Pixar co-founder and president, Ed Catmull will receive an Oscar from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences — the Gordon E. Sawyer Award. Catmull will receive his Oscar statuette at the Scientific and Technical Awards banquet, to be held on February 7th 2009.
Catmull has contributed to many important developments in computer graphics and computer animation. While at University in the early 1970’s, Catmull developed the concepts of Z-buffering, texture mapping, bicubic patches, and invented algorithms for anti-aliasing and refining subdivision surfaces. At Lucasfilm he helped develop digital image compositing technology and was a key developer of the RenderMan rendering system at Pixar.
When it was announced that Brad Bird would be directing a live action adaptation of 1906, a co-production of Pixar and Warner Bros, many assumed that the Emeryville animation studio would be providing the visual effects. Well now Pixar co-founder and president Ed Catmull told attendees of the SIGGRAPH computer graphics conference that Pixar will not be entering the special effects business.
“We’ve got two projects coming where there’s a live action element. But our view is not that we’re trying to diversify; it’s more that we’ve got a creative vision to try something different, and we want to support that vision,” Catmull said. “Whether or not it goes beyond that we don’t know, but we don’t want to turn Pixar into a live action studio. In fact, the intent is that the special effects will not be done at Pixar… We are not trying to become a special effects company.”
Catmull’s comments are the first public admission from senior Pixar staff that Andrew Stanton‘s John Carter of Mars will involve “live action elements”. But am I the only person completely confused? I’ve heard that Pixar has already been hard at work creating a computer scale model of a 1906 San Francisco. If that isn’t going to be used as part of the visual effects for Bird’s upcoming film, than what exactly is Pixar’s role in the project. Anyone at Pixar care to elaborate or clear this up?
Good news and bad news.
The Good News: Disney has announced that Pixar will release Toy Story 3 in 2009. And the Oscar nominated screenwriter behind Little Miss Sunshine is hard at work on the story.
The Bad News: Toy Story and Pixar mastermind and all-around animation god John Lasseter won’t be directing.
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