The Scientific and Technical Achievement Academy Awards were held this weekend, (February 10) with Pixar receiving an honor for their in-house animation system, Presto.
Presto allows artists to work interactively in scene context with full-resolution geometric models and sophisticated rig controls and has significantly increased the productivity of character animators at Pixar. Ray Feeney, Academy Award recipient and chair of the Scientific and Technical Awards Committee noted, “This year we are happy to honor a very international group of technologists for their innovative and outstanding accomplishments. These individuals have significantly contributed to the ongoing evolution of motion pictures, and their efforts continue to empower the creativity of our industry.”
Speaking for the team was Rob Jensen who shared that the origins of Presto began back in 2005 and noted, “it became way harder than any of us could possibly have imagined”. Rob also noted that although it was difficult, the team had outstanding support which paved the way for this groundbreaking technology to be built. Watch the full acceptance speech below.
The team noted —
“So, in 2005 Ed Catmull stood in front of all of Pixar and he announced we are committing to build a brand new animation system from the ground up – and he admitted that this was so difficult that it had basically almost never been done before and asked for the support of everyone at Pixar to help make it happen.
So we want to thank Ed, the late Steve Jobs for believing that we could pull it off and frankly for supporting us when it became way harder than any of us could possibly have imagined to do it. We want to recognize Oren Jacob, Brad Andalman, and Eric Gregory who were visionary leaders of the project at the beginning.
Katherine Sarafian who is the producer of ‘Brave’ who took the plunge and committed to using Presto in production. Guido Quaroni, Steve May, and Jim Morris for their ongoing support. Most importantly this is a massive effort and we share this award with the many talented engineers, designers, and also leaders from production who designed and built Presto.”
We couldn’t help but smile as we watched the excitement exude from Dirk Van Gelder as he approached and exited the stage – what a memorable night for the team, congratulations on this monumental honor.