by Dominick Spina

Coming off of last night’s Academy Awards ceremony, it was a great year for animation and visual effects. And another great year for the NVIDIA Quadro professional graphics solutions that powered many of this year’s nominees and the winners in both categories.

Congratulations to longtime NVIDIA customer Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) for their work on their Oscar-winning animated feature film Rango, directed by Gore Verbinski. ILM used a proprietary GPU-accelerated fire and dust tool called Plume to create the fire and dust that permeates the worlds of Rango. ILM uses NVIDIA Quadro GPUs across all of their artists’ workstations.

Image courtesy of Paramount Pictures. Center to right, foreground: Rango (Johnny Depp) and Beans (Isla Fisher) in RANGO, from Paramount Pictures and Nickelodeon Movies. © 2011 Paramount Pictures. All Rights Reserved.

“Whenever you’re approaching a film of this scale you need to make your production pipeline operate as efficiently as possible — especially when it comes to character animation work,” said Tim Alexander, VFX supervisor for Rango. “By using NVIDIA Quadro processors and building GPU-accelerated processes into our workflow, we saved a huge amount of rendering time.”

Check out these videos to see ILM’s outstanding, and very entertaining, CG work on Rango:

Pixomondo’s Ben Grossmann and Alex Henning were also awarded with statuettes for their magical visual effects contributions to Martin Scorsese’s Hugo. This 3D movie is homage both to early filmmaking and to visual effects pioneer Georges Meliés. NVIDIA Quadro pro graphics are an essential component of Pixomondo’s visual effects pipeline.

Images ©2011 GK Films, LLC, All Rights Reserved.

Congrats to the company on its first Oscar win.

While Hugo was the winner, all of this year’s nominees produced great visual effects work. And they join a running list close to our heart — every film nominated over the past three years for best visual effects was made using NVIDIA technology.