Bernd Aneger’s career started in 1987 when he jumped into the tiny, new CG market in Vienna, Austria, following his technical education, equipped with a big portion of artistic goals. In those years he learned the new craft practicing on TV commercials and music videos and as assistant animator for traditional animation projects. Over the following ten years he experimented with CG character animation, resulting in the first fully CG animated commercial in Austria and later in the first Austrian CG-short movie about wine. In 1997, Bernd followed a wonderful invitation to join the animation team for ‘Titanic’ at Digital Domain and spent the following years creating animations for ‘Little Vampire’, ‘What Dreams May Come’, ‘Grinch’, ‘Timemachine’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, ‘Dare Devil’ and lately was lead animator on ‘I, Robot’. In between these feature projects he worked as animation supervisor on many commercials, amongst them the VES-awarded ‘Adidas—mechanical legs’ for David Fincher and most recently ‘Disney Homecoming’ featuring 18 famous Disney characters brought into the 3D world. Besides his work in the CG industry Bernd currently produces large-format photo books about Los Angeles, photographed at night and enjoys painting digitally. Bernd Angerer is currently animation supervisor at Digital Domain.
A veteran digital artist, Eran Barnea has been working as a Visual Effects Supervisor on feature films and commercials for 14 years, including a lengthy stint at ILM. A native of Israel, Barnea started his career working in the field of architecture, but he soon discovered the world of digital arts. After first applying this new technology to architectural designs, he began working as a designer and animator for broadcast television in Israel.
Barnea eventually travelled to Europe and earned a Masters degree with distinction in Computer Animation and Image Synthesis from Middlesex University in London. He then spent a few years travelling through England, Spain, France, and Norway, working as a freelance digital artist on a wide range of projects. His work during this period won awards from digital imaging organizations Imagina and Art Futura, among others.
In 1996, Barnea came to the United States to work in ILM’s commercial division, where he worked as an animator and a technical director on several award-winning commercials. He also contributed on movies like ‘Deep Impact’ and ‘Star Wars, Episode I: The Phantom Menace’, among others.
Barnea later co-founded Palma Studio in San Francisco to create high-end, animated visuals for video games. During this period, he supervised the creation of cinematics for titles that included ‘Pirates of Skull Cove’, ‘James Bond’, ‘Lord of the Rings’, and other interactive media projects.
Shannon Blake Gans
As co-founder and CEO of New Deal Studios, Shannon Blake Gans is the organizational spine of the most dynamic young company in motion picture visual effects. A love for the arts—and an eye for opportunity in the burgeoning field of visual effects—brought Gans into partnership with Ian Hunter and Matthew Gratzner in 1995. She combined her business experience and education with Gratzner and Hunter’s wealth of artistic talent and effects production experience. The result was Hunter/Gratzner Industries, Inc. (HGI), a miniatures and mechanical effects house offering pre-production design and on-set support services that fell outside the usual range of a model shop.
In 2001, Gans oversaw the acquisition of a neighboring production company’s assets. As a result, HGI more than doubled in size and became New Deal Studios, a full-service visual effects production facility. New Deal’s growth has progressed steadily since then, quadrupling in gross income and moving toward expansion into digital effects and film development and production. HGI/New Deal’s credit list includes HBO’s critically acclaimed series ‘From The Earth To The Moon’ and feature films as ‘Alien Resurrection’, ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’ and ‘The Aviator’ by Martin Scorcese. The company is also known for its work on numerous commercials for such well-known clients as AT&T, Coca-Cola, Chrysler/Dodge, United Parcel Service and BMW.
Shannon is a member of Women in Film and an active member of the Visual Effects Society. She was elected to the VES Board of Directors in 2002, and served both as Treasurer and member of the Executive Committee in 2004.
Dan Curry has been involved with the arts since an early age, pursuing expression in film, fine arts, theater, music, and design. He is currently producing the visual effects for the final episodes of ‘Star Trek Enterprise’. This follows producing and supervising effects for: ‘Star Trek: Voyager’; ‘Deep Space Nine’; and ‘The Next Generation’. Dan’s work has also been recognized by seven Emmy Awards, a Visual Effects Society Award, three International Monitor Awards, the first Hollywood Digital Award, and a British Cult TV Award for Best Special Visual Effects, as well as a number of awards for fine arts.
As a fine artist Dan works in a wide range of media and styles.
In addition to visual effects, Dan’s contributions to ‘Star Trek’ include: directing; title design; martial arts and weapons design; matte painting; puppeteering; ship and creature design; and animation. Dan’s work has also appeared in more than one hundred feature films, and over forty television productions ranging from ‘Indiana Jones and the Temple Of Doom’, and ‘Top Gun’, to ‘Hill Street Blues’ and ‘St. Elsewhere’. Curry’s educational background is in Film, Theater, and Fine Arts. Long time residing in Asia, and extensive world travel have been important sources of inspiration.
Syd Dutton is the co-owner and supervising Matte Artist at Illusion Artists. Soon after graduation from University of California at Berkeley, Dutton’s interest broadened to include film making, and he moved to Los Angeles. He got his start in the mail room at Universal Studios. Soon, a new world opened up to Dutton as Albert Whitlock took him as Assistant Matte Painter, not only teaching him the basics of painting photographically, but more importantly, how to give life to a painting.
After Whitlock’s retirement in 1985, Dutton, along with his colleague, Director of Photography Bill Taylor, decided to buy the department’s equipment and go out on their own. They formed Illusion Arts, and were joined by the same talented staff they had worked with at Universal Studios. Dutton’s source of inspiration cannot be pinned down to one single event or personality. His love for science fiction, especially boyhood heroes Buck Rogers and Flash Gordon, is his guiding light when he paints futuristic scenes for films such as ‘Star Trek V’. The inspiration of the imaginary architecture of the 18th century painter, Piranesi, has found its way into many of Dutton’s designs; notably the spectacular opening shot of ‘Star Trek: First Contact’.
He has worked for a diverse group of the top directors, including :Martin Scorcese; Terry Gilliam; Wolfgang Peterson; Robert Redford; Mel Brooks; Richard Attenborough; Frank Oz; Rob Cohen; and Mike Nichols.
Harrison Ellenshaw has spent all his life in art and film. As a Visual Effects Supervisor on ‘Tron’ and ‘Dick Tracy’, a matte artist on ‘Star Wars’ and ‘The Empire Strikes Back’, a director on ‘Dead Silence’, a documentary producer/director on ‘So You’re Afraid to Fly’ and ‘Under Glass’, he has been involved in almost every aspect of filmmaking.
