UBC professor wins Academy Award for technical achievements

Dec 19 2017, 1:37 pm

A local mathematician has won a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.

Robert Bridson, an adjunct professor at the University of British Columbia’s Computer Science department, will be among the 58 recipients honoured at the Academy’s upcoming Scientific and Technical Awards.

He is being credited for the “early conceptualization of sparse-tiled voxel data structures and their application to modelling and simulation.” In a statement, the Academy says it was “pioneering work” that had a “significant impact on the design of volumetric tools throughout the visual effects industry.”

If that is too much technical jargon for your understanding, Bridson told the CBC he used math to “make computers solve the kinds of equations we’re interested in for simulating the real world.”

His work allowed visual effects designers to produce the storm and sand dune scenes in Steven Spielberg’s 2011 film The Adventures of Tintin and the river barrel escape scene in Peter Jackson’s 2013 film The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug.

Bridson was a full-time professor at UBC until 2013, but he still resides and works in Vancouver. He will receive his “Technical Achievement Award” certificate at the Academy’s annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation on Saturday, February 7, at the Beverly Wilshire in Beverly Hills.

The presentation is separate from the main Oscar show, which will be held on Sunday, February 22 at the Dolby Theatre in Hollywood. Two Vancouverites, Cameron Waldbauer and Nicolas Aithadi, have been nominated for the same “Visual Effects” award for their work in X-Men: Days of Future Past and Guardians of the Galaxy.

Some portions of the Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation will be included in the Oscar live telecast on ABC and CTV.

The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug river barrel escape scene

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The Adventures Of Tintin – VFX – Animation Progress

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Feature Image: New Line Cinema

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