Academy Award for company that created CGI liquid effects

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A special effects company from Madrid has received an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

14 January 2008

MADRID - A special effects company from Madrid has received an award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences - the equivalent of a technical Oscar.

Next Limit is one of 10 firms to win a Scientific and Technical Academy Award for computer and engineering advances that help make better movies.

The company, which was created in 1998 by Ignacio Vargas and Víctor González, developed a software package called RealFlow, which the Academy acknowledges as being "the first widely adopted, commercially available, easy-to-use system for the simulation of realistic liquids in motion picture visual effects." The RealFlow software has been used in epic films such as The Lord of the Rings and 300.

Unlike the Oscars, these awards are not limited to achievements developed in the last year. "It's like good wine. These awards are granted to products that have been around for years and have enabled the film industry to advance technologically," says Víctor González, one of the founders of Next Limit. "They've given an award to the first people who created an innovative product that did not exist in cinema."

"With RealFlow you can recreate elements such as water, lava, moving objects, boat floods, explosions... any natural physical effect," González explains.

The software costs EUR 2,700, and medium-to-large companies typically buy multiple licenses that are renewed annually. With 30 employees in Madrid and one in Los Angeles, who trains artist teams in the use of RealFlow, Next Limit sells most of its licenses abroad and is planning to open an office in the United States.

Ten years after it was developed, RealFlow continues to be unique, even if several competitors have sprung up since then. Its creators say that Dreamworks came up with a suspiciously similar application after doing a trial test of RealFlow for months.

This is the second time that a Spanish company has received an Academy Award for technical achievement. In 1969, Juan de la Cierva was rewarded for inventing the dynalens, a stabiliser that eliminates camera vibrations.

[Copyright EL PAÍS / Jorge Marirrodriga 2008]

Subject: Spanish news

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