Ithaca (WSYR-TV) -- A Cornell graduate is winning an Academy Award for technical achievement for helping advance the world of animation on the big screen.
A tool, called Katana, developed by graduate Jeremy Selan and two others at Sony Imageworks helped simplify the process for animators to go from a world with a single animated character – like Stewart Little -- to an entirely animated scene.
The tool was used in the movies The Amazing Spider-Man, Alice in Wonderland, and Men in Black 3.
“Every time you see Spiderman swinging through the city, most people assume that Spiderman is computer generated, which he is, but in addition, the entire city is computer generated” Selan told NewsChannel 9 via skype from Los Angeles.
Selan found his love for computer animation and graphics in a Cornell undergraduate class with professor Donald Greenberg his senior year and stayed with the university through graduate school until he moved to Los Angeles. Soon after, he began developing the tool.
“Not many of the commercially available software packages out there allow you to deal with this, so at Sony, about eight years ago, we started developing this tool Katana to let us deal with the real complex challenges you get in computer graphics,” Selan continued.
“It’s wonderful to go to the theater and see your results on the screen. It’s pretty exciting,” Selan said.
According to the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the tool contributes "significant value to the process of making motion pictures."
The scientific and technical Academy Award winners are not kept secret as the other Oscar winners are and they’re presented two weeks before the actual Oscar Ceremony in February.