On Saturday night, the science and tech behind the images on the big screen had its time in front of the camera on the red carpet at The Academy's Scientific and Technical Awards. We've got a gallery from the carpet as well as a recap of all the awards.

Les Zellan, Cooke Optics
Bill Taylor

Academy Award® of Merit (Oscar® Statuette) to Cooke Optics Limited for their 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 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.

Check out interview with Cooke's Les Zellan in the rc podcast.

John A Bonner Medal of Commendation to Bill Taylor.

Presented in appreciation for outstanding service and dedication in upholding the high standards of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

We talked to Bill on the fxpodcast here.



Dr. Philip McLauchlan, Allan Jaenicke, John-Paul Smith, Ross Shain
Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall, Jeremy Selan

Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) to 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 resulted in widespread adoption of the software in the visual effects industry.

We talked to John-Paul Smith in this fxpodcast.

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) to 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.

Steve LaVietes was on the fxpodcast recently, check it out here.



Simon Clutterbuck, James Jacobs, Dr. Richard Dorling
Lawrence Kesteloot, Drew Olbrich, Daniel Wexler

Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) 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 underlying a character's skin. The resulting dynamic and secondary motions provide a new level of realism to computer–generated creatures.

Our fxguidetv ep covered Weta Digital's Tissue system here.

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) to 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.

We went behind the scenes of Light here.


Matt Cordner, J.P. Lewis, Nickson Fong
Richard Mall

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) to J.P. 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.

Read our in-depth discussion of PSD with the award winners at fxguide.

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) to Richard Mall for the design and development of the Matthews Max Menace Arm.

Highly sophisticated and well–engineered, the Max Menace Arm is 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.



Joe Murtha, William Frederick, Jim Markland

Scientific and Engineering Award (Academy Plaque) to 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 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, always–on digital cinema cameras.

Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) to 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 highly detailed gas simulation, making it easier for the artist to control the appearance these effects in the final image.

Read about the wavelet turbulence research here at fxguide.



Hosts Chris Pine and Zoe Saldana

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