Computer Science Professor Wins Oscar

Mar 07, 2006
Demetri Terzopoulos
Demetri Terzopoulos

And the Oscar goes to … Professor Demetri Terzopoulos!
Terzopoulos, a status-only professor in computer science and electrical and computer engineering, walked the red carpet and received a technical achievement award Feb. 18 at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences Scientific and Technical Achievement Awards in Beverly Hills.

“I thanked the academy and the Sci-Tech and I thanked my former colleagues,” Terzopoulos said. “And I thanked my mom.”

Canadian actress Rachel McAdams hosted the black-tie presentation dinner at the Beverly Hilton and gave Terzopoulos both his certificate and a kiss.

Along with Microsoft senior researcher John Platt, Terzopoulos, also a professor at the University of California at Los Angeles, received the award for a computer animation technology they developed that makes simulated cloth which looks and moves like actual fabric. According to the academy, it was “a milestone in computer graphics.” The technique was published in a 1987 paper titled Elastically Deformable Models and a decade later, animators at Pixar Animation Studios and elsewhere began using variations of this method. Simulated cloth has now appeared in movies such as Star Wars (Episodes II and III), the Harry Potter series and the Lord of the Rings films.

In those films, the technique was used to create the clothing for computer-generated characters such as Yoda and Gollum. “In addition to cloth, which is surface-like, we could also do strands like hair and fur or three-dimensional solid objects made of, say, rubber and sponge.”

Before Terzopoulos’ paper, which applied the principles of physics, computer graphics models were based purely on geometry. “Our paper was the basis of a very popular trend in animation now, which is physics-based modelling,” he said.

In the movie Monsters Inc., for example, the character of the little girl, Boo, wore a nightshirt that was simulated using the computer technique, as was the shaggy blue fur of Sully, the character voiced by actor John Goodman.

Scientific and Technical Awards are presented by the academy for devices, methods, formulas, discoveries or inventions of special and outstanding value to the arts and sciences of motion pictures. Portions of the awards ceremony were taped for inclusion in the March 5 Academy Awards broadcast.

Source: University of Toronto

Explore further: Autonomous taxis would deliver significant environmental and economic benefits, new study shows

Related Stories

'Call of Duty' blasts past $10 bn in sales

Nov 20, 2014

Blockbuster military shooter video game "Call of Duty" has blasted past $10 billion in lifetime sales, propelled by demand for the latest installment in the 11-year-old franchise.

Recommended for you

FBI chief urges 'robust debate' on encryption

8 hours ago

FBI Director James Comey called Monday for public debate on the use of encrypted communications, saying Americans may not realize how radical groups and criminals are using the technology.

LG Display moves advanced touch tech up to notebooks

13 hours ago

LG Display has news for people who are into working with notebook PCs. They have announced lighter and slimmer LCD panels. Unleashing "Advanced In-cell Touch" (AIT) technology, LG Display said on Monday that ...

Italian surveillance company hacked, documents stolen

14 hours ago

An Italian surveillance firm known for selling malicious software used by police bodies and spy agencies has succumbed to a cyberattack, the firm's spokesman said Monday, confirming an embarrassing breach ...

User comments : 0

Please sign in to add a comment. Registration is free, and takes less than a minute. Read more

Click here to reset your password.
Sign in to get notified via email when new comments are made.