ILM Wins 2003 Sci-Tech Oscar for Subsurface Scattering

by malducin

The Academy Awards has just announced the recipients of the Sci-Tech Awards. ILM VFX Associate Supervisor Christophe Hery, along with Weta Digital VFX Supervisor Joe Letteri and Ken McGaugh (both formerly from ILM) won an Academy Certificate for their work on practical subsurface scattering for film embodied on such creations as Dobby and Gollum.

Other VFX related winner include Stephen Regelous for Massive, used on the battles for the Lord of the Rings movies, the pioneering work on subsurface scattering at Stanford, which includes former Pixar and Lucasfilm CG group member Pat Hanrahan, and Bill Tondreau for his work on motion control systems. More information here:

Scientific and Technical Achievements Honored with Academy Awards

Much of the initial work on subsurface scattering (SSS) was headed by Henrik Wann Jensen (then at Stanford) who was also one of the main forces behind photon mapping. The initial paper (published at SIGGRAPH 2001) utilized a raytracing engine to achieve the effect. During SIGGRAPH 2002, Christophe Hery presented a stupid RAT trick at Pixar's User Group Meeting about the use of shadow buffers to achieve a variety of effects, including an implementation of SSS for production use utilizing (the then non-raytracing) PRMan. Christophe Hery utilized this technique on Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets and has worked on such projects as Spawn, Jurassic Park 3 and the Star Wars prequels. Joe Letteri was a VFX Supervisor at ILM and worked on such projects as the Star Wars special editions, Jurassic Park, Daylight and Magnolia before joining Weta Digital to supervise the 2 last installments. He has already won an Oscar for The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers. Ken McGaugh worked at ILM as a TD and developer where he worked on shaders and other effects in such films as Twister, Deep Impact and Pearl Harbor. More information on the VFX related winners here:

A Practical Model for Subsurface Light Transport
Stupid RenderMan/RAT Tricks 2002
Kuper Controls

Congratulations to all the winners.

Many tanks to ninja turtle for the heads up.