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DreamWorks Animation Wins 2 Academy Awards for Technical Achievement

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DreamWorks Animation has won two Technical Achievement Academy Awards for its Foliage System and OpenVDB, both used on the award winning How to Train Your Dragon 2. The studio's foliage system was first used for Shrek where artists used the software to create more than 10,000 trees. The OpenVDB software is a data structure management system that has helped make working with large amounts of CG imagery more efficient.

GLENDALE, Calif., Feb. 9, 2015 — DreamWorks Animation has been awarded two Technical Achievement Awards by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for the development of two revolutionary tools used in feature filmmaking: Foliage System and OpenVDB.  Both of these tools were most recently used in the making of How to Train Your Dragon 2, an Academy Award® nominee for Best Animated Feature and winner of this year’s Golden Globe, six Annie Awards from ASIFA-Hollywood and named Best Animated Feature by the National Board of Review.  In addition to these two awards, Hewlett-Packard also received a Technical Achievement Award for its HP DreamColor LP2480zX Professional Display monitor, created in collaboration with DreamWorks Animation engineers.

“At DreamWorks Animation, engineers, technicians and artists come together to create new technology stimulated by the vision and imagination of filmmakers such as writer/director Dean DeBlois (HTTYD2),” said Lincoln Wallen, Chief Technology Officer.  “I want to congratulate our engineers and artists, as well as the DreamColor team at Hewlett-Packard, on their Technical Achievement Awards that recognize outstanding innovation in the development of tools and technology that enhance the industry’s creative storytelling ability.”

The Foliage System was first developed for 2001’s Shrek, where it was used to create more than 10,000 trees, the largest deployment of digital vegetation in any film at its time.  Since then, DreamWorks Animation has continued to be the industry leader in innovating new tools and techniques that provide the greatest artistic flexibility in rendering foliage. DreamWorks Animation effects artists Scott Peterson, Jeff Budsberg, and Jonathan Gibbs received the award for the design and implementation of the Foliage System.

OpenVDB is an open source data structure and set of tools that help manage the storage of enormous amounts of information created by complex visual effects such as water, dust, smoke and fire, found in both animated and live action films.  OpenVDB’s efficiency reduces digital storage requirements and the need for long wait times when running simulations, which have resulted in it becoming a standard in the animation and VFX industry. With adoption at studios including Weta Digital, Disney Animation, and ILM, the tools were used in the making of several of this year’s Academy Award® nominated films for Best Visual Effects, including X-Men: Days of Future Past, Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, and Guardians of the Galaxy.  DreamWorks Animation engineers Ken Museth, Peter Cucka, and Mihai Alden, received the award for the creation of OpenVDB.

HP’s DreamColor monitor was jointly developed with DreamWorks Animation to provide the highest color quality level LCD monitors required for graphic intense workflows, such as those for producing feature animation and visual effects.  Karl Rasche, a DreamWorks software engineer, was recognized by the Academy, along with the other award winners from Hewlett-Packard, for the joint development of the HP DreamColor LP2480zx Professional Display.

-Source: DreamWorks

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