The son of Disney legend, Oscar winner and renowned artist, Peter Ellenshaw, Harrison began painting at the age of four. Many years later he established his own reputation in 1977 when he worked as the matte artist on a highly speculative sci-fi film, ‘Star Wars’. From there he continued a distinguished career in visual effects, contributing to many notable films, including ‘The Black Hole’ (for which he was nominated for an Academy Award), ‘Captain Eo’, ‘Superman IV’, ‘Ghost’, ‘Dave’, ‘The Phantom’, ‘Escape from LA’ and many others.
Yet he still found time to create paintings of his own. It was by pure coincidence that in 1989 while working on the very visual film, ‘Dick Tracy’, Ellenshaw attended a touring exhibition of paintings by the French Fauvist artists.
He continues to successfully balance two careers. “Film and art have a great deal in common: to be successful they both need to create an emotion in the viewer that is compelling and fascinating.” Ellenshaw’s artwork is appreciated worldwide with paintings shown in galleries in London, New York, San Francisco and Tokyo.
Peter Ellenshaw describes his paintings as his own individual kind of realism. His paintings represent the truth of a scene as he sees it: “A picture must look real. If I can’t believe the picture
I paint, then I am not satisfied. Paintings must be alive.” Born in England in 1913, Ellenshaw was fortunate enough to begin his career in film working for visual effects pioneer, Walter Percy Day. Then in the early 50s Peter came to California (where he still lives) to work for Walt Disney on the epic film, ‘20,000 Leagues Under the Sea’. This lead to contributions to a new amusement park to be called Disneyland and to the milestone effects for the film ‘Darby O’Gill and the Little People’. His work as a master matte artist, production designer and filmmaker culminated in an Oscar for visual effects on ‘Mary Poppins’.
But this legacy in film is matched and, may even be surpassed, by his reputation as a fine art master. His seascapes, Irish landscapes and cityscapes are represented in public and private collections throughout the world. Ellenshaw’s numerous exhibitions at prestigious art museums include 12 one-man exhibits at Hammer Galleries in Manhattan. The artwork he produced during his 30 year association with Disney was honored in 1980 with a retrospective at New York’s Museum of Modern Art. Ellenshaw calls his method of painting “impressionistic shorthand,” which refers to his use of broad brush strokes to give the impression of detail. “The wonderful thing about painting is that one can never reach the peak of one’s endeavor. As the years go by, it becomes increasingly difficult to paint just a little better everyday; but in the trying, one lives to the fullest as a painter.”
Scott Frankel has worked in the visual effects industry for over 12 years and is credited on 20 feature films. He is currently Visual Effects Supervisor and founding partner of Circle-S Studios, Inc.
Before launching Circle-S he worked as Digital Effects Supervisor for ESC Entertainment in Alameda, CA, completing the last two sequels in the ‘Matrix’ trilogy. That was after nearly ten years at Industrial Light & Magic in Marin County, CA. His Composite Supervision tenure there culminated with Dreamwork’s ‘Minority Report’, for which he was nominated in 2002 by the Visual Effects Society for Best Compositing in a Motion Picture.
Scott has over 20 years of professional compositing and graphic arts design experience, reaching back to 35mm slide design and large-format, pin-registered composites for advertising and display media. Pursuing a life-long fascination with photography, especially with pinhole cameras, Scott was also active in the San Francisco Bay Area’s vibrant independent film community, making experimental short films for more than ten years prior to his working in visual effects.
With an accomplished background in Fine Arts and graphic design, and his experience as an independent filmmaker, Scott brings a keen eye, technical expertise, and a thorough knowledge of the filmmaking process to the field of visual effects.
Rocco Gioffre has created matte paintings for more than 60 films that have bridged two eras, from the optical/photochemical domain to the modern digital palette. After apprenticing at age 18 for Matthew Yuricich and VFX supervisor Douglas Trumbull on ‘Close Encounters of the Third Kind’, Gioffre went on to become one of the founding members of Dream Quest Images, where he worked for seven years.
Since then, Gioffre has worked widely in film, TV and commercials and currently creates visual effects and matte paintings at his west L.A. studio, Svengali Visual Effects. Notable films that Rocco has contributed to include: ‘Blade Runner’, ‘Caddy Shack’, ‘Twilight Zone: The Movie’, ‘National Lampoon’s Vacation’ (created Walley World), ‘Gremlins’, ‘Buckaroo Banzai’, ‘Back to School’, ‘Robocop’, ‘Dances with Wolves’, ‘City Slickers’, ‘Hook’, ‘Cliffhanger’, ‘What Dreams May Come’, ‘The Scorpion King’, ‘Terminator 3: Rise of the Machines’, ‘Angels in America’, and ‘Garden State’.
Rocco has been a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences since 1988 and served on the Executive Committee of the Visual Effects Branch for nine years. Rocco has been a VES member since its inception and is also on the VES Board of Directors.
Kelly has twelve years of experience in filmmaking with an emphasis on producing visual effects and computer animation. She is an accomplished artist and producer, receiving both an Emmy and a Clio for her work. Kelly worked as a Compositor on ‘Van Helsing’ for Universal Pictures, and the ‘Star Wars, The Empire Strikes Back, Return of the Jedi’ DVD Collection. From 1998-2003 Kelly ran her own company Howard Granite Films, (HGF) in Los Angeles, CA. HGF is a company that supplies computer animation, and production coordination services for feature films, commercials, music videos and television. As President and Senior Visual Effects Producer of HGF, Kelly was responsible for all aspects of the business, including marketing, budgeting, art direction, scheduling, production breakdown, crew hiring, commissioning of composers, recording the score, hiring the talent, producing visual effects and supervising animation. HGF assisted in the production of many projects including: ‘Monkeybone’, ‘Chain of Command’, pre-vis for ‘Spiderman’, ‘Living La Vida Loca’ for Ricky Martin, ‘Soldier’, and ‘Jack Frost’. Prior to running her own company Kelly worked for Pop Film and Pacific Ocean Post. Kelly worked as an inferno artist on: ‘Devil’s Advocate’, ‘Flubber’, ‘Doctor Dolittle’, ‘What Dreams May Come’, and ‘Armageddon’. Kelly paints in her free time. Her background includes a Bachelors Degree in Fine Art, and Computer Animation. Kelly lives in the San Francisco Bay area where she has formed a new company called ‘Granite Sky’ specializing in corporate videos.
