This post is by Daniel Terdiman
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And the Oscar for best visual effects goes to … Autodesk’s Maya.
No one yet knows who will win best picture, best actress, or best director when the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences hosts the 87th Academy Awards on February 22. But one thing is a lock: No matter who takes home the Oscar for best visual effects, they’ll have used Maya, Autodesk’s animation software, to bring their robots, hobbits, astronauts, monsters, and other on-screen creations to life.
Indeed, the visual effects and animation teams on all 10 films considered for this year’s Oscar nomination, and all five that received nominations this morning, used Maya, a powerful, customizable tool that enables deeply complex processes like character animation to look seamless and realistic on the silver screen.
And it’s not just this year. Maya’s been used on every winning film since 1997, an uninterrupted run that has meant big business for Autodesk as the tool — which costs $185 a month, or $3,675 up front, per license — has been adopted by everyone from the most accomplished professional levels of the visual effects and animation industries to individual amateurs and students just getting started in their careers.
Which begs the question: Could Hollywood even make visual effects-heavy films these days without Maya?
“You can’t do it,” Scott Farrar, the visual effects supervisor at Industrial Light & Magic who oversaw Transformers: Age of Extinction, told VentureBeat. “At this point, everybody’s so comfortable with the tool, it would be impossible.”
The latest iteration of the Transformers franchise was one of 10 films that competed in the Academy’s annual visual effects “bake-off” in Beverly Hills earlier this month, five of which earned nominations today. The others were Captain America: The Winter Soldier; Dawn of the Planet of the Apes; Godzilla; Guardians of the Galaxy; The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies; Interstellar; Maleficent; Night at the Museum: Secret of the Tomb; and X-Men: Days of Future Past.
Those films represented work by many of the industry’s leading VFX houses, with ILM, Weta Digital, Atomic Fiction, Moving Picture Company, Method Studios, Digital Domain, and others vying to win the Oscar next month, and many of those houses contributing on multiple films.
Continue reading “Hollywood FX pros: I want to be an Oscars Maya Winner”