A Bradford University graduate who helped audiences across the world believe they were trapped hundreds of miles above the Earth’s surface has seen his work nab an Oscar.
Paul Roberts, 25, studied Advanced Computer Animation and VIsual Effects at the university, graduating in 2011.
After graduation, he went on to work for visual effects company Framestore, a job that introduced him to the world of A list movies leading to him working on smash hit film Gravity, where he had the role of ‘render wrangler’.
The film has now won the prestigious Oscar for best visual effects – adding to its Bafta award for special visual effects, handed out last month.
Mr Roberts was one of a large team that made sure the film – about a astronaut stranded in space, was not only a huge box office winner, but also a critical smash, and praised for its technical achievements.
He said seeing his name on the film’s credits was “a dream come true”.
The role of render wrangler is one that could barely have been conceived when the Oscars were first handed out in 1929.
It involves overseeing the process that sees digital information become the viewable image seen on screen, often through many computers.
With so much of Gravity created using computers, almost 80 per cent of the film, Mr Roberts played a huge part in what ended up on the screen.
Starring Sandra Bullock as the astronaut stranded in space when a shower of satellite debris destroys her shuttle, the film won seven Oscars, including best director for Alfonso Cuaron – the first Latino director to win the award.
The movie, filmed in 3D and shown in IMAX theatres, has so far raked in $700 million across the world.
Mr Roberts, of Leeds, said: “It is a film set entirely in space and rendered in 3D so there were a lot of frames going through the render farm.
“Each frame was part of a long sequence, some of which were several minutes long and required vast amounts of processing power to complete, thus requiring a substantial farm. Being part of such a huge and complex project was a thrilling experience, and seeing my name on the credits was a dream come true.
“I would wholeheartedly encourage anyone to keep pursuing their goals. My time at Bradford certainly helped me reach mine and I am very grateful to have had the opportunity to study in a place where the level of education was so high.”
Karl Abson, lecturer in creative technologies at the University, said: “Paul has had a great start to his career since graduating. His contribution to Gravity is a great achievement.”
David Wilson, director of Bradford City of Film, said: “This is brilliant news. We spoke to Paul before the weekend and he seemed delighted to have been involved in something on this scale. It was great that there were two or three British films doing really well at the Oscars. It shows we’re in a golden age of British film.
“These days the technology to be able to this is available to more and more people. This win was good news for British film and good news for Bradford.”