Born in Sydney, Australia, Ben Gunsberger began working in the visual effects industry in 1995 at Bump Map. Following that he took a position at Animal Logic where he worked on many projects for television and film, culminating with “The Matrix” in 1998. He then relocated to the United States to join PDI/Dreamworks on the animated feature ‘Shrek’ where he was part of the lighting team. When that project was completed, he accepted a position at ESC Entertainment to be a part of the groundbreaking team for ‘Matrix: Reloaded’ where he contributed mostly to the freeway chase sequence, in particular the final truck crash. At the same time as pursuing his visual effects work, Ben studied photography at the College of Fine Arts in Sydney and the University of California, Berkeley. His photographic works have appeared in galleries in Sydney and San Francisco and have been used commercially for commercial and editorial purposes.
He is an active member of the VES and an associate member of the Australian Cinematographers Society. He is currently back in his home city of Sydney working as lighting supervisor on the animated feature ‘Happy Feet’ at Animal Logic.
Eric Hanson is a Visual Effects Designer specializing in the creation of digital environments and effects for feature films. Trained originally as an architect, Eric established pioneering 3D visualization studios for some of the country’s largest architectural firms, including The Callison Partnership in Seattle and Gensler in Los Angeles. After moving into feature Visual Effects several years ago, his design work can be seen in ‘Fifth Element’, ‘Atlantis’, ‘Fantasia 2000’, ‘Bicentennial Man’, ‘Mission to Mars’, ‘Hollow Man’, ‘Cast Away’, and ‘The Day After Tomorrow’. Eric specializes in 3D work with Maya, Renderman, and Shake, and is also an active teacher of those packages, having instructed courses on advanced effects techniques at Silicon Studio, UCLA, Gnomon School of Visual Effects, as well as leading a current curriculum on visual effects at the USC School of Cinema-TV. He speaks and holds workshops at many trade shows and universities, domestically as well as Japan and Europe. Eric is a member of the Visual Effects Society and holds a professional degree in Architecture from the University of Texas at Austin. He is currently executive producing a series of premiere instructional DVD titles on visual effects for The Gnomon Workshop, recently releasing three titles of his own on Digital Urban Environments, as well as having just published his second book on Maya technique for Peachpit entitled, “Maya 6 Killer Tips”. He wishes he could sleep more.
Pam Hogarth is Director of Industry Relations at Gnomon School of Visual Effects, a professional training center specializing in 3D computer animation. Before joining Gnomon, she was Director of Digital Media Institute. Pam fell into the world of computer graphics 21 years ago at Digital Productions when they were working on the ground-breaking film ‘The Last Starfighter’. Since then she has done marketing, public and industry relations, and training for hardware and software manufactures, distributors and educational institutions. She has taught at The American Film Institute, Otis College of Art and Design, and DMI and has lectured on computer graphics, digital careers and visual effects at various international conferences here and abroad. Pam served two terms on the Board of Directors, was Chairman of the Website Committee and Co-Chair of the Education Committee of the Visual Effects Society. She is also a co-founder and Steering Committee member of the Alliance of Digital Effects Production Trainers (ADEPT). Her name can be found in the credits of ‘Demonslayer’ and Faye Dunaway’s ‘The Yellow Bird’. She holds an M.Ed. from Kent State University and a B.S. in Fine Art and Psychology from Springfield College, Springfield, MA. She and her artist husband own the three greatest dogs in the world.
Jack Haye began his career in the visual effects industry as a modelmaker at Industrial Light & Magic working on miniatures for such films as ‘Ghostbusters II’, and ‘Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade’ through to ‘Death Becomes Her’.
At that time, he began to teach himself to model in Alias/Studio and he joined the Industrial Light & Magic Computer Graphics Department in 1993, doing matchmoving for ‘Disclosure’.
He continues to work at Industrial Light & Magic, most recently contributing to the effects for ‘Lemony Snicket’ and ‘Star Wars Episode III’ among others.
He is very committed to the ideal of recycling and for his personal artwork, he prefers to work using society’s discards as raw materials, spending as much time as possible at county refuse disposal centers and in dumpsters. He loves the beauty of old rusty things and weatherbeaten wood and tries to incorporate as much of this as possible into his artwork.
He currently resides with his wife and two step-children in Petaluma, California. He also has two grown sons, one grown daughter and one lovely six year old grand-daughter.
Richard Hollander is the President of the Film Division and the Senior Visual Effects Supervisor at Rhythm & Hues Studios. He was the Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for the Rhythm and Hues’ sequence of the Sorting Hat in ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’, several sequences including the Dogfight in ‘X 2’, the interstitials for Disney’s ‘Fantasia 2000’, and the engine room sequences in ‘Titanic’. Recent projects include ‘Garfield’, ‘Cat in the Hat’, ‘Chronicles of Riddick’ and ‘Scooby-Doo 2’.
Richard was awarded a CLIO for his work on the 3D (stereo) Panasonic Glider spot, a groundbreaking computer graphics film. At Doug Trumbull’s Entertainment Effects Group (EEG) he continued work on motion control, designing COMPSY (Computerized Multi-Plane System) for ‘Star Trek, The Motion Picture’. Richard operated COMPSY for ‘Blade Runner’ and Brainstorm. Richard was a founding partner of VIFX, which, over the course of its eleven years, grew to become a leading innovator in motion graphics and visual effects before merging with Rhythm & Hues Studios.
Richard was recognized for his contributions to the industry with a Scientific and Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences in 1998. Richard is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture of Arts and Sciences, serving on the Executive Committee for the Visual Effects branch of the Academy. He is a founding board member of the Visual Effects Society and has acted on the Executive Committee of that board for seven years.
An eighteen-year veteran of the visual effects industry, Evan Jacobs, worked his way up through the trenches at many leading effects houses such as Boss Film Studios and Fantasy II Film Effects. Along the way he worked on such projects as ‘Outbreak’ and ‘The Hunt for Red October’. Jacobs served as miniatures supervisor on the feature film ‘Ed Wood’ and then in 1994, he co-founded (along with colleagues Jon Warren and Douglas Miller) Los Angeles-based Vision Crew Unlimited, specializing in miniatures and mechanical effects.
At Vision Crew Unlimited, Jacobs served as Executive Producer and Visual Effects Supervisor and contributed to many films such as ‘The Mummy’, ‘Armageddon’, and ‘Titanic’. The company also provides effects for Mazda, Lexus, Dr. Pepper, Nissan, Toyota, and Coca-Cola to name but a few.
In 1998, Jacobs was nominated for an Emmy Award for Outstanding Achievement in Visual Effects for a Miniseries for HBO’s ‘From the Earth to the Moon’.
Jacobs then joined Digital Domain in Venice, CA where he served as the 3D Department Manager for two years. He has since returned to visual effects supervision, working with Toronto-based Mr. X Visual Effects.
Jacobs was also an instructor for the Entertainment Studies Extension Program at University of California Los Angeles (UCLA) for three years.
