The Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences announced today that 10 scientific and technical achievements will be honored at its annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 10, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

In addition, visual effects technologist Jonathan Erland, who worked for ILM, will receive the Gordon E. Sawyer Award (an Oscar statuette) for technological contributions that have brought credit to the industry.

“This year we are happy to honor a very international group of technologists for their innovative and outstanding accomplishments,” said Ray Feeney, Academy Award recipient and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee. “These individuals have significantly contributed to the ongoing evolution of motion pictures, and their efforts continue to empower the creativity of our industry.”

Unlike other Academy Awards to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2017.  Rather, the achievements must demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.

ILM and Pixar representatives are among those being honored.

A Technical Achievement Award (Academy Certificate) will be presented to Jason Smith and Jeff White for the original design, and to Rachel Rose and Mike Jutan for the architecture and engineering, of the BlockParty procedural rigging system at Industrial Light & Magic. BlockParty streamlines the rigging process through a comprehensive connection framework, a novel graphical user interface, and volumetric rig transfer, which has enabled ILM to build richly detailed and unique creatures while greatly improving artist productivity.

 

Another Technical Achievement Award will be given to Rob Jensen for the foundational design and continued development, to Thomas Hahn for the animation toolset, and to George ElKoura, Adam Woodbury and Dirk Van Gelder for the high-performance execution engine of the Presto Animation System at Pixar Animation Studios. Presto allows artists to work interactively in scene context with full-resolution geometric models and sophisticated rig controls, and has significantly increased the productivity of character animators at Pixar.