Academy’s Sci-Tech Committee to Consider Digital Rendering, Car-Flipping Devices

Pixar, Weta Digital, DreamWorks Animation and ILM are among the companies whose achievements are in contention for Sci-Tech Awards

The Academy’s Scientific and Technical Awards Committee has chosen 14 different accomplishments for Sci-Tech Oscars consideration, the Academy announced on Friday.

As usual, the list is long on scientific and technical achievements whose names and descriptions are baffling to all but the most tech-savvy — though “non-explosive car-flipping devices” may mean something to the layman who’s been to a few action movies.  

Companies with work in the running for the awards include Pixar (shading and lighting techniques), DreamWorks Animation (software tools for smoke, fire and explosions), Weta Digital (pre-computation aids for rendering, and compositing systems) and ILM (two different software tools and frameworks).

Also in the running: the helicopter-based camera system used to shoot the rooftop motorcycle chase in "Skyfall."

The list of what’s being considered is released early in order to give the designers or creators of similar devices time to make their own claims or submit their own achievements to the committee.

Decisions on the Scientific and Technical Academy Awards will be made by the committee in early December.

The achivements under consideration:

Neutral density filters that remove infrared contamination
   > Prompted by the submission of the Infrared Neutral Density (IR ND) Filter Technology (Tiffen Co.)

Untethered HD video assist devices
    > Prompted by the submission of Meridian (Boxx TV Ltd.)

Software tools for accelerated simulation and rendering of smoke, fire and explosions
   > Prompted by the submission of Plume (ILM) and Flux (DreamWorks Animation)

Physically based shading and lighting techniques for digital rendering
    Prompted by the submission Efficient Physically Inspired Shading (Pixar Animation Studios)

Software tools for integrated sculpting and painting of digital models
   > Prompted by the submission of Mudbox (Autodesk) and ZBrush (Pixologic)

Pre-computation techniques for visibility and lighting in rendering applications
   > Prompted by the submission of Weta’s Spherical Harmonics Lighting (Weta Digital)

Compositing systems using per-pixel “deep” depth information
   > Prompted by the submission of Deep Compositing (Weta Digital)

Software frameworks for integrated and extensible VFX and animation applications
   > Prompted by the submission of Zeno (ILM)

Integrated software tools for performance capture, visualization and manipulation
   > Prompted by the submission of MotionBuilder (Autodesk)

Non-explosive car flipping devices
   > Prompted by the submission of the Pneumatic Car Flipper (Fxperts, Inc.)

Helicopter-based camera motion-control platforms
   > Prompted by the submission of Flying-Cam 3.0 SARAH (Flying-Cam)

Digital workflow specifications for managing color
   > Prompted by the submission of ASC CDL (D-Cinema Consulting)