Originally from Detroit Michigan, Eli’s career began in video production at Producers Color Service. During his tenure, Eli used the Sorenson Motion Control Rig in conjunction with LightWave 3D and Flame to create seamless transitions between multiple passes. This resulted in new opportunities for directors and DP’s who’ve always looked at locked cameras as a hindrance. During his five year tenure, his efforts resulted in winning both a Mobius and Golden Lion award.
In 1995, Eli moved to Los Angeles and joined Complete Post as senior Flame artist. There he was able to produce effects on a variety of shows including ‘Dharma & Greg’, ‘That 70’s Show’, ‘Third Rock from the Sun’, ‘Caroline in the City’, ‘Moesha’ and ‘Home Improvement’. Eli utilized the latest in computer technology to meet the demand for digital feature work. Some of his work involved massive crowd replication in the hit movies ‘Joe & Max’ and ‘Space Jam’, as well as creating the opening title sequence for the ‘Outer Limits’, ‘Pleasantville’, ‘The Avengers’ and ‘Space Jam’. His work has earned him a Tally award, two Axiom awards and two Monitor finalist awards.
Currently Eli is employed at EntityFX known for their work on ‘Smallville’, ‘Spider-Man 2’, ‘Hitch’ and other films. Contributing his skills as an artist and supervisor, his collective efforts with the other artists have earned them two Visual Effects Society awards in 2003 and a 2004 Visual Effects Society award nomination.
A lifelong student of photography, native San Franciscan Randy Jonsson is in his fortieth year of capturing images on film. After briefly flirting with a career in the Navy, he left the military and entered film school at San Francisco State.
Eventually, he was lucky enough to land a job at ILM in time to lend a hand with the making of ‘Star Wars: Return of the Jedi’. Many years and many films later, he’s still there, having traded camera and lens for keyboard and monitor. Happily married in San Anselmo, California, he and his Canadian wife Caroline enjoy travel to distant lands, fine food and, of course, photography.
Peter C. Koczera
Born and raised in New Bedford, Massachusetts, Peter Koczera first attended The Orson Welles Film School in Cambridge, Mass and then the RCA Institutes in Manhattan before being accepted for his photographic work to California Institute of the Arts. Mentored by Pat O’Neil, Jules Engles and Don Levy, Peter received a BFA and MFA in Film/Video from Cal Arts with his work in Abstract Video Imagery conceived with many types of video, electronic and film sources but primarily with the Paik-Abe Video Synthesizer. His first commercial work was in 1979 for the Image West Company, in Hollywood, California utilizing the Scanimate Analog Computer. He has been in the forefront of the industry ever since working in commercials, television, music videos, and feature films, developing visual effect techniques with analog and then digital equipment. He has won awards for his work in the industry for graphics, editing and compositing.
He is currently on the Board of Directors for the Visual Effects Society, where he has served as the Chair of the Education Committee as well as a member of the Benefits Committee and the Strategic Planning Committee. Peter is currently a member of the Santa Clarita Valley Photographers Association and has recently been teaching and sharing his photographic knowledge and skills with third through sixth grade students at a local school in Valencia, CA.
Emmy award winner Tim Landry has made his mark on Hollywood films creating imagery, through his expertise in visual effects, that has contributed to a slate of films that have grossed more than a billion dollars at the box office. Mr. Landry enjoyed a long relationship with the Walt Disney Company where he was one of their top in-house Visual Effects Supervisors.
Tim’s experience in film-making and visual effects spans both the analog and digital eras. During the 1980s Tim and his crew were some of the primary suppliers of sophisticated slit-scan imagery in anticipation of the dawning of full 3D computer graphics shortly thereafter. Recently Mr. Landry’s talents have contributed to ‘Pirates of the Caribbean’, ‘Bulletproof Monk’, ‘Spider-Man 2’, ‘Sky Captain and the World of Tomorrow’, ‘A Sound of Thunder’, ‘Scooby 2’, and ‘Charlotte’s Web’.
Mr. Landry’s work is evidenced in such films as ‘The Sixth Sense’ (the twelfth highest grossing film of all time), ‘My Favorite Martian’, and ‘George of the Jungle’ where he coached a hilarious performance from both live and computer generated versions of Shep the elephant.
During his tenure at Disney, Tim also contributed to numerous theme park projects utilizing various formats including 70mm and IMAX.
He continues to photograph and paint for pleasure and spends as much time as possible doing so with his wife Mauriene at their cabin near Sequoia National Park.
Lorne Lanning is the Co-Founder, President, and Creative Director of the video game development company Oddworld Inhabitants. He has 18 years experience in computer graphics and digital media. He was initially trained as a photorealist illustrator at the School of Visual Arts in New York, and then later trained in classical animation and visual effects at the California Institute of the Arts (BFA). He has an Honorary Doctorate Degree from the San Francisco Academy of Art College and also serves on the board of directors for the AIAS, the Advisory Board of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects in LA, the Advisory Board to the President for the San Francisco Academy of Art College, and is also a member of the Visual Effects Society.
Early on in his career, his interest in high technology led him to serve as a technical director at the TRW Visualization Center in Redondo Beach, California. Prior to founding Oddworld, Lorne worked with Rhythm & Hues Studios in Hollywood, CA. Here he grew through the ranks of Modeler, Technical Director, Art Director, and Visual Effects Supervisor. In 1994 he convinced computer graphics veteran Sherry McKenna (winner of over 40 Clio awards) to be the Co-Founder and CEO of Oddworld Inhabitants. Inspired by the nature of property universes created by the likes of Tolkien, George Lucas, Jim Henson and Walt Disney, Oddworld has since been dedicated to the creation of next-generation digital universes.
Andy Lomas studied mathematics at Trinity College, Cambridge and is an Emmy award-winning CG supervisor.
For many years he has been interested in how complex organic structures can be created from simple mathematical rules. He has had personal artwork exhibited at the Art Gallery at Siggraph and the Los Angeles Center for Digital Art.
He was Head of Computer Graphics at ESC Entertainment (California) where he was the CG Supervisor for ‘The Matrix: Revolutions’. His main responsibility was for the ‘Super Burly Brawl’, when Neo returns into the Matrix for his final climactic fight in the rain with Smith. As well as supervising the CG he also personally developed the shader based system to do photo-real CG rain effects. At ESC he also worked ‘The Matrix: Reloaded’ and ‘Catwoman’.
