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14 Oscar nominees relied on Autodesk tools

February 17, 2012
14 Oscar nominees relied on Autodesk tools
SAN RAFAEL, CA — Fourteen movies nominated for Academy Awards made use of Autodesk’s Digital Entertainment Creation (DEC) software, particularly nominees in the “Best Visual Effects” and “Best Animated Film (Feature and Short)” categories.

“Great films depend on great storytelling and our technology is designed to enable artistic vision,” said Marc Petit, senior vice president, Autodesk Media & Entertainment. “We congratulate the multitalented teams of artists from North America, New Zealand, Europe and Asia, and we are proud of Autodesk software’s role in helping them create these extraordinary movies.” 

In the “Best Visual Effects” category, “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 2,” “Hugo,” “Real Steel,” “Rise of the Planet of the Apes,” and “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon” all used Autodesk tools in the creation of their effects.

Double Negative, MPC and Framestore each used Autodesk Maya 3D animation and rendering software to help create the visually extravagant effects features in the final installment in the Harry Potter franchise.

VFX studio Pixomondo managed a global production team across 10 of its 11 facilities in North America, Europe and Asia for “Hugo’s” richly detailed reimagining of 1930s Paris. 

Visual effects powerhouse Digital Domain, motion-capture specialists Giant Studios and virtual production innovators Technoprops delivered “Real Steel” within an efficient 71-day production schedule. The close collaboration between the three companies and an Autodesk toolset helped create this realistic and thrilling action movie with a believable and captivating robot and human relationship. 

Caesar, the CG chimpanzee featured in “Rise of the Planet of the Apes” was performed by Andy Serkis and created by Weta Digital in New Zealand. Weta used Maya and MotionBuilder as the core of its creative production pipelines for its visual effects and performance capture. 

Digital Domain and ILM both contributed to “Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon,” a film who’s Transformer robots contain up to 50,000 million polygons rendered in stereoscopic 3D. ILM used the following Autodesk DEC software tools in its pipeline: 3ds Max for digital environment work; Autodesk Flame as part of its proprietary SABRE high-speed compositing system; and Maya as the core tool for animation, rigging and layout. 

In the “Best Animated Feature Film” category, Kung Fu Panda 2, Puss in Boots and Rango all made used of Autodesk tools. Dreamworks Animation’s “Kung Fu Panda 2” and “Puss in Boots” were two of the top three grossing animated films of 2011. Both films used Maya. 

“Rango” marked ILM’s first animated feature and involved over 100 characters. The lead character’s face alone required over 300 controllers to achieve the range of performance needed. Again, Maya was relied on heavily.

Other categories featuring films that made use of Autodesk tools include:
- “The Fantastic Flying Books of Mr. Morris Lessmore” — nominated for Short Film (animated) — Moonbot Studios in Louisiana used Maya to help create this poignant and humorous allegorical film.

- “The Girl With the Dragon Tattoo” — nominated for five awards — Digital Domain created digital doubles, matte paintings, animation and set extensions using both Maya and 3ds Max. Method Studios contributed to 101 VFX shots, including a fully CG train sequence through a snow-covered landscape using Maya, Flame and Autodesk Flare software. Blur Studios created the amazing title sequence using a combination of 3ds Max for animation and Autodesk Softimage for keyframing.

- “La Luna” — nominated for Short Film (animated) — Pixar used Maya and Pixar’s own Renderman to create this mystical coming-of-age story.

- “The Muppets” — nominated for Original Song — LOOK Effects used a combination of Flame, Flare and Maya to help bring these beloved characters to life in this box-office hit.

- “The Tree of Life” — nominated for three awards including Best Picture — Method Studios used Maya to help create the fully CG 4K (4096 × 3112 pixels per frame) sequence for the film’s “Microbial” section, which plays effectively alongside practical and mixed-technique approaches. Method’s EVP Dan Glass was also the film’s overall senior visual effects supervisor. Prime Focus used Maya, 3ds Max and Mudbox to create the wonderfully realistic dinosaur sequences, dedicating a team of 50 artists to achieving Terrence Malick's vision for these scenes.

- “War Horse” — nominated for six awards including Best Picture — UK-based Framestore used Maya to help create the equine digital double, barbwire VFX integration, digital environments and clean-up on 200 shots for Steven Spielberg’s epic drama. Hollywood and London-based The Third Floor also previsualized key sequences using a toolset that includes Maya.

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