The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced that nine scientific and technical achievements represented by 27 individual award recipients will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, Feb 9, 2019, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

“Each year, the Academy forms a diverse committee made up of nearly 60 experts on the technology of filmmaking tasked with examining the tools that artists use to create films,” said Doug Roble, chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “This year, the committee is recognizing nine technologies from around the world. These extraordinary contributions to the science of filmmaking have elevated our art form to incredible new heights.”

In addition, cinematographer Curtis Clark will receive the John A. Bonner Award for his extraordinary service to the motion picture industry.

The Academy Awards for scientific and technical achievements are:

TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS

To Eric Dachs, Erik Bielefeldt, Craig Wood and Paul McReynolds for the design and development of the PIX System’s novel security mechanism for distributing media.

PIX System’s robust approach to secure media access has enabled wide adoption of their remotely collaborative dailies-review system by the motion picture industry.

To Per-Anders Edwards for the initial design and development of the MoGraph toolset in Cinema 4D for motion graphics.

MoGraph provides a fast, non-destructive and intuitive workflow for motion designers to create animated 3D graphics, as used for title design and fictional user interfaces in motion pictures.

To Paul Miller for the software design, principal engineering and continued innovation, and to Marco Paolini for the efficient, artist-friendly workflow design of the Silhouette rotoscope and paint system.

Silhouette

Silhouette provides a comprehensive solution for painting, rotoscoping and image manipulation of high-resolution image sequences. Its fast, scalable and extensible architecture has resulted in wide adoption in motion picture post-production.

Paul Debevec in front of the Light Stage.

To Paul Debevec, Tim Hawkins and Wan-Chun Ma for the invention of the Polarized Spherical Gradient Illumination facial appearance capture method, and to Xueming Yu for the design and engineering of the Light Stage X capture system.

Polarized Spherical Gradient Illumination was a breakthrough in facial capture technology allowing shape and reflectance capture of an actor’s face with sub-millimeter detail, enabling the faithful recreation of hero character faces. The Light Stage X structure was the foundation for all subsequent innovation and has been the keystone of the method’s evolution into a production system.

 

Medusa rig - this rig is both portable and lightweight. (fxguide Mike Seymour seen seated).

To Thabo Beeler, Derek Bradley, Bernd Bickel and Markus Gross for the conception, design and engineering of the Medusa Performance Capture System.

Medusa captures exceptionally dense animated meshes without markers or makeup, pushing the boundaries of visual fidelity and productivity for character facial performances in motion pictures.

To Charles Loop for his influential research on the fundamental scientific properties of subdivision surfaces as 3D geometric modeling primitives.

Loop’s 1987 master’s thesis, “Smooth Subdivision Surfaces Based on Triangles,” together with his subsequent research and publications, extended the theory of subdivision surfaces and inspired further development of methods that transformed the way digital artists represent 3D geometry throughout the motion picture industry.

SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING AWARDS (ACADEMY PLAQUES)

To David Simons, Daniel Wilk, James Acquavella, Michael Natkin and David Cotter for the design and development of the Adobe After Effects software for motion graphics.

After Effects’ pioneering use of consumer hardware to host an application that is extensible, efficient and artist-focused has made it the preeminent motion graphics tool in film production, allowing motion designers to create complex animated elements for title design, screen graphics and fictional user interfaces.

John Knoll

To Thomas Knoll and John Knoll for the original architecture, design and development, and to Mark Hamburg for his continued development and engineering of Adobe Photoshop.

Photoshop’s efficient, extensible architecture, innovative virtual-memory design and powerful layering system introduced a new level of user interactivity, which led to its adoption as the preferred artistic tool for digital painting and image manipulation across the motion picture industry.

Ed Catmull

To Ed Catmull for the original concept, and to Tony DeRose and Jos Stam for their pioneering advancement of the underlying science of subdivision surfaces as 3D geometric modeling primitives.

Their creation of essential geometric operations and sustained research on the fundamental mathematics of subdivision surfaces helped transform the way digital artists represent 3D geometry throughout the motion picture industry.

JOHN A. BONNER AWARD 

Curtis Clark, ASC is known for pushing creative boundaries. He studied theater directing at the Art Institute of Chicago’s Goodman School of Drama and cinematography at the London Film School. After graduation, he began his career by shooting and directing numerous documentary films in Britain before transitioning to shooting feature films.

Clark’s narrative feature film cinematography credits include such critically acclaimed films as The Draughtsman’s Contract; Dominick and Eugene; Alamo Bay; Extremities and Triumph of the Spirit. He started shooting television commercials in the early 90s, which put him on the forefront of the digital/film frontier. He has continued adding to his many commercial credits working as cinematographer as well as director. Following on the success of his narrative short film, The Arrival, which he wrote, photographed and directed, Clark more recently, he made  his highly praised narrative short film, Eldorado, which he also wrote, photographed and directed for Sony. Clark has just completed his latest dramatic narrative short film, Meridian, for Netflix which he directed and co-wrote with James Harmon Brown. Clark is a Board of Governors member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).

Clark received a previous Motion Picture Academy Technical Achievement Award in recognition of his work developing the ASC CDL which has also been recognized by the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences with a prestigious Prime Time EMMY Engineering Award. In addition, Clark has been actively involved with the development of ACES (Academy Color Encoding System) initiated by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.


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