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52. Simon Robinson

Cofounder Chief Scientist

If a movie involves complex digital special effects, Simon Robinson is involved. The Foundry does the "hard math," as he says, that makes the effects in movies like Where the Wild Things Are possible. Its specialty is "compositing," image processing that assembles hundreds of layers of visual elements and massive files into a seam-less and breathtaking film sequence. For Avatar, the Foundry had to reengineer its products, positioning the company perfectly for the current 3-D boom. "Our customers try to break our stuff to create new effects," says Robinson, 42, a former IBM researcher, "and the question we face is, How do we adapt?"

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