailed gas simulation, making it easier for the artist to control the appearance these effects in the final image.
Richard Mall won a Technical Achievement Award for the design and development of the Matthews Max Menace Arm. Highly sophisticated and well-engineered, it’s 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.
The Scientific and Engineering Award (an Academy plaque) went 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 under a character’s skin. The resulting dynamic and secondary motions provide a new level of realism to computer-generated creatures.
Dr. Philip McLauchlan, Allan Jaenicke, John-Paul Smith and Ross Shain also won a Scientific and Engineering Award 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 the software’s widespread adoption in the visual effects industry.
Joe Murtha, William Frederick and Jim Markland of Anton/Bauer, Inc. won a Scientific and Engineering Award 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 from always-on digital cinema cameras.
P3 Update would like to congratulate all this year’s Academy Award recipients.
1. Key Grip Richard Mall accepts the Technical Achievement Award for the design and development of the Matthews Max Menace Arm.
2. Les Zellan, chairman and owner, Cooke Optics Limited.
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