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Sony Pictures Imageworks and The Foundry Share Technologies
Culver City, CA, November 2, 2009. Sony Pictures Imageworks, the award-winning visual effects and animation company known for the innovative digital production tools it provides to its artists and filmmakers, and The Foundry, a leading developer of visual effects (VFX) software, are embarking on a reciprocal technology sharing relationship to mutually advance the state of the art in visual effects and digital production.
In this unique collaboration, The Foundry acquires access to Sony Pictures Imageworks' highly regarded 2D/3D lighting technology package, Katana, with which they will be able to collaborate on future developments. As part of the collaboration, Sony Pictures Imageworks adds The Foundry's industry renowned compositing software, Nuke, to its existing stable of the company's plug-ins. Katana is a production-proven toolset that has been used by Imageworks to facilitate their award-winning VFX work on films such as the Spider-ManTM movies, Superman Returns, I am Legend and, most recently, G-Force, Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs and the upcoming Alice in Wonderland. Nuke has most recently been used on such films as District 9, Transformers, and Terminator Salvation.
The agreement also involves close cooperation going forward. The two companies will work together to ensure the successful use and integration of each other's technology, and exchange updates and new discoveries.
"Artistry enabled by cutting-edge technology is the cornerstone of our business," said Randy Lake, executive vice president and general manager of Sony Pictures Imageworks. "This creative relationship with The Foundry brings great technologies together and places powerful production tools into the hands of artists."
"Imageworks is taking a far more open approach to its technology. Sharing software with a progressive company like The Foundry is an important step for both of our companies," said Rob Bredow, chief technology officer of Sony Pictures Imageworks. "First, it enables Imageworks to provide the best compositing tools to our artists today by adopting Nuke widely into our VFX and animation workflows. And second, The Foundry has a proven track record of taking production proven software and turning it into industry-leading solutions. We're looking forward to collaborating with The Foundry to help create the next generation of tools leveraging the best of our mutual technologies. We are expecting great things from this relationship to give artists the tools to create even greater imagery."
Bill Collis, The Foundry CEO, said, "It's highly unusual for software or post production companies to share technologies and that's what makes our new relationship with Sony Pictures Imageworks so special. There are some exciting ideas we can explore over the coming years, building on Imageworks' Katana technology and The Foundry's customer-driven product focus for Nuke to deliver the next generation of compositing software. Sony is obviously a highly respected player in the industry and the fact that they are implementing our software, and collaborating on future products, is a huge compliment. We are looking forward to working with Sony, and to seeing what fantastic results we can achieve together."
Imageworks continues to aggressively advance the company's artist capabilities and core technology, optimize its production pipeline and processes, and foster broad-based adoption of formerly proprietary tools.
In June, Imageworks named Rob Bredow, one of the industry's leading visual effects supervisors, as its Chief Technology Officer. Bredow, who was most recently the visual effects supervisor on the hit animated movie Cloudy With A Chance Of Meatballs, brings practical experience and artistic perspective to this new role. He has been instrumental in optimizing the production pipeline and improving the company's color, lighting and rendering processes.
The Katana software is an integral component of this strategic partnership with The Foundry. Katana is a tool developed at Imageworks to aid artists in look development, lighting, rendering and compositing of digital imagery. Rather than defining a rigid pipeline for these tasks, Katana provides a framework for building custom tools tailored to the unique needs of each show. In development since 2004, this approach has allowed Imageworks to remain "cutting edge" when "cutting edge" is a constantly moving target. Through the Foundry relationship, this technology can now become available to the industry.
In August, Imageworks launched five of its technologies into an open-source development program. The program initially includes OSL, a programmable shading language for rendering, Field3d, a voxel data storage library, Maya Reticule, a Maya Plug-in for camera masking, Scala Migration, a database migration tool, and Pystring, python-like string handling in C++.
ABOUT SONY PICTURES IMAGEWORKS
Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. is the Academy Award® winning, state-of-the-art visual effects and animation unit of Sony Pictures Digital Productions. The Imageworks production environment supports live-action visual effects and character animation, all-CG animation, Imageworks 3D stereoscopic, and Imageworks Interactive, a full service creative group that produces websites and supports digital marketing for the studio and outside clients.
Imageworks' achievements have been recognized by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences with Oscars® for its work on SPIDER-MAN™ 2 and the CG animated short film THE CHUBBCHUBBS! In 2008, SURF'S UP was nominated for the Academy Award for Best Animated Feature. In 2007, two of Imageworks' projects, SUPERMAN RETURNS and the all-CG animated feature MONSTER HOUSE, were nominated for Academy Awards in the Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects and Best Animated Feature respectively. With those two nominations, Imageworks became the first studio to be recognized in the same year in these distinct areas, an indication of the diversity and quality of the company's capabilities. Other Oscar® nominated projects include THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA: THE LION, THE WITCH AND THE WARDROBE, SPIDER-MAN™, HOLLOW MAN, STUART LITTLE and STARSHIP TROOPERS, for a total of ten nominations.
Imageworks' most recently completed projects include CLOUDY WITH A CHANCE OF MEATBALLS, G-FORCE, and WATCHMEN, Upcoming projects include 2012, ALICE IN WONDERLAND, and CATS AND DOGS 2.
Imageworks maintains operations in Culver City, CA; Novato, CA; Albuquerque, New Mexico and Chennai, India.
Sony Pictures Imageworks Inc. is a division of Sony Pictures Digital Production Inc.
For more information, please visit www.imageworks.com.
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ABOUT THE FOUNDRY
The Foundry is a world-leading innovator of visual effects and image processing technologies that boost productivity in motion picture and video post-production.
The Foundry has a well-established client base that includes leading visual effects facilities worldwide, such as Warner Bros., The Moving Picture Company, Weta Digital, Framestore, Sony Pictures Imageworks and Digital Domain. It is at the cutting edge of software development, marketing and sales for visual effects compositing.
In June 2009, The Foundry announced a management buyout for an undisclosed sum led by Advent Venture Partners. Advent backed The Foundry's management team, led by CEO Dr. Bill Collis and the original founders.
The Foundry is highly profitable and has more than doubled revenues in the last eighteen months to $10m. Advent's support permits the company to continue expansion plans that have seen staff numbers more than double from 20 to over 50 in the past two years.
The Foundry's products support a wide range of award-winning host platforms including After Effects, Autodesk® Media and Entertainment Systems, Avid DS, Baselight, Film Master, Nuke, Scratch, Shake and Final Cut Pro. In 2007, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences awarded a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award® to The Foundry's development team for the Furnace image processing suite. The company now holds two products with AMPAS Sci-Tech Award® winning technology including high-end compositing system Nuke.
The Foundry is headquartered in London, and has offices in Los Angeles. For more information please visit : www.thefoundry.co.uk
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