Tech achievement Oscar goes to Canadian software developers
The Canadian Press
Posted: Jan 4, 2013 9:43 AM ET
Last Updated: Jan 4, 2013 6:04 PM ET
Two software developers from Canada are among the first Academy Award winners of the year.
London, Ont. native Doug James and Vancouver-based Nils Thuerey share a technical achievement award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with international colleagues Theodore Kim and Markus Gross.
The quartet is being honoured for developing the Wavelet Turbulence software, a digital tool that makes it easier for visual effects artists to control the appearance of gas and smoke on film.
The German-born Thuerey says it's been used in more than 20 big Hollywood productions, including Monsters vs Aliens and Battleship.
Thuerey's Canadian connections are admittedly slight — he came here in June to work at the visual effects agency ScanlineVFX in Vancouver.
While there, he says he's using his ground-breaking tool on upcoming projects including Iron Man 3 and the Superman reboot Man of Steel.
He's among 25 recipients of academy plaques and certificates recognizing technical movie-making achievements. A ceremony in their honour will be held Feb. 9 in Los Angeles.
Portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards presentations will be included in the Feb. 24 Oscar ceremony.
Thuerey says he developed the software in 2008 when he was a researcher at the Swiss university ETH Zurich and Gross was his supervisor.
It began when Thuerey met Kim, a researcher at Cornell University, at a conference the year before in Vienna. James was Kim's supervisor.
"We didn't really expect it to be that successful at the time," says Thuerey.
"We really liked the idea and it worked surprisingly well but the immediate goal was just to get a publication at Siggraph, which is a big computer graphics conference."
That conference was well attended by industry and got the attention of a friend at DreamWorks who put it to use on Monsters vs. Aliens in 2009.
Since then it's become the industry standard, says Thuerey.
"These effects take a long time to compute and our process makes it more controllable for the artist and much faster to use," he explains.
"It's a very simple thing in nature usually but it can develop very complicated motions."
- Pushing Chinese stars beyond gimmick Hollywood roles by Jessica Wong May. 22, 2013 4:49 PM Li Bingbing is the latest comely Chinese face joining a major Hollywood production -- in this case, Michael Bay's fourth instalment of Transformers. With Hollywood eager to tap into China's massive movie-going audience, it's become de rigueur to score a beautiful and popular Chinese actress for tentpole movies. However, some Chinese moviegoers want more than gimmicky roles for their homegrown stars and nonsensical cuts of blockbusters screened in China alone.
Top News Headlines
- Court freezes assets in widening SNC-Lavalin probe
- The RCMP are moving to freeze millions of dollars in bank accounts and real estate holdings in Montreal and Florida in their expanding probe into Canadian engineering firm SNC-Lavalin. more »
- Neil Macdonald: Harper no Obama when it comes to dealing with scandals
- Beset by three so-called scandals at the moment, Barack Obama has been meeting his accusers and the press head on, Neil Macdonald writes. The same cannot be said for how Stephen Harper operates. more »
- Needed: New approaches to defuse 'suicide contagion' among teens
- Mental health experts say we need to find new ways to refer to and discuss suicide, particularly now that a large medical study has confirmed that teens are more susceptible to the idea if they know a schoolmate who died that way. more »
- Guilty pleas expected today in chained-teen case
- A man accused of chaining up a teen and sexually assaulting him last fall is expected to enter guilty pleas in a Bridgewater, N.S., courtroom this morning. more »
Latest Arts & Entertainment News Headlines
- Beatles lyrics donated to British Library
- The British Library on Wednesday added substantially to its already formidable collection with handwritten lyrics to Beatles' classics Strawberry Fields Forever, She Said She Said and In My Life. more »
- Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart crack jokes about Rob Ford
- Toronto Mayor Rob Ford's woes over crack cocaine allegations are providing plenty of late-night TV fodder for Jimmy Kimmel, Jon Stewart and other comedians south of the border. more »
- Lydia Davis wins $93K Man Booker International Prize
- Lydia Davis, an American writer of short stories —some of them just a single line long — has won the £60,000 ($93,230 Cdn) Man Booker International Prize. more »
- Battle of the Blades back in CBC fall-winter lineup
- CBC-TV has released a fall lineup that includes the return of Battle of the Blades and new international co-production Crossing Lines. more »
- Dan Brown's bizarre rituals May. 22, 2013 11:03 AM The author discusses his new novel, Inferno, and the ritual he performs when launching another book.
- Juvenile inmates benefiting from Russian literature May. 22, 2013 4:21 PM A juvenile correctional facility in Virginia has seen the behavioural benefits of encouraging their inmates to read the works of classic Russian writers like Tolstoy and Dostoevsky.
- Killing near London barracks probed as 'terror' act
- 2nd suspect named in Tim Bosma slaying
- Rob Ford fired as Don Bosco Eagles football coach
- Xbox One: A closer look
- Plumber's car explodes near Vancouver apartments
- Harper 'not consulted' about Duffy Senate expense repayment
- Senators' Alfredsson on defeating Penguins: 'Probably not'
- 'You will see him again in heaven,' Sharlene Bosma tells daughter
- 1.3 million Montrealers face boil water advisory