Prior to moving to California Andy was Head of 3D Animation at FrameStore (London) where he received Emmy awards for his work on ‘Alice in Wonderland’ and ‘The Odyssey’ as well as Emmy nominations for ‘Arabian Nights’ and ‘Jason and the Argonauts’. He also worked on numerous other projects such as ‘Walking with Dinosaurs’, ‘Dinotopia’, ‘Lost in Space’, ‘Fairytale (A True Story)’ and numerous commercials.
He lectured in computer graphics and animation at The University of Teesside (England) and has given numerous talks about his work. Currently he is living in Los Angeles and working as Head of Character Effects on a CG Animated feature film for DreamWorks Animation.
Jim Morris is a Producer at Pixar Animation Studios, and is currently in production on an animated feature. Prior to his role at Pixar, he had a 17-year tenure at the Lucas Companies, serving the last 11 as President of Lucas Digital, Ltd., where he oversaw the operations of both Industrial Light & Magic and Skywalker Sound. Jim also served as ILM’s General Manager, Head of Production and as a Visual Effects Producer at the company.
During his time at ILM, the company received 19 Academy Award nominations for best visual effects, and received Oscars for ‘Forrest Gump’, ‘Death Becomes Her’, ‘Jurassic Park’, ‘Terminator 2’ and ‘The Abyss’, on which Jim served as Visual Effects Producer. Jim has contributed to over 150 of the most prominent visual effects films of the era, and ILM received numerous Academy Sci-Tech Awards during his tenure.
Prior to his work at Lucas, Jim ran two commercial production companies. Before that, he was a producer and director for PBS, making independent documentaries as well as the ‘US Chronicles’ series, hosted by Jim Lehrer.
Jim has also worked as a cameraman, an animation camera operator, and a still photographer. He is a member of the AMPAS, he’s a Film Commissioner for the City of San Francisco, and was the Founding Chair of the Visual Effects Society, serving seven years on the Board and Executive Committee.
Jeffrey A. Okun
A native of Los Angeles, Jeffrey A. Okun could be found photographing all the big rock and roll acts of the sixties and seventies, like The Who, Spirit, Captain Beefheart, Johnny Winters and Jimi Hendrix, who later became the producer of Jeff’s band, The Cross.
Jeff became a Visual Effects Supervisor more by accident than by design when he landed a job as a gopher with legendary title, montage and graphic designer Saul Bass. Working directly with Saul, Jeff learned the craft of editing, producing, writing and directing, and more importantly, how to design and create optical film effects. Jeff has remained a freelance Visual Effects Supervisor working on such films as ‘Stargate’, ‘The Last Samurai’, ‘Sphere’, ‘Deep Blue Sea’, ‘Lolita’, ‘Die Hard 2’, and ‘Red Planet’ among many others. His editing and visual effects credits also include music videos for such artists as Sting, The Beatles, Jimi Hendrix, Janet Jackson, Wayne Newton, Bryan Adams, Amy Grant, Dolly Parton, Prince, Michael Jackson, the Neville Brothers and Rod Stewart.
Jeff also serves as the Vice-Chair of the Visual Effects Society and the chair of the Awards Committee, having spear-headed the creation of the Annual VES Awards. He also serves on the Academy of Motion Picture Arts & Sciences Executive Committee for the Visual Effects Branch, the Executive Committee for Academy of Television Arts and Science Visual Effects Branch, on the Advisory Board of Directors for the Gnomon School of Visual Arts and is a respected member of BAFTA/LA.
Toni Pace Carstensen
Toni Pace Carstensen’s love of art and a good story has led her from New York to Los Angeles to San Francisco and back, by way of the Amazon jungle and Washington, D.C. Her first love, documentary filmmaking, brought her three Emmy Award nominations in Washington, D.C.
Inspired by the brilliant work done with the early computer effects tools, she opened her own studio, CyberGrafix, one of the first Macintosh-based computer graphics companies to cater to broadcast and corporate clients, like George Schlatter Productions and Warner Bros. As the executive producer at View Studio (a visual effects boutique in Hollywood), her work on ‘White Dwarf’, a Francis Ford Coppola-produced Movie Of the Week earned her the Broadcast Design Association Gold Award. As a Visual Effects Producer and Digital Production Manager, her feature credits include: ‘Fantasia 2000’; ‘Minority Report’; ‘End of Violence’; and ‘Still Breathing’. TV credits include: ‘Outer Limits’; and ‘X-Files’. Large-format location based films include: ‘Star Trek: Voyager—Borg Encounter’; and ‘Mission:Space’.
Storytelling drew her back to producing documentaries such as ‘River of Dreams’ (on the pink dolphin of the Amazon) and ‘Quest’ (on shamanic healing ceremonies).
Toni was a founding member of the Board of Directors of the Visual Effects Society, was the first VES Treasurer, Chair of the Vision Committee, and first Chair of the Education Committee where she continues to serve as one of the Co-Chairs.
Born and raised in L.A., Andrea earned a BFA, MA and a MFA in figurative sculpture with a minor in film and photography. Andrea entered the entertainment industry as a set sculptor and model maker in 1995. She was quickly accepted into the local Sculptors Union. After working on films like ‘Titanic’ and ‘Dante’s Peak’ for Digital Domain, ‘Starship Troopers’ at Sony Pictures and ‘The Beautician And The Beast’ at Paramount Pictures, Andrea spent the next three years at Disney where she held positions as Field Art Director and Production Designer. Seeing the shift towards CGI, she started taking courses in Alias|Wavefront’s Power Animator software at Silicon Studios. Later, beta testing Maya software while at Disney, she continued her digital education at Gnomon School of Visual Effect were she also instructed. She has also taught digital courses at schools such as Academy of Art College in San Francisco and UCLA Entertainment Studies.
In 2000, Andrea decided to switch completely to digital arts. After a handful of small productions, she found herself at Rhythm & Hues Studios working on ‘Dr. Dolittle 2’ and ‘Cats & Dogs’. From there she went to Sony Pictures Imageworks and expanded her abilities on ‘Stuart Little 2’, ‘I Spy’ and ‘Polar Express’. In 2003 Andrea became an active member of V.E.S and founded Stupao Visual Effects, Inc. The most recent project includes an animated logo of Jay & Silent Bob for Kevin Smith’s ‘Jersey Girl’ and Previs for Martin Scorsese’s ‘The Aviator’.
Frank started in the industry as a Director of Photography, quickly becoming a master of optical effects. In 1994, Frank founded his own studio, Positiv Film Production in Cologne, Germany. While filming in the commercial market, Frank experimented with animated computer graphic sequences using a self-made, customized optical printer. Positiv Film became one of the first German studios that explored CG filmmaking techniques on 35mm film.
