Sony Pictures Imageworks


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CULVER CITY, CALIF. (January 9, 2013) - Good news abounds early in 2013 for Sony Pictures Imageworks as it will be honored by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS) with a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award, and has garnered four award nominations from the Visual Effects Society.

Sony Pictures Imageworks and three of its key employees - Steve LaVietes, Brian Hall and Jeremy Selan - will be honored by AMPAS with a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award for the creation of the revolutionary Katana lighting and scene management tool. The Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards presentation will be held Saturday, February 9 at The Beverly Hills Hotel.

Katana is a computer graphics scene management and lighting software package that allows artists to define and control look and lighting while maintaining performance with very large datasets. Katana operates non-destructively using a rule-based approach that allows modeling, look development, animation and lighting teams to work in tandem. Originally developed by Sony Pictures Imageworks, Katana takes an innovative recipe based approach, enabling facilities large and small to build highly scalable and efficient lighting pipelines without a large internal engineering effort.

"We are truly honored that the Academy has chosen to recognize the ground-breaking technology created by the amazing collaboration between our engineers and artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks," said Rob Bredow, Chief Technology Officer, Sony Pictures Imageworks. "We are very proud of the films we've created with Katana and the far-reaching effect Katana is beginning to have on the industry as a whole. What a great way to celebrate Imageworks' 20th anniversary."

The trio to step to the podium and receive the Academy's Technical Achievement Award have long been cornerstones within SPI's renowned stable of effects and animation talent. LaVietes is a pipeline architect who first created much of the logic for handling enormous scenes in Katana on films like Spider-Man and Surf's Up and has provided tremendous vision for the product through the years. Principal Software Engineer Brian Hall has been an innovative member of the Katana team since day one and has ensured its success on a wide range of projects including Hotel Transylvania, The Amazing Spider-Man, The Smurfs, Polar Express and others. Jeremy Selan, Imageworks' Imaging Supervisor, has ensured Katana holds an industry leading position both in regards to color accuracy, and by creating and supporting innovative lighting techniques including image-based-rendering and the latest rendering techniques.

The Technical Achievement Award marks Sony Pictures Imageworks' fourth recognition from the Academy. In 2002, Sony Pictures Imageworks received the Academy Award in the category of Best Animated Short for The ChubbChubbs!, in 2004, the division garnered a second Oscar in the category of Best Visual Effects for its work on Spider-Man 2 and in 2009, Imageworks' John Monos received a Scientific and Technical Award for the design and engineering of Light Stage-based facial rendering.

The Visual Effects Society has recognized Sony Pictures Imageworks' contributions to the productions of Hotel Transylvania, The Amazing Spider-Man and Men in Black 3 with four nominations. The VES Awards will be presented Tuesday, February 5 at The Beverly Hilton.

"Few films today succeed and amaze without the sheer passion, expertise and imagination of the visual effects and animation teams, and we're very proud of the recognition from the VES for our talented artists at Sony Pictures Imageworks" said Randy Lake, Executive Vice President and General Manager, Sony Pictures Imageworks.

The VES nominations include nods to Sony Pictures Animation's Hotel Transylvania for Outstanding Animation in an Animated Feature Motion Picture (Lydia Bottegoni, James Crossley, Mike Ford, Daniel Kramer) and Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Feature Motion Picture for the creation of Dracula (Bill Haller, Tim Pixton, Jorge Vigara); The Amazing Spider-Man for Outstanding Virtual Cinematography in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture (Rob Engle, David Schaub, Cosku Turhan, Max Tyrie); and to Men in Black 3 in the category of Outstanding Models in a Feature Motion Picture for the Cape Canaveral/Apollo Launch sequence (Craig Feifarek, Hee-Chel Nam, Erik Neill, Taehyun Park)

Now in its 21st year, Sony Pictures Imageworks is the Academy Award® winning visual effects and animation unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions known for live-action visual effects and dynamic creature and character animation, all-CG animation, and stereoscopic 3D imagery. The company, with facilities in Los Angeles, Vancouver, B.C. and Chennai, India is currently in production on Oz the Great and Powerful (3D), the animated feature Cloudy 2: Revenge of the Leftovers and the hybrid live-action/ animation film The Smurfs 2. Other recent credits include Men in Black 3, The Amazing Spider-Man, the hybrid live-action/animation film The Smurfs (3D), Alice in Wonderland (3D), and the animated features Hotel Transylvania (3D) and Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs (3D).

Steven Argula
Director, Publicity
Sony Pictures Imageworks

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