Academy recognizes scientific and technical achievements.
Jan 06, 2003 by Ian Evans
Though much of the attention in the film industry goes to the actors and director, much of the work they’ve done over the past century wouldn’t be possible if it wasn’t for the geniuses who advance the scientific and technical worlds behind the lens. Each year, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences honors these people and companies. Three Oscar® statuettes will be among the Academy Awards to be presented for scientific and technical achievement on March 1 by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
Alias/Wavefront will receive an Oscar for developing “Maya,” a 3-D animation, modeling and rendering production tool. The “Maya” software is in extremely wide use, and can create computer-generated versions of anything from character models to sets and backdrops which are indistinguishable from live-action film footage. The customizable software has been used to some degree on nearly every feature using 3-D computer-generated images and was employed extensively in such films as Spider-Man, Ice Age, Hollow Man and The Perfect Storm.
Oscars® also will be presented to Arnold & Richter Cine Technik and to Panavision Inc., for the two companies’ continuing advancements in camera systems designed for the film industry. The two manufacturers have led the industry in developing and introducing products that define “state-of-the-art” in motion picture camera technology.
The Academy’s Board of Governors voted to award the Oscars, as well as four Scientific and Engineering Awards, which will be presented in the form of plaques, and six Technical Achievement Awards, to be presented as certificates, based upon recommendations from the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee, chaired by Richard Edlund.
Awards Administration Director Rich Miller said that unlike other of this year’s Academy Awards, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards do not have to have been introduced during 2002, and in fact are only considered “if they have a proven track record showcasing successful and repeated use in the film industry.”
The Scientific and Technical Academy Awards will be presented at a gala black tie dinner on Saturday evening, March 1, at the Regent Beverly Wilshire Hotel.
Academy Awards for Scientific and Technical achievements for the year 2002 are:
ACADEMY AWARD OF MERIT (Oscar Statuette)
- To Alias/Wavefront for the development of a 3D animation, dynamics, modeling and rendering production tool known as Maya. With its significant and dominant impact on the motion picture industry, the Maya software package offers a robust and widely used commercial visual effects tool with a rich infrastructure for extension and customization.
- To Arnold & Richter Cine Technik and to Panavision, Inc., for their continuing development and innovation in the design and manufacturing of advanced camera systems specifically designed for the motion picture entertainment industry. With a commitment that lies beyond the usual commercial considerations, these two manufacturers continue to lead the industry in developing and introducing products that have defined state of the art in motion picture camera technology.
SCIENTIFIC AND ENGINEERING AWARDS (Academy Plaque)
- To Glenn Sanders and Howard Stark of Zaxcom for the concept, design and engineering of the portable Deva Digital Audio Disk Recorder. This innovative design employs advanced hard disk recording technology and digital audio techniques for use in both production and post-production recording applications.
- To Mark Elendt, Paul H. Breslin, Greg Hermanovic and Kim Davidson for their continued development of the procedural modeling and animation components of their Prisms program, as exemplified in the Houdini software package. Through a procedural building-block process, the Houdini software is used to simulate natural phenomena using particle effects and complex three-dimensional models.
- To Dr. Leslie Gutierrez, Diane E. Kestner, James Merrill and David Niklewicz for the design and development of the Kodak Vision Premier Color Print Film, 2393. This film stock provides filmmakers with enhanced color saturation, higher contrast and darker blacks, producing a bold, colorful “look” on the theater screen.
- To Dedo Weigert for the concept, Dr. Depu Jin for the optical calculations, and Franz Petters for the mechanical construction of the Dedolight 400D. This uniquely designed set light provides superior performance, reliability and ease of use. Combined with its excellent array of accessories, the Dedolight 400D is an outstanding engineering achievement.
TECHNICAL ACHIEVEMENT AWARDS (Academy Certificates)
- To Dick Walsh for the development of the PDI/ Dreamworks Facial Animation System. This effective software simulation system is used to create and control natural, expressive, highly-nuanced facial animation on a wide range of computer-generated characters.
- To Thomas Driemeyer and to the Team of Mathematicians, Physicists and Software Engineers of Mental Images for their contributions to the Mental Ray rendering software for motion pictures. Mental Ray is a highly programmable computer-graphics renderer incorporating ray tracing and global illumination to realistically simulate the behavior of light in computer-generated imagery.
- To Eric Daniels, George Katanics, Tasso Lappas and Chris Springfield for the development of the Deep Canvas rendering software. The Deep Canvas software program captures the original brush strokes of the traditional background artist to render elements in three dimensions for animated films.
- To Jim Songer for his contributions to the technical development of video-assist in the motion picture industry. The work of Jim Songer from 1968 through 1973 led directly to the more widespread acceptance of video-assist in the motion picture industry.
- To Pierre Chabert of Airstar for the introduction of balloons with internal light sources to provide set lighting for the motion picture industry. These helium-filled balloons with internal arrangements for tungsten halogen and HMI light sources are usable indoors or out, quick to set up, require essentially no rigging and provide a soft light that can cover a very large area.
- To Rawdon Hayne and Robert W. Jeffs of Leelium Tubelite for their contributions to the development of internally lit balloons for motion picture lighting. These helium-filled balloons with internal arrangements for tungsten halogen and HMI light sources are usable indoors or out, quick to set up, require essentially no rigging and provide a soft light that can cover a very large area.