Hilmar Koch joins Autodesk as the company’s first director of R&D, The Future of Storytelling. He will guide a newly established team in reimagining the company’s approach to building storytelling tools for the creation of films, TV content, games, immersive experiences and beyond. Koch is the former director of the Advanced Development Group at ILMxLAB. He spent nearly 20 years as technology director, overseeing technical and creative teams and collaborating with partners to redefine the storytelling experience. There, he delivered the studio’s first VR project, a two-minute Jurassic World experience created in collaboration with Felix and Paul
Koch previously acted as director of virtual production, supervising global ILM teams across projects, and minimizing the data capture technology footprint on the set of Star Wars: Episode VII – The Force Awakens. Throughout his tenure with the studio, he also served as head of CG, CG department supervisor, CG supervisor, technical director and various artist roles. He began his career at Blue Sky Studios, where he spent four years as a digital effects supervisor.
Here, he talks about his new role.
What drew you to Autodesk?
“Innovation and passion run in Autodesk’s DNA. The company’s commitment to continuously refining technology workflows for traditional and emerging storytelling mediums is admirable, and something I’m excited to be a part of. In the last year, Autodesk Media & Entertainment (M&E) has made so many great choices, and their thirst for innovation is inspiring; I look forward to working with a supportive, passionate team to develop technology that will make a real difference in the years to come.”
What excites you most about your new job?
“We’re really surrounded by stories - major feature films, innovative architectural designs - but the way these stories are told is about to undergo a major transition thanks to AR and VR. Autodesk is investing heavily in the future of storytelling, with a new group dedicated to developing tools for immersive mediums. With my creative and technical background, and experience in immersive content, I am looking forward to working with this team as we push the limits of technology to break new ground, nurturing team spirit, contributing both creatively and technically.”
Tell us about your design philosophy.
“I am most satisfied when technology peels away and creatives can collaborate as a team, explore the creative space nimbly and communicate their ideas eloquently.”
Who inspires you?
“Discoverers and travelers like Ibn Battuta (who travelled the world in the 14th century), James Holman (the blind traveler) and Mau Piailug (the star navigator). They had the courage and curiosity to travel the world for the sheer wonder of it, listening and observing the subtlest of detail. They all emerged with stories of fantastic discoveries, which in turn inspired others. I admire that spirit immensely. Imagine the people they met on the journey!”