An inventor who developed pioneering special effects software in his baby daughter's bedroom "with no experience and no money" has won an Academy Award.

The computer programme Philip McLauchlan helped create 13 years ago has been used in the making of hundreds of Hollywood blockbusters including Harry Potter and Spiderman.

Next month the Epsom man will fly to Beverley Hills to collect an Academy Award at the annual Scientific and Technical Awards Presentation held by the Academy of Motion Picture, Arts and Sciences.

The 48-year-old will receive the award for his work creating the Mocha planar tracking and rotoscoping software, alongside Allan Jaenicke, John-Paul Smith and Ross Shain, at his company Imagineer Systems.

The Academy praised the technology for its "effectiveness and ease of use" which has "resulted in widespread adoption of the software in the visual effects industry".

Explaining what the software does, Mr Maclauchlan said: "We looked at the problem of placing a special effect, like creating a fire in the background, on an image without it appearing on the character in front of it.

"You want the effect in certain parts of the image, but not the whole image.

"To do this, you draw an outline around the character, but in the next frame when the character moves you need to draw the outline again and each time it takes 10 to 20 minutes to draw it.

"The Mocha planar tracking reduces the time it takes because you only have to draw the outline once."

The software, which was released in 2001, has been built into the Abode creative suite used in film production and has been used on hits such as Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows, Black Swan and Green Hornet.

Mr McLauchlan, who worked as a lecturer in computer vision at the University of Surrey, started Imagineer Systems with Mr Jaenicke in 1999 - "with no experience and no money in a bedroom shared with my first daughter who was born that year".

He said: "Allan and I shared a room with my first daughter who was born in 1999. So instead of a ‘garage start-up’ like Google, Dell or Apple, we were a bedroom start-up.

"I guess we haven’t made billions like them, but then they haven’t won any Academy Awards."

"Imagineer Systems has been successful but we didn’t become millionaires so to get this recognition from the industry shows that we have had an effect.

"Lots of people are using the ideas we developed back in 1999 and that’s amazing."

"When we watched programmes 20 years ago we thought the special effects were great and now they look tacky.

"Now we can create these effects seamlessly and make them look so realistic."

"It was the idea of working with images which I have always found fascinating. We look around and interpret the world so easily because of our eyes. The challenge is allowing computer or robots to see."

Mr Maclauchlan now works for Mirriad which creates digital product placement for film, television programmes and online videos.