Issue: Volume 36 Issue 2: (Jan/Feb 2013)

Academy Names Nine 2013 Sci-Tech Winners


Nine scientific and technical achievements represented by 25 individual award recipients will be honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation in early February. this year, a number of the awards relate directly to CG innovation.

the achievements need not have been developed and introduced in 2012, but they must show a proven record of contributing significant value to the motion-picture making process.

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate)

JP 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.

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. 

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.

Theodore Kim, Nils thuerey, Markus Gross, and Doug James for the invention, publication, and dissemination of Wavelet Turbulence software. this technique allowed for fast, art–directable creation of detailed gas simulation, making it easier for the artist to control the appearance of these effects in the final image.

Richard Mall for the design and development of the Matthews Max Menace Arm. Sophisticated and well–engineered, the Max Menace Arm is a safe, 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)

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.

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 led to widespread adoption.

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 runtimes and flexibility, allowing users to power cameras and other supplementary equipment required for production.

Academy Award of Merit (Oscar Statuette)

Cooke Optics Ltd. for its continuing innovation in the design, development, and manufacture of advanced camera lenses that have helped defi ne 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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