London, UK - Visual effects developer The Foundry has announced that the development team responsible for the company’s Furnace visual effects and image-processing plug-ins is to be honored with a Scientific and Engineering Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
The formal awards ceremony and presentation will take place on February 10 in Los Angeles. The Foundry’s head of research and development Dr. Bill Collis, chief engineer Simon Robinson, and senior software engineer Ben Kent, along with consultant Dr. Anil Kokaram, will receive the Academy Award for their roles in the design and development of The Foundry’s Furnace. Furnace is a suite of software visual effects plug-ins, which uses temporal coherence for enhancing visual effects in motion-picture sequences.
The Academy considered the Furnace toolset’s modularity, flexibility and robustness to have set a high standard of quality for optical flow-based image manipulation. Optical flow or motion estimation is an area in which The Foundry has pioneered a new generation of algorithms which enable the tracking of every pixel in a frame to subsequent and preceding frames.
Launched in 2002, The Foundry’s Furnace was the first toolset to deploy these new algorithms, with the retiming tool Kronos speeding up and slowing down footage. Today, more than 30 plug-ins within the Furnace package take advantage of advanced motion estimation technology, providing digital visual effects artists with a range of plug-ins to tackle compositing issues as diverse as wire and rig removal, grain reduction, dust busting, image stabilisation, super resolution, auto rotoscoping, image segmentation, flicker removal, image stitching, adding motion blur, tracking and generating depth mattes, among others.
The Foundry is the only British company to be honored with a 2006 Academy Award and is one of only four companies to be awarded the Scientific and Engineering Award Academy Plaque.