Oscars: Sci-Tech Winners Unveiled by Academy

LAIKA's rapid prototyping system for stop-motion character animation is among the honored technologies; SMPTE will receive a special award for its centennial.
'The Boxtrolls'  Courtesy of Biennale di Venezia

Ten scientific and technical achievements represented by 33 recipients will be honored at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation Feb. 13 at the Beverly Wilshire.

As part of the ceremony, standards body the Society of Motion Picture and Television Engineers will receive a special award, a plaque, recognizing its 2016 centennial and a century of contributions to the advancement of motion picture standards and technology.

During the ceremony, Scientific and Engineering Awards (Academy Plaques) will be presented to Brian McLean and Martin Meunier of LAIKA, for the use of rapid prototyping with 3D printers to enable expressive character animation in its stop-motion film production, most recently on The Boxtrolls; and to Jack Greasley, Kiyoyuki Nakagaki, Duncan Hopkins and Carl Rand for the design and engineering of the MARI 3D texture painting system, which is available through The Foundry.

Technical Achievement Awards (Academy Certificates) will be awarded to Michael John Keesling, for the Image Shaker optical system; to David McIntosh, Steve Marshall Smith, Mike Branham and Mike Kirilenko, for the Aircover Inflatables Airwall; to Trevor Davies, Thomas Wan, Jon Scott Miller, Jared Smith and Matthew Robinson, for the development of Dolby’s PRM series reference color monitors; and to Ronald Mallet and Christoph Bregler for the  Industrial Light & Magic Geometry Tracker.

Also receiving Technical Achievement Awards are Jim Hourihan, Alan Trombla and Seth Rosenthal for Tweak Software’s RV system; Richard Chuang, Rahul Thakkar, Andrew Pilgrim, Stewart Birnam and Mark Kirk for DreamWorks Animation’s Media Review System; Keith Goldfarb, Steve Linn, Brian Green and Raymond Chih, for Rhythm & Hues’ Global DDR system; and J Robert Ray, Cottalango Leon and Sam Richards for Sony Pictures Imageworks’ Itview.

“This year’s honorees represent a wide range of new tech, including a modular inflatable airwall system for composited visual effects, a ubiquitous 3D digital paint system and a 3D printing technique for animation,” said Richard Edlund, Academy Award-winning visual effects artist and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “With their outstanding, innovative work, these technologists, engineers and inventors have further expanded filmmakers’ creative opportunities on the big screen.”

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