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Home News Swiss to receive Tech Oscars for face capture software

Swiss to receive Tech Oscars for face capture software

Published on 08/02/2019

Three Swiss who work for Disney Research in Zurich and their Canadian colleague are to receive a Tech Oscar in Hollywood for technology that can reconstruct the 3D shape of actors’ faces in full motion and at high resolution.

Markus Gross, Thabo Beeler, Bernd Bickel and Derek Bradley are being given the award by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, on Saturday.

They are being honoured for the conception, design and development of the Medusa Performance Capture System. This is a mobile rig of cameras and lights coupled with proprietary software that can reconstruct actors’ faces in full motion, without using traditional motion-capture dots.

It has been used in films such as Avengers: Infinity War, Star Wars: The Last Jedi, Thor: Ragnarok, as well as other Star Wars films.

“Medusa captures exceptionally dense animated meshes without markers or make-up, pushing the boundaries of visual fidelity and productivity for character facial performances in motion pictures,” the academy said in a statement in December, when it announced the awards.

Disney Research in Zurich, opened in 2010, is located close to the federal technology institute ETH Zurich and has strong ties to the institution’s Computer Graphics lab.

Gross won a Tech Oscar in 2013 for software that could calculate smoke and explosions in films quickly and recreate them realistically.

‘Extraordinary contributions’

The academy is recognising nine technologies from around the world this year which it calls “extraordinary contributions to the science of filmmaking [which] have elevated our art form to incredible new heights”.

Unlike other Academy Awards to be presented this year, achievements receiving Scientific and Technical Awards need not have been developed and introduced during 2018. But they have to demonstrate a proven record of contributing significant value to the process of making motion pictures.

The main Oscars ceremony will take place on February 24 in Hollywood.