A Korean American college professor was awarded an Academy Award for technical achievement on Saturday for his co-development of a special effects technique that is now an industry standard in Hollywood.
Theodore Kim, an assistant computer science professor at the University of California Santa Barbara, helped develop a smoke-and-fire visual effects technique called wavelet turbulence. The effect was instrumental in creating a memorable train crash scene in the 2011 science fiction movie Super 8, directed by J.J. Abrams.
The technique was also utilized in several other films, including Avatar and Alice in Wonderland.
“I’d like to thank the Academy for this great honor,” Kim said. “If it wasn’t for a lot of people in the industry picking up on this technology, this award wouldn’t be possible.”
Kim also made sure to thank his wife, whom he met while an undergraduate at Cornell University.
“Of course to my beautiful wife Ivy –– who knew back in freshman year that we’d end up right here?”
Kim received his Ph.D. in computer science from the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill in 2006.