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Katana and mocha creators win technical Oscars

Wednesday, January 16th, 2013 | Posted by Jim Thacker

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Mocha 3.0 in action. The creators of Imagineer Systems’ planar tracking system, used in movies including the Harry Potter series and Black Swan, have won one of this year’s nine Scientific and Technical Academy Awards.

The developers of Katana and mocha are to be awarded Scientific and Technical Academy Awards in this year’s ceremony, due to be held at The Beverly Hills Hotel on 9 February.

Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall and Jeremy Selan win an Academy Certificate for the creation of Katana, the scene-management and relighting software developed at Sony Pictures Imageworks and now sold by The Foundry.

The original developers of mocha, Imagineer Systems’ planar tracking system, go one better. Philip McLauchlan, Allan Jaenicke, John–Paul Smith and Ross Shain win an Academy Plaque.

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Theodore Kim, Nils Thuerey, Doug James and Markus Gross’s demo of wavelet turbulence from Siggraph 2008. The fluid simulation technique was later adopted by the developers of Blender’s new smoke simulation system.

The creators of the wavelet turbulence method for fluid simulation, now adopted in software packages including Blender and FumeFX, also win an Academy Certificate.

The remaining awards go mainly to technologies developed at large studios, including Light, PDI/DreamWorks in-house lighting software; Tissue, Weta’s physically based character simulation framework; and the pose space deformation technique developed at Centropolis and Disney.

You can see a fantastically nostalgia-inducing video for the latter on YouTube.

Read the full list of Scientific and Technical Academy Award winners

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