March 11, 2010 10:28 ET

2010 Academy Award Winners Lauded for Realism in Visual Effects

Avatar, The Hurt Locker Relied on GenArts Sapphire™ to Help Captivate Audiences

CAMBRIDGE, MA--(Marketwire - March 11, 2010) -  Although it was clearly a tough choice, Avatar emerged a winner at the 2010 Academy Awards, and its deserving artists went home with the coveted gold statue for Best Visual Effects. Avatar was an early favorite, to be sure: Its cerulean blue people and ethereal backdrop mesmerized record-setting audiences around the world. But all three of this year's nominees have set an impressive benchmark for next year's crop of films. These outstanding movies -- Avatar, District 9 and Star Trek -- delighted moviegoers with unprecedented visual effects artistry. Even The Hurt Locker, this year's winner for Best Picture and a film not immediately associated with visual effects, relied on carefully crafted visual effects to overcome obstacles presented during filming. Other than outstanding visual effects, these movies also shared another similarity: whether compositing unearthly worlds and creatures, or perfecting live action sequences, the artists for each used GenArts Sapphire to create breathtaking realism.

Visual effects have become essential to the art of storytelling, mostly because today's audiences are coming to expect perfect reality -- and not just in fantasy sequences. For visual effects artists, this means that all CG elements must coexist expertly with live action to eliminate any hint of fiction. Artists working on Avatar, for example, were faced with this challenge throughout the entire movie, as a good portion of it -- from the backdrop to characters -- was computer-generated.

Meanwhile, The Hurt Locker's challenges were quite different. The film was shot using a 16mm primary camera, but many 35mm elements were composited in afterwards to make scenes look more authentic (for instance, the film was actually shot in Jordan, not Iraq, so some scenes needed to look more like a combat area). Great care was taken to match elements such as the grain of the primary footage with the composited footage to avoid breaking the narrative. Hence, a great deal of Avatar's and The Hurt Locker's success was due to their realistic look. In each case, yet for very different reasons, GenArts Sapphire was paramount to the endeavor.

"As audiences become more sophisticated, the onus falls on visual effects artists to constantly define what is real," said Steve Bannerman, CMO of GenArts. "The irony is that the best work is often extremely subtle and would only be noticed if it were missing. The artists working on each of these films -- Avatar, The Hurt Locker, District 9 and Star Trek -- have mastered this art. It is a source of incredible pride for the GenArts family to know that these artists rely on our products to achieve these astonishing results. Congratulations to all the winners and nominees who regaled audiences worldwide with their superb artistry. We look forward to what's next."

For additional information about how GenArts is used in Avatar, click here:

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