Cooke Optics lands Award of Merit Oscar for lens advances

The Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Science has tapped nine scientific and technical achievements for its Sci-Tech Awards this year, including a rare Academy Award of Merit — an Oscar statuette.

Cooke Optics will bring home the Award of Merit Oscar for its “continuing innovation in the design, development and manufacture of advanced camera lenses.” Company’s lenses have produced what is known as the “Cooke Look.”

Three Scientific and Engineering Awards (Academy plaques) are to be presented:

•Simon Clutterbuck, James Jacobs and Dr. Richard Dorling for the development of the Tissue Physically Based Character Simulation Framework, which simulates the anatomy beneath a CG character’s skin and adds realism to CG creatures.

•Dr. Philip McLauchlan, Allan Jaenicke, John-Paul Smith and Ross Shain for the creation of the Mocha planar tracking and rotoscoping software at Imagineer Systems, which has been widely adopted across the vfx industry.

•Joe Murtha, William Frederick and Jim Markland of Anton/Bauer for the design and creation of the CINE VCLX Portable Power System, which provides extended run times and flexibility for digital cameras and supplementary equipment.

Five achievements are to receive Technical Achievement Awards (Academy certificates):

•J.P. Lewis, Matt Cordner and Nickson Fong for the invention and publication of the Pose Space Deformation technique, which has become a foundational technique for the creation of CG characters;

•Lawrence Kesteloot, Drew Olbrich and Daniel Wexler for the creation of the Light system for computer-graphics lighting at PDI/DreamWorks, in use for some 15 years now;

•Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall and Jeremy Selan for the creation of the increasingly popular Katana computer graphics scene management and lighting software at Sony Pictures Imageworks;

•Theodore Kim, Nils Thuerey, Markus Gross and Doug James for the invention, publication and dissemination of Wavelet Turbulence software, which allows fast, art-directable gas simulations that are easy for the artist to control;

•Richard Mall for the design and development of the Matthews Max Menace Arm, which allows rapid, precise positioning of lighting fixtures, cameras or accessories.

The Scientific & Technical Awards will be presented Saturday, Feb. 9 at the Beverly Hills Hotel.

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