In the mid-1990s Frank left Germany to join Tippett Studio in Berkeley, California, as a Plate Supervisor and Technical Director for feature film productions, such as ‘Starship Troopers’, ‘My Favorite Martian’ and ‘Armageddon’. In 1999, Frank’s innovative work on ‘The Haunting’ earned widespread recognition and advanced him to VFX Supervisor on Steven Spielberg’s ‘Universal Movie Magic’. His work on ‘Hollowman’ earned him an Oscar nomination. In 2001 Frank joined forces with Phil Tippett as VFX Supervisor for ‘Evolution’. He then led the highly successful “Carl & Ray Pet Shop Campaign” for Blockbuster Entertainment, which garnered him four Clio awards.
Between movie projects, Frank teaches classes and leads seminars on visual effects production at schools and festivals around the globe. He also contributes as a writer to genre-specific literature in German, as well as English.
Recognized as one of the pre-eminent digital artists in the world today, Visual Effects Supervisor Fred Raimondi has partnered on projects with, Michael Bay, David Fincher, Mark Pellington, Lance Acord, and Alex Proyas. Historically, he has always been ahead of the curve.
At a time when visual effects were reserved for film optical houses, his early work set the standard for electronics visual effects compositing with ‘The Twilight Zone’, ‘Max Headroom’, and the first season of ‘Star Trek, The Next Generation’. As a founding member of Planet Blue in 1988, his early work with digital compositing helped pave the way for today’s generation of visual effects and compositing platforms, tools, and techniques that are now widely recognized as industry standards.
Raimondi was among the first 15 employees at Digital Domain and played a large part in setting the stage and feel for Digital Domain’s Commercial Division. He became one of the first Visual Effects Supervisors in the Commercial arena.
Raimondi’s work has garnered Gold and Silver Cannes Lions, Gold and Silver Clios, an MTV Video Music Award, a Grammy, and eight of his spots are included as part of the Permanent Collection of the Museum of Modern Art in NY in ‘The Art and Science of the American Television Commercial’. He is currently the senior Visual Effects Supervisor in the Commercial Division of Digital Domain in Venice, California.
In 1993, Jay Redd ventured to California for the SIGGRAPH 93 conference where his flair for photography led to his first job at Rhythm & Hues as a Lighting Technical Director. He worked is way up to CG Supervisor, on numerous commercials, theme park rides and feature films such as the Academy Award-winning ‘Babe’.
In August 1996, Jay joined Sony Pictures Imageworks to work on the Robert Zemeckis film ‘Contact’. As an amateur astronomer with a long standing interest in the project, he led his team in creating the film’s opening shot, a 4,710 frame, three minute and 19 second journey from the earth to the end of the universe—the first digital animation to be nominated for an Annie Award.
He next helped breathe life into the title character for ‘Stuart Little’. This was the first time the ‘lead’ character in a film was fully computer-generated, and as a result ‘Stuart Little’ received an Academy Award nomination for Best Visual Effects. In 2003, Jay was the Visual Effects Supervisor on Disney’s ‘The Haunted Mansion’, bringing to life cultural icons from the Disneyland rides and designing new and updated twists that combined progressive CG techniques with unique analog and optical processes.
Jay has travelled the world to speak and lecture at many festivals, 3DFestival, AEAF and SIGGRAPH included. Jay has worked with computers and ‘art’ since the age of twelve, and studied photography, music and Japanese at the University of Utah. His study of photography and digital lighting techniques continues to play a significant role in his career.
An Otis Art Institute alumnus, Deborah Ristic began her career in Los Angeles as a storyboard illustrator. She transited from sketchbook to visual effects and titles at The Post Group (TPG) in Hollywood, renowned for introducing new technology to post-production and visual effects.
During her tenure at TPG, Ristic created graphics and effects for major television and film productions including the ground-breaking ‘Max Headroom’, ‘Back to the Future II’, and ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’. Her crossover-talent of title designer and visual effects artist has earned her two Emmy nominations, in 1988 for main title design, and in 2000 for visual effects.
Ristic became one of the earliest users of Discreet’s flame compositing software, and a contributing artist to fxguide.com. She is also a founding member of the visual effects peer group of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences.
Wielding a prodigious array of skills, she has also written and directed her own animated film, ‘The Orb of the Charmed Pressure’ and illustrated the book, ‘Sacred Sites: A Traveler’s Guide To North America’s Most Powerful Mystical Landmarks’.
Deborah Ristic is currently based Seattle. When she isn’t hiking the great Northwest, she continues to oil paint, fulfilling commissions for her canvasses and landscapes, most recently for a private collector in New York.
Stuart Robertson is an independent Visual Effects Supervisor whose supervisory credits include ‘Zelig’, ‘The Shadow’, ‘Immortal Beloved’, ‘The Ghost and The Darkness’, ‘Volcano’, ‘The Patriot’, ‘Stephen King’s Rose Red’, ‘Willard’, ‘Scary Movie 3’, and “What Dreams May Come’, for which he received an Academy Award for outstanding achievement in visual effects.
As a leading optical and digital supervisor, his credits include significant work on such films as ‘The Abyss, ‘Ghost’, ‘Backdraft’ and ‘The Last Action Hero’, the first major motion picture to rely entirely on digital technology in effects production and compositing.
Stuart has worked with exceptional artists in companies such as R.Greenberg Associates, ILM, Sony Pictures Imageworks, Digital Domain, Rhythm & Hues, VIFX, Pacific Ocean Post, Digiscope, Centropolis Effects, Yu+Co, and many others. He is represented by Shawn Burns, of Sandra Marsh Management in Los Angeles.
Stuart Robertson has served on the Board of the Visual Effects Society, is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and a Magician Member of the Academy of Magical Arts in Los Angeles. His personal interests include experimental film, stage magic, military history, art history, perceptual psychology, painting and manipulated photography.
Fulfilling a long-interrupted career plan, Stuart has recently accepted a faculty position at the award-winning Film School of the Florida State University, where he directs the school’s Visual Effects program.
Currently working as a freelance Visual Effects Supervisor, with a number of feature film credits, Steven Robiner previously served as Senior VFX Supervisor of Sony Pictures’ HD Center for over five years. Steven has designed VFX for commercials, 3D HD motion rides, music videos and several feature films including the Bob Hoskins / Dan Akroyd Brittish/Canadian release, ‘Rainbow’ which lead to Steven being featured on TV’s ‘Movie Magic’.
As a digital artist in Los Angeles, Robiner created numerous graphics for film, directed commercials, music videos, and the multiple award-winning motion-picture ‘Hello and Goodbye’, all while earning an MFA from USC. He Supervised Visual Effects (VFX) and Produced the multiple award winners: ‘Damned If You Do’, starring David Alan Grier, and ‘Silver Surfer’, selected for the prestigious SIGGRAPH Convention. His other honors include two CINE Golden Eagles, the NEFVF Silver Apple, the L.A. Reader Photography Award, the Rochester International Trophy, and the World Fest Grand Prize for work as a visual artist.
