Autodesk Applauds 80th Annual Academy Award Winners and Nominees

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Best Visual Effects Winner The Golden Compass Shaped with Autodesk Technology

Last Updated: February 26, 2008 4:02 pm GMT
(San Rafael, California--February 26, 2008) The 80th Annual Academy Awards mark the thirteenth consecutive year that all films in the Best Visual Effects category were shaped with Autodesk, Inc.'s (NASDAQ: ADSK) technology. Autodesk congratulates Framestore CFC and Rhythm & Hues for its Academy Award-winning work on the Best Visual Effects winner, The Golden Compass.

Autodesk also congratulates Industrial Light & Magic, Asylum, Sony Pictures Animation/Sony Pictures Imageworks, Rhythm & Hues, EFILM and Deluxe Digital London for their work on the following Academy Award-nominated films: Transformers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Surf's Up, No Country for Old Men, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, and Atonement.

"An Academy Award marks the pinnacle of excellence in the motion picture industry, and we offer our sincere congratulations to all the talented nominees and winners for their spectacular contribution to the elite roster of 2007 Oscar nominated films," said Marc Petit, Autodesk's Media & Entertainment senior vice president. "It gives us great pride that filmmakers rely on Autodesk technology as part of their creative toolset."

The Golden Compass

Best Visual Effects award-winner Framestore CFC used Autodesk Maya 3D modeling, animation and rendering software and the Inferno visual effects system to shape The Golden Compass. "Autodesk Maya was used as part of our visual effects pipeline, to create and light all the challenging polar environments, ice and snow shots in the film," said Laurent Hugueniot, Framestore CFC's computer graphics supervisor. The facility also used Maya to build and animate all shots of a massive armored polar bear, one of the film's heroes. "Maya, with its wide-reaching flexibility, has always been a terrific package for us, easily and efficiently enabling integration of our in-house tools and other packages in our pipeline," added Hugueniot.

Rhythm & Hues used Maya for modeling the hero daemon characters for The Golden Compass, including Pan, the Golden Monkey and Stelmaria.

Surf's Up

In the Best Animated Film category from Sony Pictures Animation, artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks used the Autodesk Lustre color grading system for the final grade of nominated film Surf's Up. As well, Maya was used extensively to create the complex final water animation sequence. The film was directed by Ash Brannon and Chris Buck, produced by Christopher Jenkins and co-produced by Lydia Bottegoni.

"It was necessary to develop animation rigs and tools that could produce physically accurate water motion, which could at the same time be intricately directed and art directed," explained John Clark, lead wave animator on Surf's Up. "The Maya software's extensibility made the process flow smoothly, providing the riggers with a platform to develop a unique character rig for the waves, and providing the animators with a high performance animation and layout environment."

By leveraging the power of Maya Embedded Language (MEL), Python and the API scripting functionality in Maya, the team at Imageworks customized the Maya software to overcome many of the film's challenges. David Schaub, senior animation supervisor on the film, commented, "We never have the question, 'Well, can the software do that?' Because if it doesn't, the way Maya is built allows us to create a tool that will do the job."

Autodesk technology was also used to shape Oscar-winning and Oscar- nominated films in the following categories:
  • Best Visual Effects: Post-production facility Rainmaker UK (now CSI London) used Maya for the winning film, The Golden Compass, for modeling, rigging, animation and lighting computer-generated (CG) doubles.

  • Best Visual Effects: For the nominated film Transformers, Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) used Maya and Inferno as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects system to complete 460 shots for the film. Maya was used for all character animation, including the challenging opening sequence in which a robot attacks an American military base in the Middle East. Inferno was used on two key compositing sequences.

  • Best Visual Effects: For Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, main visual effects house ILM used Maya software and the Autodesk Flame visual effects system as part of its proprietary SABRE visual effects pipeline to create CG characters and the Maelstrom sequence.

  • Best Visual Effects: Asylum completed 315 shots for Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End with a visual effects pipeline that included Maya, Flame, Lustre, and the Autodesk Toxik compositing software.

  • Best Cinematography: EFILM used its EWORKS proprietary color grading system, which includes Autodesk Lustre and Autodesk Incinerator, for the digital color grades of No Country for Old Men and fellow nominee, The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford. Digital intermediates for both films were realized at 4K resolution.

  • Best Cinematography: Deluxe Digital London used Lustre to digitally color grade the nominated film Atonement.

  • Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design Nomination Packages: To build the sketch drawings and design packages for the Best Art Direction and Best Costume Design categories, Paul Nesmith from Pixel Blues created the sketches and animation with the Autodesk Smoke editing and finishing software.

About Autodesk
Autodesk, Inc. is the world leader in 2D and 3D design software for the manufacturing, building and construction, and media and entertainment markets. Since its introduction of AutoCAD software in 1982, Autodesk has developed the broadest portfolio of state-of-the-art digital prototyping solutions to help customers experience their ideas before they are real. Fortune 1000 companies rely on Autodesk for the tools to visualize, simulate and analyze real-world performance early in the design process to save time and money, enhance quality and foster innovation. For additional information about Autodesk, visit http://www.autodesk.com/.

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