Autodesk Gallery Exhibit: Autodesk in Film and Television


The Autodesk Gallery at One Market in San Francisco celebrates design — the process of taking a great idea and turning it into a reality. With about 60 different exhibits regularly on display that showcase the innovative work of Autodesk customers, the gallery illustrates the role technology plays in great design and engineering. Autodesk Gallery Ambassadors conduct gallery tours as a sideline to their day jobs. The tours provide employees with opportunities to practice public speaking in front of small groups.

The Autodesk in Film and Television exhibit is in the Media & Entertainment section of our One Market office in San Francisco:



Autodesk serves 3 primary industries:

  • Architecture, Engineering, and Construction (AEC)
  • Product Design and Manufacturing (MFG)
  • Media and Entertainment (M&E)

Autodesk is a leader in 3D design, engineering, and entertainment software. Entertainment includes full-length movies, short films, TV shows, commercials, and video games. Autodesk is involved in the entertainment industry in a big way. In fact, for the last 22 years in a row, all Oscar-nominated movies for the "best visual effects" category were created with the help of filmmaking tools from Autodesk. On Oscar night, we never sweat as to whether or not our customer will win, because all of the nominees are customers.

This year was no exception:

  • Arrival
  • Fences
  • Hacksaw Ridge
  • Hell or High Water
  • Hidden Figures
  • La La Land
  • Lion
  • Manchester by the Sea
  • Moonlight

Autodesk M&E software touched all of these movies. Congratulations to the Moonlight team.

Speaking of awards, Shotgun won an Engineering Emmy yesterday for helping creative teams around the world collaborate on hundreds of episodes of top TV shows, including Game of Thrones, Stranger Things, Ballers, and Outlander to name just a few.

Autodesk's central involvement in M&E explains why Autodesk has a variety of products and services for the industry:

  • 3ds Max — 3D modeling and rendering software helps you create massive worlds in games, stunning scenes for design visualization, and engaging virtual reality (VR) experiences
  • Arnold — advanced Monte Carlo ray-tracing renderer designed for artists and for the demands of modern animation and visual effects (VFX) production
  • Character Generator — create, customize, and download your rigged 3D characters from a catalog of over 100 body types, outfits, hairstyles, and physical attributes in a few simple steps
  • Cloud storage — collaborate with as many people as you need by storing your files where they can be accessed anytime, on any device
  • Flame — tools for fast, interactive 3D visual effects, finishing, compositing, advanced graphics, color grading, conform, editorial, and look development
  • MatchMover — camera tracking application that automatically captures 3D camera path and camera parameters from 2D video and film image sequences
  • Maya — 3D animation, modeling, simulation, and rendering software for animation, environments, motion graphics, virtual reality, and character creation
  • Maya LT — 3D game development software offers modeling and animation tools that let you build characters and environments and bring them to life
  • MotionBuilder — capture, edit, and play back complex character animation in a highly responsive, interactive environment that's optimized for both animators and directors
  • Mudbox — digital painting and sculpting software provides 3D artists with an intuitive and tactile toolset for creating and modifying 3D geometry and textures
  • ReCap Pro — reality capture software to convert reality (e.g., laser scans) into a 3D model or 2D drawing that's ready for further design
  • Rendering — take advantage of virtually infinite computing power to create photorealistic and high-resolution images in less time
  • Shotgun — software that simplifies creative project management and unifies visual effects (VFX), animation, and games teams of all sizes
  • SketchBook for Enterprise — drawing and painting software that provides designers, architects, and concept artists the tools to sketch ideas quickly and create beautiful illustrations
  • Smoke — video effects software that combines editing workflows with node-based compositing tools in a timeline-based editing environment, helping production studios increase productivity
  • Stingray — create 3D games, real-time design visualizations, and stunning virtual reality experiences (connects directly to 3ds Max, Maya, and Maya LT)

Many of these products are bundled into our Media & Entertainment Collection.

Entertainment creation, on the big and small screen, is advancing at an incredible rate. Today, new digital processes from virtual moviemaking to stereoscopic 3D are transforming the way industry professionals create movie and television entertainment. From the 8-foot tall Navi of Avatar to UP's delightful curmudgeon, Carl Frederickson, Autodesk technology is helping filmmakers create a more immersive moviegoing experience. In the world of broadcast, television professionals are using the Autodesk portfolio of editing, effects, and animation solutions to create everything from children's animated programs to high-impact commercials and effects-driven dramas such as House, Mad Men, and Entourage.

Thanks to the Autodesk Gallery team for the descriptive text for this blog post.

"You are always hoping that movie audiences are interested in characters and interested in story values rather than just [...] special effects, but you never know."
— Clint Eastwood

As an Autodesk Gallery ambassador, I lead tours for groups of all kinds. Occasionally, I will get a team of architects or industrial designers who understand how Autodesk offers software in the AEC and MFG industries, but give me a puzzled look when I mention M&E. This normally happens later in the tour after we've covered The Shanghai Tower, so I explain to them: Successful movies are about the suspension of disbelief. As such, special effects have to look real, or they detract from the story. To look real, they have to be based on real physics. If you have software that can tell you that the Shanghai Tower won't fall over, you know something about wind, gravity, and the materials that make up a building. Similarly, when you need software to simulate blowing up a car, our software has a good idea as to where those pieces are going to land.

The Autodesk Gallery in San Francisco is open to the public on Mondays, Wednesdays, and Fridays from 10:00 am to 5:00 pm. There is a guided tour on Wednesdays at 12:30 pm and a self-guided audio tour available anytime. Admission is free. Visit us.

Moviemaking is alive in the lab.