Carl Rosendahl began his filmmaking career in 1980 by founding Pacific Data Images. During his years at the helm of PDI, the company grew from producing broadcast graphics, to working on television commercials, creating motion picture visual effects, and finally, to producing original fully animated feature films. In partnership with DreamWorks SKG, PDI produced its first film ‘Antz,’ on which Carl was an Executive Producer, followed immediately by the blockbuster film ‘Shrek.’ In 2000, Carl sold PDI to DreamWorks where, as an integral part of DreamWorks Animation, the company continues to produce hits such as ‘Shrek 2’ and ‘Madagascar.’
After 20 years at PDI, Carl immediately jumped into the ranks of Silicon Valley venture capitalists, where he focused on working with technology intensive media startups. After a few years in the investment world, he was finally ready to take a break.
Carl is a founding board member of the Visual Effects Society, and is currently serving as Chair of the organization. He was recognized in 1997 with a Technical Achievement Award from the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences.
For creative release, Carl is a musician, photographer and builder of furniture and other objects using wood, steel, and of course, Lego.
A native Los Angeleno, Mike Rosenthal was exposed to art at a very young age. The son of a ceramicist and a meteorologist, he developed a love for both fine arts and science. Mike’s sculpting, drawing, and photography fused with his love of mechanics and computers and led him to visual effects. He first started doing character creation and animation in low-poly environments. He then moved to environment creation and animation, animating for television. His love for light and camerawork led him to cinematography, and Mike began a three year apprenticeship to Russell Carpenter ASC. During this time, Mike furthered his study of light and composition, while on the side shooting independent films and experimenting more with still photography.
Since then, Mike has been shooting both motion picture film as well as stills. His projects have ranged from fashion advertising to architectural studies to the 100 percent green-screen film for Universal Studios Island of Adventure’s ‘Poseidon’s Fury’. He also still creates art on the side, painting with acrylics, designing and building furniture, and doing just about anything else that is creatively challenging. In all of his art and images, Mike seeks balance and magic.
Mike is a member of the Visual Effects Society, where he was on the inaugural Awards Committee, and IATSE Local 600 Cinematographers Guild.
Steven J. Scott
Steven J. Scott began his career in the entertainment industry as a performer on the Bing Crosby Christmas television special of 1975, singing and dancing ‘The Continental’ in top hat and tails with Fred Astaire. During his years as a performer, he simultaneously trained as a painter and illustrator during the day. Steve eventually took up illustration full time, doing commercial illustration, matte painting, and title design work.
Finally, he entered the then new realm of digital special effects, joining Digital Magic in 1991 to work on ‘Star Trek, The Next Generation’, then on to Digital Domain. He has been involved in visual effects work ever since. In 2000, Steve won an Emmy for his compositing work on the ‘X-Files’ television series.
Steve is currently serving as Governor for the Title Design and Special Visual Effects Peer Group for the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences, is a member of the VES, and is an associate member of the American Society of Cinematographers (ASC).
Steve is currently with EFilm as a Supervising Digital Intermediate Colorist. His film effects credits include: ‘Finding Neverland’; ‘Lemony Snicket’; ‘The Village’; ‘Van Helsing’; ‘Peter Pan’; ‘The Ladykillers’; ‘Intolerable Cruelty’; ‘Titanic’; ‘Apollo 13’; ‘True Lies’; ‘Independence Day’; ‘Interview with a Vampire’; ‘X-Files: The Movie’; ‘Blue Crush’; and ‘Down With Love’.
Robert Scopinich is an artist whose origins are rooted in advertising, surf culture, and fine art. Twice winner of the Emmy Award, and recipient of the 2000 Monitor Award, his work has been recognized as a contributing influence on the graphic styles in film and television from the 1980s to the present.
His career began in advertising as an art director for the New York Agency Levine, Huntley, Schmidt, where he developed a keen understanding for both print and the television media. His background as a painter and sculptor brought his artistic talents to early recognition at The Jasper Galleries on New York’s East 57th Street. He started his journey in visual effects as an animator at Dolphin Productions, N.Y. and Image West, L.A.. He was later recruited by NBC to develop their ‘Magic Room’ and to design high-impact graphics for Network On-Air Promotions. He then went on to develop his own company specializing in creative design and technical consulting. Working with the writers of the Tom Lynch Company Robert has designed and supervised visual effects for children’s television, ‘The Journey of Allen Strange and Galidor’. Robert has also worked at several leading Los Angeles post houses as a digital effects artist and continues to perform high-end compositing and VFX on feature films. His credits include: ‘Sky Captain World of Tomorrow’; ‘Looney Tunes Back in Action’; and ‘An American Werewolf in Paris’.
Mark Spatny, a digital effects supervisor and producer, has contributed to feature films such as ‘I, Robot’, ‘The Last Samurai’, ‘League of Extraordinary Gentlemen’, and ‘What Dreams May Come’, as well as episodic TV shows including Birds of Prey, Sabrina the Teenage Witch, Gilmore Girls, and Everwood. Mark began his career in live theater, where he worked as a set and lighting designer. Whether it was rocking backstage at the Wiltern Theater, hanging lights at the Luckman Center, or producing plays for East West Players, Mark was a well known fixture behind the scenes in Los Angeles theatre circles. Designing scenery on his computer led to designing computer games for Disney Interactive and Knowledge Adventure, and then to creating stunning visual effects for the big and small screen.
Outside of the production grind, Mark’s passions are classical guitar and his camera. His most recent Community of Angels project was the Temple of Six Banyan Trees in Guangzhou, China. As Mark says, ‘home is where my camera bag is’.
Within the VFX industry, Mark has worked hard to bring recognition to the artists behind the scenes, by helping create The Visual Effects Society Awards and serving on the committee that organizes them for over three years. Mark currently works for Stargate Digital in Pasadena, California.
