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First Oscar for Software Development

By SIGFPE in News
Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 08:43:33 PM EST
Tags: Software (all tags)

Rob Cook, Loren Carpenter and Ed Catmull are to be awarded an Oscar for development of Pixar's Renderman rendering software. This software has been used to render CGI for movies from Jurassic Park to The Matrix. This is the first time an Oscar has been awarded for software development work.


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My favourite renderer is...
o Renderman 5%
o Mental Ray 3%
o 3DS Max 18%
o Maya 5%
o Lightwave 3%
o Povray 28%
o C/C++ 18%
o Other 17%

Votes: 88
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First Oscar for Software Development | 13 comments (4 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
ken perlin (3.00 / 3) (#4)
by mikpos on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 06:50:47 PM EST

Ken Perlin won an Oscar in 1997 for his work on Perlin noise. Surely 1997 predates 2001? His algorithms even found their way into the mentioned Renderman software.

Perlin didn't get an Oscar (4.80 / 5) (#6)
by SIGFPE on Fri Jan 05, 2001 at 07:24:57 PM EST

There is some confusion over this issue. Not all technical Academy Awards are Oscars.

There are, in increasing order of merit:
(iii) Certificates
(ii) Plaques and
(i) Statuettes (aka Oscars)

Perlin received a "Technical Achievement Award" which is the certificate. Quite a few software 'inventions' have received type (iii) and type (ii) awards. These include awards for techniques like morphing or for complete suites of applications like Avid.
[ Parent ]

Some background (4.00 / 2) (#12)
by SIGFPE on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 07:09:38 PM EST

The Oscars are one of the highest publicity events in the world but fewer people are aware that the same academy Renderman is one of the most popular 3d software renderer today for the kind of high quality effects and CGI work found in high budget movies. It was developed at the company Pixar, now owned by Steve Jobs of Apple fame but originally part of Lucasfilm. In fact it was originally the computing division of Lucasfilm but George Lucas didn't think computers were much use in movie making (George denies this but his colleagues don't!). Pixar have received many academy awards over the years, including an Oscar, but this is the first time an Oscar has been given specifically for an item of software.

If you're interested you can view some of the core source code to Renderman in US Patent 4897806. Be careful though - reading this may burden you with some legal obligations.

I think that the role of software in the movie industry has been underrated. In a movie like Toy Story 2 Renderman is the star. Without Renderman this movie couldn't have been made. But lose any of the actors and you'll soon find someone else to take their place. To me this is a truly well deserved Oscar. ~ ~ ~

Correction. (none / 0) (#13)
by SIGFPE on Sat Jan 06, 2001 at 10:00:45 PM EST

Dunno what happened there. Add "gives awards for technical as well as artistic achievements." after "same academy".
[ Parent ]
First Oscar for Software Development | 13 comments (4 topical, 9 editorial, 0 hidden)
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