Nvidia Congratulates Jim Henson’s Creature Shop on Winning Primetime Emmy Engineering Award
August 27, 2009

Nvidia Congratulates Jim Henson’s Creature Shop on Winning Primetime Emmy Engineering Award

Santa Clara, Calif. – Nvidia Corp. congratulates a premier technology partner, Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, on winning an Engineering Emmy at the 61st Primetime Emmy Engineering Awards, held Saturday, Aug. 22, in Los Angeles.
The Engineering Emmy was awarded for the innovative Henson Digital Puppetry Studio, a real-time animation system that enables performers to puppeteer and voice digital characters in real-time, reducing animation time and cost. The studio features multiple virtual camera production systems and real-time animation viewing systems, all powered by Nvidia Quadro FX graphics processors, says a representative.

This proprietary animation system has been used for the production of the successful, Emmy-nominated animated children’s program “Sid the Science Kid,” produced by The Jim Henson Company and KCET/Los Angeles, and has enabled the Creature Shop to generate 40 episodes of HD computer-generated imagery within a year.

“When we embarked on this project, we searched for the best technology out there, and NVIDIA quickly became our graphics solution of choice,” says Steffen Wild, director, Henson Digital Puppetry Studio. ”Since then, a great partnership has emerged, enabling us to achieve this new form of creative expression.”

In the studio, live performers are tracked to map their body movements onto digital puppets. Simultaneously, puppeteers who voice the characters manipulate the facial motion and lip synch, using a special mechanical-input glove device developed for the right hand, and a joystick-type device for the left hand. This occurs with a director, camera, and production crews as it would on a live-action set, and comes together virtually, in real-time, using the Creature Shop’s proprietary software which marries the stage components with the show’s digital environments on the fly. This process can be replicated for any film, television, game, or interactive production.