Ziva Dynamics Monolith Award Interview: James Jacobs, CEO of Ziva Dynamics
November 15, 2019 – Ziva Dynamics announced that their flagship simulation software, Ziva VFX, has won the Monolith Award for Technology. The annual award is presented to the achievement that represents “the most outstanding innovations in technology” across the media and entertainment industry. It was presented live to Ziva Dynamics on November 9 at the Infinity Festival in Hollywood.
Ziva Dynamics is the world’s leading virtual character software company. Ziva’s physics computation and simulation platform, coupled with standardized character assets, offer groundbreaking solutions for creating high-quality virtual humans and creatures, and designing lifelike digital experiences. Founded in 2015, Ziva’s technology is used by leading film, entertainment, retail and consumer brand companies around the world.
Today, James Jacobs spoke to VFX Online and talked about Ziva Dynamics Monolith Award.
// From James Jacobs, CEO of Ziva Dynamics
The Infinity Festival is fairly new — can you tell us more about it? What were the coolest things you saw there?
Infinity Festival is a great event. It’s reminiscent of the “emerging technologies” portion of SIGGRAPH, but with a focus on the intersection of technology and entertainment. In my opinion, it is exactly what the narrative arts community needs. There are so many great stories and mediums that simply need space to be seen, and the festival offers exactly that.
The Monolith Awards, presented at the festival, recognize outstanding innovations in technology that are pushing the boundaries of storytelling. Can you tell us more about the award and/or the ceremony?
Although the Monolith Award itself may not yet be well known, the 25-person panel of judges represents an impressive cross-section of technological leadership from the biggest studios in Hollywood, and also includes representation from technology companies that support the industry, like Dolby and Adobe. Gathering such a remarkable group is no small feat, so I commend Infinity Festival for prioritizing the recognition and celebration of emerging innovations and stories.
Being awarded by such a well-informed and esteemed group was both humbling and gratifying. The award review process was quite rigorous, with many hours spent demonstrating the ins and outs of Ziva VFX and highlighting the great work it has enabled. The award ceremony itself was a fun, relatively casual affair. Myself and Jernej Barbic, Ziva co-founder & CTO, accepted the award on behalf of the team and shared many laughs along the way. The award weighs a fair bit, too, so it is aptly named!
What was your reaction when you heard that Ziva VFX won a Monolith Award for Technology?
The entire team was ecstatic to hear that such notable representatives had selected Ziva. We’ve been working at solving some of the most challenging tasks in the domain of character creation, and that doesn’t come without its difficulties and hurdles so it is rewarding to see that our efforts are being noticed, and that our customers appreciate the care and attention we have paid to solving their problems.
Any other news to share about Ziva?
We’ve recently had quite a few studios share their Ziva results with us; in the past month, we’ve seen great work from Goldtooth on Marvel: Realm of Champions, Tau Films on the Nicolas Cage indie film Primal, WeFX on the Korean TV drama Hotel de Luna and many whispers about upcoming titles that we can’t yet mention. We’re excited to see what’s on the horizon.
How does Ziva VFX help artists of all skill levels (from amateur to professional)?
Ziva VFX makes it easy and fun add more realism and dynamics to animated creatures through the use of physical simulation. This helps free up the artist to make creative decisions rather than struggle to make non-physically-based approaches look natural. Our tools have been built to service all forms of character work, from photoreal to cartoon animations, and use intuitive inputs and elements to make it easy to learn and effortless to adopt.
What major studios are currently using Ziva VFX?
Ziva VFX is currently being used by over 200 of the top VFX studios, creative boutiques and academic institutions in the world. A few of our top customers include MPC, DNEG, Scanline VFX, Pixomondo, MPC, Image Engine, Rising Sun Pictures, Framestore and Sony Pictures Imageworks.
What does the future hold?
We have some big things in the works right now. Ziva seeks to solve character problems across the board, and that includes obstacles and challenges outside of rigging and simulation. There are so many other costly and time-consuming problems that are limiting the creative capacity of everyone involved in the creature pipeline, so you can expect to see us take on some new problems very soon.
We would like to thank James Jacobs for the great interview, and if you like to know more about Ziva Dynamics, please visit at Ziva Dynamics.