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25 Years
of Foundry

Advancing the art of technology and visual experience for over two decades

25 defining moments for every year we’ve been pioneering software for creative industries.


Foundry founded

25 years ago, Foundry was formed by Simon Robinson and Bruno Nicoletti in Soho, England. With Flame and Inferno standing as the era’s industry standard, Simon and Bruno spent their time creating plug-ins to improve the software, pouring their love of visual effects into each new creation.

Foundry’s founders, reunited

Hear what Simon Robinson and Bruno Nicoletti have to say about Foundry’s history and what’s coming next.


Digital Domain’s Nuke used on Titanic

Titanic was released in 1998 to critical acclaim, going on to win eleven Oscars, including for visual effects. An early version of Nuke, then owned by Digital Domain, was used to composite various elements of the film's moving final scene, leading to a masterfully-crafted morphing hookup-move composite.


Digital Domain’s Nuke wins Academy Sci-Tech Award

Under the care of Digital Domain, Nuke was recognised for its technical achievement with an Academy Sci-Tech award after becoming increasingly essential to the success of blockbusters like Titanic, True Lies and Apollo 13.


Foundry’s Furnace plug-ins receive Sci-Tech Award

The development of Foundry’s Furnace plug-ins got much-deserved recognition with a Sci-Tech award in 2006, having proved fundamental in enhancing VFX in motion picture sequences—and helping artists bring feature films to life in the coming years using Foundry tools.


Foundry takes over development of Nuke from Digital Domain

Having reached the technical limits of what we could achieve through plug-ins, Foundry looked for a proprietary software platform to broaden our goal of offering the best-in-class VFX tools. Enter Nuke: a post production powerhouse, and the perfect fit for Foundry’s forward-looking ambitions.


Nuke and Ocula used on Avatar

With a huge 2,500 VFX shots—all rendered in stereo — Avatar broke new ground on its release in 2009, hailing the advent of 3D cinema. Foundry tools Nuke and Ocula were used by vendors Weta Digital, ILM and Framestore to bring this immersive 3D visual feast to our screens.


Foundry expands into look development and lighting with Katana from Sony Pictures Imageworks

Katana was used as SPI’s main compositing tool on several films, having been originally developed by the studio into a formidable 3D and 2D compositing package. Later, in 2009, Foundry took over its commercial development and it's now used by studios across 18 countries as their look development and lighting tool of choice thanks to consistent and innovative product optimisation.


Foundry expands into 3D texture painting with Mari acquisition from Weta Digital

Developed by Weta Digital for use on King Kong and Avatar, Mari had already proven its 3D texturing prowess by the time it was acquired by Foundry in 2010. We’ve since built on its foundations, offering a new Materials System and approximation shaders in collaboration with 3Delight and VRay.


Mari used on Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows

3D texturing tool Mari made magic on the final Harry Potter film when boutique VFX house Baseblack tackled a number of stand-alone shots. Dumbledore’s Tomb counted itself among them—with a minimalist, ‘new’ design, the challenge was to make it look real without using standard cues such as scratches, denting, grime and dirt.


Launch of NukeX with built-in Camera Tracker

NukeX already shipped with advanced tools for tracking, clean up and refining 3D. Its newly-introduced Camera Tracker allowed artists to create a virtual camera whose movement matches that of the original camera, enabling the easier addition of virtual 3D objects to 2D footage.


Foundry acquires Luxology and 3D modeling tool Modo

Foundry merged with Luxology, known for their 3D creative software Modo. The merger offered a combined portfolio that opened doors to new ways of working, providing artists and designers with increased creative choice.


Katana wins Academy Sci-Tech Award

Katana's development team was recognised for technical achievement with an Academy Sci-Tech Award as their efforts into ramping up its look development and lighting capabilities paid off.


Foundry expands into Storyboarding with Flix from Sony

Completely unique, Sony Animation’s in-house animation tool Flix worked wonders for the studio. In 2013, Foundry was delighted to take over its commercial development, building upon its solid foundation to offer collaborative visual story development across the previsualization process.


Flix wins the HPA Engineering Excellence Award

Flix added to Foundry’s portfolio of award-winning software when, in 2013, it won the HPA Engineering Excellence Award—honoring excellence in post production and recognizing the achievements of individuals and companies engaged in revolutionary work in post production.


Nuke used on Gravity

“Nuke was critical to every bit of the film,” explains Tim Webber, former VFX Supervisor at Framestore, as in 2013 the studio ramped up their CG efforts to deliver an award-winning film that uniquely blends cinematography and post-production.


Project Dreamspace launched, exploring the evolution of real-time filmmaking

One of Foundry’s first forays into virtual production began in 2013 with the launch of Dreamspace. Spanning three years, the project aimed to make it possible for directors, designers and artists to blend live action and virtual content together on-set and see the results immediately.


Nuke Studio launched

Nuke Studio gives artists working on multiple shots more context and control, along with the familiar compositing node graph. Featuring multi-shot management, editorial, compositing and review, Nuke Studio still reigns supreme as our most powerful Nuke to date, helping studios fulfil their creative vision, faster.


Modo used on Interstellar

Foundry’s 3D creative software Modo was used to create out-of-this-world spaceship models for Interstellar, helping New Deal Studios achieve Christopher Nolan’s vision of spacecraft that felt real and relatable.


Mari wins Academy Sci-Tech Award

Six years after acquiring Mari from Weta Digital, the 3D painting and texturing tool is recognised for technical achievement with an Academy Sci-Tech Award thanks to ongoing product development.


Modo, Mari, Katana, and Nuke used on Star Wars: The Force Awakens

To bring the beloved world of Star Wars to life, the ILM team needed software that would empower them to capture their creative vision quickly and effectively. Enter Foundry tools: Modo for previs, Mari for Millennium Falcon textures, Katana for quick droid lighting and Nuke for efficient populating of blaster fire.


The Nuke development team receives the Academy Sci-Tech Award

Jon Wadelton, Jerry Huxtable and Abigail Brady received Scientific and Engineering Awards at the Academy Awards, recognizing their significant contributions to the architecture and extensibility of Nuke. Bill Spitzak and Jonathan Egstad also received awards for its design and development.


Nuke in the Cloud on The Crown Season Three

A shining example of invisible visual effects, The Crown features VFX so good, you don’t even notice them. In order to bring the reign of Queen Elizabeth II to life, Nuke was heavily used by several top studios on Season Three, supervised by Ben Turner as part of The Crown’s in-house VFX team.


USD Pixar technology features in Katana

Katana 3’s game-changing Hydra viewport, powered by Pixar’s USD tech, was introduced in 2018. Designed to render massively complex scenes, it allows artists to view larger portions of their work with silky-smooth interaction.


The Nuke team wins an Engineering Emmy Award

Four key engineering contributors to Nuke—Bill Spitzak, Jonathan Egstad, Peter Crossley and Jerry Huxtable—were recognised for extensive developments in engineering that materially affect the production, recording, transmission or reception of television.


Machine Learning launched in Nuke

Recently released Nuke 13.0 integrated a new suite of machine learning tools including CopyCat—a plug-in that allows artists to train neural networks to create custom effects for their own image-based tasks. Designed to save huge amounts of time, CopyCat allows artists to discover new ways of approaching shots, putting machine learning into the hands of their imagination.


Nuke wins HPA Engineering Award

And finally, a bonus milestone: Foundry’s compositing toolset, Nuke, has been honored with an HPA Award for Engineering Excellence. Nuke has been recognised for its innovation in Machine Learning, USD and more, alongside its extensive use in the VFX industry.

Foundry Live 2021

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