For as long as I can remember I’ve wanted to be a 3d artist. It started with gluing and painting plastic model kits and later progressed to the computer. Throughout high school I downloaded and tinkered. In college I studied film theory but was always playing with whatever software was popular. Senior year I teamed up with a friend to make a short. Despite our inexperience we put together a crew and got started, it turned into an epic twelve minutes that combined 3d, cel, and clay animation. It was the hardest most rewarding experience of my life. Among others, we won the IFC award for student animation and a Student Academy Award.
After College I was recruited by the ICT Graphics Lab as an artist tasked with implementing their current research. Under Dr. Paul Debevec I learned the theory and practice of High Dynamic Range Imaging, Image Based Lighting, Image Based Modeling, Global Illumination, and a whole lot about cameras and optics. It's not only a skill set that I use every day but a philosophy. All the numbers and settings that I’m constantly tinkering with really mean something and translate to real world values. I also got to go to Greece and scan the Parthenon! We made a short with the data that played in the 2005 SIGGRAPH Electronic Theater and whose assets were used in several cultural heritage documentaries including an IMAX film called Greece: Secrets of the past.
After four years of photorealism I wanted to make some cartoons. In 2005 I was hired by Sprite Animation as a character modeler. Everyone was extremely talented and the artwork was stunning, we were a lean mean team and I was impressed by the efficiency and quality of the work. There was a thick language barrier but we always made it work. I felt so lucky and learned so much so quickly, it was a really amazing time. When the modeling wrapped I asked if I could rig so they taught me to rig, when that finished I expressed an interest in animating so they let me animate. I also did lighting, compositing and even learned to MEL script. I wrote a hair rigging pipeline for a Disney film we were doing.
I applied for and was accepted into an artist residency program at Anderson Ranch which is nestled on the western slope of the rocky mountains. It was great to commune with the other artists and experience my first real winter. Never having attended art school, I enjoyed trying to find my own voice. I focused on augmented digital photography and printing as well as developing some animation experiments that had been floating around in my head.
In the summer of 2008 I was recruited by Synthespian Studios to be the CG Supervisor for Disney’s Surrogates. I enjoyed leading a team and had a lot of fun with look development and finding solutions that worked within our pipeline. We were a small team so it was doubly important to visualize the result and work backwards in order to meet deadlines with the best quality.
I love being a generalist/TD and am fascinated with all the ingredients that go into VFX and Cartoons. I like looking down the road to see the finish line and then breaking it down into all the steps needed to get there. Understanding those steps, which requires the ability to cross disciplines, allows for a special kind of efficiency. I’m happy to work in VFX or Cartoons, most important is that the project is exciting and the people are cool.