A native San Franciscan, artist Paul Swendsen studied fine arts as well as drama and a good dose of science. He worked closely with Francis Ford Coppola to create the 1930s style murals for his film ‘Tucker’. Matte artists from Lucas Film’s ILM watched him paint and he was asked to join the matte department for ‘Willow’ (Ron Howard). The opening sequence of ‘The Burbs’ (Joe Dante) which included four of his matte paintings, made history for the first seamless optical ‘Powers of Ten’ zoom and received a standing ovation in the ILM screening room. Between films at ILM, Paul painted book covers and so began his friendship with Arthur C. Clarke. Paul is also the first American in 50 years to work at the Babelsberg Studio (DEFA) in former East Germany teaching visual effects, and re-introduced latent image matte painting in Europe. He is a Director, Visual Effects Supervisor, and Matte Artist, combining traditional film knowledge with cutting edge digital visual effects techniques. Today, after the much acclaimed book ‘Explorateurs Photographes Territoires inconnus 1850-1930’ (ISBN2-7071-4109-7), he is once again collaborating with French author Antoine Lefébure restoring hundreds of fragile photographs from the exploration of the Amazon for the upcoming book ‘L’Amazonie disparue Indiens et explorateurs 1825-1930’ (ISBN 2-7071-4422-3). This project is saving photographs from national as well as private archives that will soon fade to non-existence even with the best of care.
After starting as a production assistant on the pilot episode of ‘Star Trek: The Next Generation’, David Takemura segued to working with the visual effects supervisors on that series and began his career in visual effects. He moved up the ranks to eventually supervise episodes of ‘Star Trek: Deep Space Nine’ and ‘Voyager’. His first feature film experience came from being the Co-Visual Effects Supervisor for ‘Star Trek: First Contact’, the eighth film of the long running series. In his freelance experience, he has worked on the visual effects teams for ‘Charlie’s Angels’, ‘What Lies Beneath’ and ‘Harry Potter and the Sorcerer’s Stone’.
David has been awarded with two Emmy awards for his work on ‘Star Trek’. He most recently was co-recipient of a Visual Effects Society award for Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series for his contribution to an episode of ‘Enterprise’.
In between his assignments in television and film, David has traveled extensively in Asia and Europe and hopes to continue touring the globe in the future.
Bill Taylor, A.S.C. is co-owner (with Syd Dutton) and Director of Photography at Illusion Arts, Inc. During his time as an optical effects cameraman, Bill learned Petro Vlahos’ Color Difference composite process from the inventor and became a specialist in blue-screen photography and compositing.
In 1985, Taylor and his Matte Artist colleague, Syd Dutton, founded Illusion Arts, Inc. They have credits on more than 160 films. In 2002, he was given an honorary Doctorate by the San Francisco Academy of Art. He is a member of the American Society of Cinematographers and was the founding Vice-Chairman of the Visual Effects Society. Bill is in his third term as a Governor of the Motion Picture Academy, where he has had the privilege of hosting two Academy tribute evenings in honor of his early inspiration, Ray Harryhausen.
Taylor is the co-author with Petro Vlahos of the digital compositing chapter in the current Ninth Edition of the ‘American Cinematographer Manual’. In his spare time, Bill designs jewelery, performs magic, and creates stage illusions for professional magicians around the world.
Bill gratefully acknowledges the friendship and inspiration of Pete Vlahos, the late Lin Dunn, A.S.C., and most of all, the late Al Whitlock.
Richard began his career as an artist and holds a BFA in painting and drawing from the University of Utah. He combined photographic talents within his own company, Rainbow Jam, a multi-media light show and graphic company. Rainbow Jam preformed in concerts with a multitude of rock groups at the Fillmore, The Family Dog, The Avalon and other venues throughout the western United States. Rainbow Jam also did concert tours with groups including The Grateful Dead and Santana. In 1973 Richard became the first in house art director at Robert Abel and Associates, the pioneer TV commercial graphics/special effects studio. In 1979 while at Abel’s he designed and supervised the building of the Enterprise and other miniatures for Paramount Pictures ‘Star Trek the Motion Picture’.
In 1985, Richard joined with Lee Lacy and Associates, where he directed and shot a multitude of award winning commercials for clients such as Ford, 7UP, RCA, and Duracell. In 1987, Richard moved to Apogee Production Inc. where he launched the internationally acclaimed 7UP company’s “Spot” campaign. During this time, his 7UP commercial titled “Baseball” won the CLIO for Best Live Action Animation Combinations and the spots ‘Teacher Lounge’ and ‘Christmas’ both won Best Director at the International Monitor Awards.
Diana Walczak is a computer graphics pioneer. She developed the first digital stunt doubles for “Judge Dredd” and co-directed the creation of two of the first digital human characters, Nestor Sextone and Dozo. In 1988, she and Jeff Kleiser coined the term Synthespian to describe the 3D characters that they bring to life.
In the early days of Kleiser-Walczak, Walczak contributed to the animation and visual effects of ‘Stargate’, ‘The Luxor Trilogy’, and ‘The Astronomers’.
Prior to founding Kleiser-Walczak in 1987 with Jeff Kleiser, Walczak worked as a sculptor and medical illustrator. She studied engineering and computer science at Boston University, finishing with a degree in sculpture in 1985. Walczak’s traditional sculpting skills have been utilized in much of her work as a digital artist and director of computer animated characters. In recent years, she has moved from sculpting characters in real clay to designing and sculpting characters with virtual clay in the computer, using a haptic force feedback tool by SensAble Technologies.
Diana Walczak serves on the board of directors of the Norman Rockwell Museum. She is also on the board of the SEE Fund, an endowment that supports innovative extra-curricular educational projects for the Mount Greylock Regional School District. She lives in rural Massachusetts with her husband and three children.
Habib Zargarpour has had over twelve years of experience in visual effects for film. He spent nine of those years at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM) where he first joined the team of ‘The Mask’ in 1993 as a Technical Director. Subsequent projects included the development of such effects as the particle tornadoes in ‘Twister’, the digital oceans and stormy seas in ‘The Perfect Storm’, Spawn’s cape in ‘Spawn’, and the pod race simulations and crashes in ‘Star Wars Episode I’.
While at ILM, he was nominated for two Academy Awards in Visual Effects for ‘Twister’ and ‘The Perfect Storm’ and garnered two British Academy Awards for those films working with Visual Effects Supervisor Stefen Fangmeier. He worked as a Digital Effects Supervisor with John Knoll on the pod race sequences in ‘Star Wars Episode I’ and on two Star Trek films: ‘Star Trek Generations’ and ‘First Contact’, working on the never before seen space anomalies and the Phoenix rocket launch sequence. Other creative projects at ILM included all digital underwater shots: of Matt Damon in ‘The Bourne Identity’; and the alien creatures in ‘Signs’.
Zargarpour continues to value the CG industry as the perfect mix of technical and artistic realms. Since 2002, Habib has worked as a Senior Art Director at Electronic Arts on driving and racing titles. His projects included Need for Speed Underground and 007 Bond Everything or Nothing for which he was nominated for a VES award. He is an active member of AMPAS and BAFTA, and a founding member of the Visual Effects Society.