Thursday, January 04, 2018

We WON a Technical ACADEMY AWARD!!!!!!!!!!!

Today is the culmination of a lifelong dream... we WON a Technical ACADEMY AWARD!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!! We are being presented with this unbelievable honour from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences for our BlockParty Procedural Rigging System at ILM, a project that we have put many, many, many years of effort, love, hope, dreams, and grit into.

Congratulations to my fellow honourees: the illustrious and magnificently brilliant Dr. Rachel Heck Rose, and the supremely innovative VFX legends Jason Smith and Jeff White for challenging what rigging can be and deeply questioning how it could be achieved.

Industrial Light & Magic is a magical place, a mix of art and science geniuses, and so many more people contributed to this effort and made it possible. Most notably, the vision and dedication of John Doublestein is how we were able to make such a groundbreaking solution. To Jacob Buck and Abs Jahromi for pushing us to make this work for this most insane of rigs (read: "Transformers"), to Brian Paik and Chris Havreberg and Chase Cooper and many others for making sure we solved soft-body creatures in absurdly scalable way (read: "Warcraft"). To Darby Johnston, Erik Dillinger, Kent Oberheu for your support, ingenuity, and incredible efforts as we launched full-force into this. To Eric Feng and Yuting Ye for your undying work and engineering mastery. To Scott Jones for making sure we were reaching all artist-level audiences appropriately. There are so many more to thank, but know this: if you helped in any way... we truly and deeply appreciate your incredible support to help lead us to this stage.

I've often referred to this as the "Gold Medal of Computer Graphics". This is a lifelong dream come true. This is an achievement I've dreamed of since I was a 10 year old kid, watching ILM's unbelievable work in Terminator 2: Judgement Day, and dreaming of one day, being one of the people who helps make beautiful imagery possible through a blend of art and science. Thank you to many supporting characters in this goal, throughout the years -- my parents Arthur Jutan and Cheryll Rose Jutan for your unbelievable encouragement and dedication to your son's dreams, to my sister Norma Hall for letting me always use the computer, at all hours of the night, even when she had school work to do, to my best buddies Matthew Lausch and Alex Finlayson for sharing our drive and commitment to Computer Science with each other, to my wife Michal Jutan for her infinite love, support, encouragement, hand-holding, de-nervousing, and a list of about 10000 other things she does to keep me on track and at my best.

And finally, to the many professional supporters in my life, people who took a chance on this little energetic kid from London, Ontario, who was so desperate to use Computer Science to help making movies "even more awesome": Josh Cameron for being the best damn mentor and MEL teacher I could have ever asked for, to Kevin Tate for giving me a chance in my initial interview for Alias|Wavefront, to John Gross and Shai Hinitz for their mentoring, support, encouragement, and reference letters that made my parents prouder than almost anything else I've ever done, to Kevin Tureski for looking out for me and finding amazing opportunities (TEDx!) to help me spread my wings, to Marc Sondheimer and Guido Quaroni for an opportunity of a lifetime at Pixar and to Jacob Brooks, Franklin Chance, Matthew Atabet Parrott and Kurt Phillips for being the best of buddies to a nervous Canadian dude trying his damnedest to make a good impression in California. And finally, to my family at ILM: the wise, gracious, and brilliant Cary Phillips for being a guiding light for my career, to Rachel Heck Rose for being the perfect teammate, friend, and leader over the last 10 years, and for all others who helped support my career, my goals, and find wild and wonderful opportunities for me to jump into and do my best work.

Thank you all (and the many more I'm sure I missed) for all your help in getting us to this momentous moment.

Here is the official press release from The Academy:


To Jason Smith and Jeff White for the original design, and to Rachel Rose and Mike Jutan for the architecture and engineering, of the BlockParty procedural rigging system at Industrial Light & Magic.
BlockParty streamlines the rigging process through a comprehensive connection framework, a novel graphical user interface, and volumetric rig transfer, which has enabled ILM to build richly detailed and unique creatures while greatly improving artist productivity.
and a great article from The Wrap explaining a bit more: