On February 11, 2017, the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences’ Oscar Award in the Outstanding Contribution to the Science and Engineering Technology category was awarded to the Chief Technology Officer and co-founder of Chaos Group, a Bulgarian software company, Vladimir Koylazov. The award is for “the original concept, design and application of the V-Ray technology”, and, unlike the Oscars for film art contribution, the Тechnology and Сcience Oscar is awarded for established achievements in cinema and is given to innovators “whose inventions contribute significantly to the quality of cinema production”. Although this is not the first Oscar nomination for Bulgaria in recent years, nor the first Oscar won in the engineering and science field, Vladimir Koylazov is the first winner who studied, and works and lives in Bulgaria.
Vladimir Koylazov was born in Rousse in 1978 into a family of teachers. His mother was a high school teacher of French and his father was a teacher at the College of River Ship Construction and Navigation in the city. He graduated from the Olimpi Panov Primary School in Rousse and at this age he developed an interest in mathematics. His father bought a computer, one of the first Bulgarian Pravets, for his elder son and since the computer was not used in the evenings, Vladimir Koylazov started to explore it and became interested in programming and computer graphics. However, he later decided on enhancing his language training and was admitted to the High School of English in Rousse in a French class. While in the high school, he visited the United States, but set his mind on continuing his higher education in Bulgaria and became a university student in computer science at Sofia University.
It was there that Vladimir Koylazov met his future partner, Peter Mitev. Trying to catch up with material he has missed out, Peter Mitev went to the university computer laboratory and accidentally talked to Vladimir Koylazov who was developing a computer game project at the time. In 1997, while still students, they founded their company Chaos Group, which from the beginning started developing 3D technologies.
Years of almost day-and-night work followed. At a time when the Internet was still an emerging technology, was not widely available and online information was more than scarce, the two were making incredible efforts to explore existing technologies in the chosen business field. Eventually, in 1999, their first success came with the sale of their first completed Phoenix product that was aimed at the mass 3D technology market. For better sustainability and organization of their business, the partners split their functions: Vladimir Koylazov focused on programming and Peter Mitev took over the relationship with clients.
In 2002, the company launched a new software product that enables the generation, processing and presentation of 3D images. The V-Ray technology is a software plugin for rendering images and is supported by a wide range of 3D rendering programs. The ability of the technology to track light rays allows for the rapid creation of high quality photo-realistic images in a short time, achieves twice the rendering power and, therefore, reduces production time and cost of human and technical resources. Initially, the technology was used mainly by architects but gradually entered the media and automotive industries as well as television and product design. V-Ray has been used in more than 160 films, including Avatar and Game of Thrones. In 2017 comes the recognition of the years of work when Chaos Group win the Academy Award. More about the procedure for applying, evaluation and selection of the winners can be found in the interview of the two company founders.
As of March, 2020, Chaos Group is a global leader in computer graphics technology. It employs more than 200 people, has more than 250 distributors worldwide and operates through offices in Sofia, Los Angeles (USA), Seoul (South Korea) and Tokyo (Japan).
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