Autodesk Tools Used on 14 Oscar-Nominated Films
Rise of the Planet of the Apes -- Caesar, the CG chimpanzee performed by Andy Serkis is a creative milestone for Weta Digital in New Zealand. Weta used Maya and MotionBuilder as the core of its creative production pipelines for its groundbreaking visual effects and performance capture. Sebastian Sylwan, chief technology officer at Weta said, "Creating a believable and realistic CG character like Caesar required providing our artists with the right tools and innovative technology that allowed them to iterate and express their creativity. We developed our own software to perfect performance capture, hair, eyes and muscles amongst others, using Maya and MotionBuilder as a backbone." Canada-based Image Engine contributed previsualization for the film and also took advantage of a Maya-based pipeline.
Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon -- The extraordinarily detailed Transformer robots contain up to 50,000 million polygons rendered in stereoscopic 3D by lead visual effects houses Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) with studios in San Francisco and Singapore and Digital Domain. 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. Scott Farrar, visual effects supervisor on 'Transformers: Dark Side of the Moon' said, "As effects work continues to grow in complexity, it is more important than ever that our artists have access to best of breed tools and by using Autodesk's Digital Entertainment Creation software, ILM is able to continue to create groundbreaking visual effects."
Best Animated Feature Film
Kung Fu Panda 2 and Puss in Boots -- Both movies earned not only Academy Award nominations for Animated Feature Film for Dreamworks Animation (DWA), but also were two of the top three grossing animated films of 2011.* DWA continues to creatively push technology to imbue animated characters with huge personalities, and both films used Maya. Phil McNally, stereoscopic supervisor on both movies said, "Either on our own or in concert with Autodesk, we can develop tools in Maya to specifically address the challenges of stereoscopic 3D. Maya gives us that intuitive flexibility, or the ability to see what we're doing -- while we're doing it -- in 3D."
Rango -- Rango, the story of a weird lizard's quest for identity, was ILM's first animated feature. The film presented some daunting creative and technical challenges: Rango's face alone required over 300 controllers to achieve the range of performance needed for the 1,100 shots he appears in. On top of which, Rango was just one of well over 100 characters that populated the film. "All of these characters had some combination of scales, feathers, or fur and all had clothing. We strove to create a very tactile world for Rango," said ILM's Hal Hickel, animator director on the film. "We wanted to create the illusion that if you could reach out and touch objects in the frame you'd know exactly what they would feel like, so it was very important that our software enable us to show as much detail as possible at each phase of the process. This allowed us to make certain the performances would translate to the big screen. Maya was great at letting us do that."
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.