NVIDIA GPUs Power All 2010 Best Visual Effects Academy Award Nominees

Oscar-Nominated Visual Effects Studios for "Avatar," "District 9" and "Star Trek" Tap NVIDIA Quadro GPUs to Achieve Creative Acclaim

SANTA CLARA, CA--(Marketwire - March 1, 2010) - Each of the films nominated for an Academy Award for Visual Effects in this year's competition depended on NVIDIA® Quadro® professional graphics to power their stunning special effects.

The nominated films -- "Avatar," "District 9" and "Star Trek" -- all delivered unprecedented levels of sophistication and realism to the screen in the form of computer-generated fantasy and science-fiction worlds. The winner will be announced at the 82nd Academy Awards ceremony on March 7th at the Kodak Theatre in Hollywood, Calif.

Weta Digital Ltd., of Wellington, New Zealand, served as the primary visual effects vendor on "Avatar" and is a longtime NVIDIA customer. It deploys both Quadro professional graphics solutions and NVIDIA Tesla™ high performance computing solutions in its visual effects (VFX) production pipeline. The computational complexity of its "Avatar" shots was significantly higher than any project Weta had ever faced.

"We needed to think about rendering in a completely different way, given the complexity of 'Avatar'," said Sebastian Sylwan, Weta's head of research and development. "By working together with NVIDIA, we found a way to render incredibly sophisticated scenes in far less time, giving artists the critical ability to freely experiment with different lighting and iterate faster."

Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), based in San Francisco, produced 850 of the approximately 1,000 shots in the most recent "Star Trek" film and had created visual effects for six of the previous 10 editions in the series. The work required extensive demolition of planets, the creation of the Starship Enterprise and other spacecraft and creatures, as well as extensive digital matte paintings.

"This project marked our most ambitious effort on a 'Star Trek' film to date. We tapped the iconic references from the series and previous films and really took them to the next level driven by J.J. Abrams' creative vision," said Michael DiComo, ILM Digital Production Supervisor.

"Our teams at ILM have established a solid development partnership with NVIDIA to help move the boundaries of visual effects technology to the next level. In the facility, there is an NVIDIA Quadro FX 5800 card sitting on each of our top end workstations to provide the kind of real time visualizations of the high-fidelity and very complex level of work that a film like 'Star Trek' demands."

Image Engine Design Inc. of Vancouver, British Columbia, Canada, led the visual effects work on "District 9," which seamlessly integrates an alien race into gritty documentary-style footage of Johannesburg, South Africa. The firm deployed nearly 100 NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics cards in Linux workstations in producing every alien shot in the film.

"The decision to standardize on NVIDIA Quadro graphics for 'District 9' and other film projects was very simple -- they just work really well," said B. Terry Bates, head of systems, Image Engine.

The Embassy Visual Effects Inc., also based in Vancouver, completed the climactic Exo-suit sequence in the film and also used NVIDIA processors.

"We were faced with animating a very complex, high-poly count character featured in over 100 shots," said Simon Van de Lagemaat, The Embassy's CG supervisor. "NVIDIA graphics cards were essential in giving our artists the speed and feedback they needed to produce amazing animation on an extremely tight deadline."

Dan Vivoli, senior vice president, NVIDIA, said the company was proud to play a role in these achievements.

"The intricate and immersive computer generated worlds created by this year's visual effects nominees have amazed theater goers and shattered box-office records. While we don't know who will take home the Oscar, we do know that NVIDIA is honored to partner with all of them. The Embassy VFX, ILM, Image Design, and Weta Digital challenge us to create technologies that, in turn, enable them to evolve their craft in ways we could never imagine."


NVIDIA (NASDAQ: NVDA) awakened the world to the power of computer graphics when it invented the graphics processing unit (GPU) in 1999. Since then, it has consistently set new standards in visual computing with breathtaking, interactive graphics available on devices ranging from portable media players to notebooks to workstations. NVIDIA's expertise in programmable GPUs has led to breakthroughs in parallel processing which make supercomputing inexpensive and widely accessible. Fortune magazine has ranked NVIDIA #1 in innovation in the semiconductor industry for two years in a row. For more information, see www.nvidia.com.

Certain statements in this press release including, but not limited to, statements as to: NVIDIA's development partnerships; and the impact that NVIDIA's products will have on visual effects technology; are forward-looking statements that are subject to risks and uncertainties that could cause results to be materially different than expectations. Important factors that could cause actual results to differ materially include: development of more efficient or faster technology; design, manufacturing or software defects; the impact of technological development and competition; changes in consumer preferences and demands; customer adoption of different standards or our competitor's products; changes in industry standards and interfaces; unexpected loss of performance of our products or technologies when integrated into systems as well as other factors detailed from time to time in the reports NVIDIA files with the Securities and Exchange Commission including its Form 10-Q for the fiscal period ended October 25, 2009. Copies of reports filed with the SEC are posted on NVIDIA's website and are available from NVIDIA without charge. These forward-looking statements are not guarantees of future performance and speak only as of the date hereof, and, except as required by law, NVIDIA disclaims any obligation to update these forward-looking statements to reflect future events or circumstances.

Copyright © 2010 NVIDIA Corporation. All rights reserved. NVIDIA, Quadro, Tesla, and the NVIDIA logo are registered trademarks and/or trademarks of NVIDIA Corporation in the United States and other countries. All other company and/or product names may be trade names, trademarks, and/or registered trademarks of the respective owners with which they are associated. Features, pricing, availability, and specifications are subject to change without notice.

Contact Information: For more information, contact: Mark Priscaro NVIDIA Corporation (408) 486-2438 mpriscaro@nvidia.com

Star Trek trailer. Avatar trailer, movie clips. District 9 trailer TriStar Pictures' sci-fi thriller DISTRICT 9. (c) Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. TriStar Pictures' sci-fi thriller DISTRICT 9. (c)  Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Avatar still (hi-res, 2) Avatar logo District 9 (poster) District 9 (title treatment) Sharlto Copley in TriStar Pictures' sci-fi thriller DISTRICT 9. (c) Columbia TriStar Marketing Group, Inc. All rights reserved. Avatar still (1) Avatar still (Neytiri, 3)