Film is where I began; Rhythm & Hues to be precise. VFX back then was movie-to-movie gigs, so you became acquainted with a lot of studios. Every studio challenged me, taught me something new, exposed weaknesses, but also highlighted potential. The skill set needed to created live-action, realistic VFX differs so much from hyper-stylized animated characters….but through my career, I developed the ability to rig both.

Movies

Just a Few Highlights

Film is where I began; Rhythm & Hues to be precise. VFX back then was movie-to-movie gigs, so you became acquainted with a lot of studios. Every studio challenged me, taught me something new, exposed weaknesses, but also highlighted potential. The skill set needed to created live-action, realistic VFX differs so much from hyper-stylized animated characters….but through my career, I developed the ability to rig both.

Of the movies I've worked on, I chose to highlight these three because of their role in developing my VFX career. Narnia was my introduction to Hollywood film industry, Journey allowed me to explore various branches of animation, and Dreamworks was my first fully animated Hollywood production.

Rhythm & Hues was my first gig in a true Hollywood studio. There was high anticipation for the first Narnia film, and I was fortunate to be recruited fresh out of college. Though my part was small, the shots were impressive. Overall, my time at Rhythm & Hues helped me to get my bearing and decide where I wanted to focus. By the time Narnia was released, I had thoroughly determined that hair/fur/cloth was not where I wanted to dedicate my career.

Journey was a unique experience for me as an artist. I was hired on as previz, which completely changed my artistic priorities. People, venus flytraps, and dinosaurs needed to be rigged efficiently, but it didn't need nearly the same realistic depth. I was able to explore pacing, composition, animation, and lighting. I quite enjoyed previz, but my next few movies established me as a rigger. It was time to specialize.

I was a pretty solid rigger when I came to Dreamworks, but the company was adamant their proprietary rigging system was superior to Maya. Learning an undocumented software in an unfamiliar language was not easy. Consequently, I didn't start as a lead rigger. In fact, my first movie at Dreamworks was How to Train Your Dragon. Remember that scene when Hiccup first establishes his bond with Toothless by luring him out with a fish? It's one of the most marketed and memorable scenes of the movie. I rigged the fish.

But time, experience, and hard-work helped me progress. By the time Kung Fu Panda 2 came along I was the rigger for Monkey and a variety of background characters.