Wednesday November 30, 2011

Neil Eskuri, Digital Effects Supervisor and Fred Chapman, Rigging Supervisor from Image Engine Designwill discuss the challenges in creating the visual effects for the highly anticipated prequel to “The Thing”.

This presentation will explore the wide range of visual effects work throughout the production process at Image Engine, highlighting the multiple creatures and transformations.  The team will also address the artistic and technical challenges involved in paying homage to the look of John Carpenter‘s iconic movie, while realizing a new vision for the 2011 film. The presentation highlights how the company’s strengths, its customized film pipeline and talented team of creature artists, all had a role to play.

Additionally, a panel of lead artists from Image Engine will be on hand to discuss their individual challenges within each discipline.

Non-members – $25

Members – $15 Members must log in to get discounted prices

Group – $20 (5 or more) Please contact us for the group rate discount code.

DOORS:  6pm for an industry mixer (cash bar, ticket holders only)

Vancity Theatre, 1181 Seymour Street (@ Davie)

Presentation will begin at 7pm.

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About Image Engine

Image Engine provides world-class visual effects for feature films.

With over 15 years in the industry and several award wins, the company has accrued feature film credits including the Academy Award®-nominated District 9, 2012, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse & Breaking Dawn, The Thing and Immortals. Currently in production at the studio is: Safe House, R.I.P.D. and Neill Blomkamp’s upcoming feature, Elysium.

Image Engine is a privately owned and run company, based in Vancouver, BC.


Neil EskuriDigital Effects Supervisor

Neil brings 30 years of CG production experience to his role as Digital Effects Supervisor at Image Engine.

Neil’s career started with Robert Abel and 1981, where he worked in commercial production as a modeler, animator, EFX animator, lighter and compositor.  His first foray into feature work was Total Recall in ‘89 at MetroLight Studios.

From 1990-1994, Neil spent time at Rhythm and Hues, PDI and Sony ImageWorks, where his credits include Last Action Hero, My Life, Tall Tale and Legend of the Fall.

Neil joined Disney Feature Animation in 1994 where he spent 4 years helping to set up the company’s digital studio for Disney’s first computer generated feature, Dinosaur, with other projects including Fantasia 2000 and Treasure Planet.

In 2004, Neil moved to Vancouver to work at EA on Need For Speed, SSX, and NBA as Sr. Art Director. In 2010, he joined Image Engine as the Digital Effects Supervisor for The Thing, the largest show that Image Engine had worked on to date. Neil has since taken on The Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn and is currently supervising a feature by Japanese Director Yukihiko Tsutsumi, Hayabusa.

Fred ChapmanRigging Supervisor

Fred is a VFX Creature Rigger specializing in creating animation rigs for realistic movement and associated tools to support efficient and flexible workflow for riggers and animators.

He has worked in a senior position for several leading visual effects companies in London, Sydney, Adelaide and Vancouver. He is currently Lead Character Technical Director at Image Engine, responsible for leading a small team creating animation rigs for creatures, digital doubles and props, as well as developing tools and techniques to improve the quality and efficiency of the work produced.

Fred holds a joint honours degree in marine biology and dynamical oceanography and an MSc in computer graphics. He started working professionally as an animator over 11 years ago and quickly evolved into more generalist and technical roles. With the exception of an 8-month break to study Ashtanga Yoga in Greece and India, he has been working full time as a creature rigger for the past 8 years.

Along the way he has faced many interesting rigging challenges including a fighting tree, exploding canary, giant snake, miniature fire-breathing dragon and an armchair that transforms into Jim Broadbent. He designed and created a facial animation system used in several talking animal movies and has played a pivotal role in the design of asset pipelines at two facilities.

The creation of multiple mutilated, transforming, organic creatures for The Thing was his most challenging work to date.

Steve Garrad – Visual Effects Executive Producer

Primetime EMMY Nominee 2010
LEO Award Nominee 2010

Bringing over 16 years of industry experience and a wealth of production know-how, Steve joined Image Engine at the start of 2009.

Since beginning his career in Visual Effects in 1995, Steve has worked for some of the UK’s leading studios, with credits including 28 Days Later, The Dark, Lara Croft: Tomb Raider and Mission Impossible 1 & 2 for Cinesite and Clear (now Prime Focus).

His most recent UK post at Double Negative, which saw him garner credits for high profile productions including The Da Vinci Code, Hot Fuzz and The Reaping, culminated in his leading their largest production Hellboy 2: The Golden Army as Senior Visual Effects Producer.

Steve is also proud to have put his name to award winning commercials & music videos including BBC Talking Heads, and Queens of the Stone Age: Go with the Flow, and cutting edge television productions.
Steve has had the pleasure of working with distinguished directors such as Guillermo Del Toro, Edgar Wright, Danny Boyle and Ron Howard and his client-relations are highly regarded.

Since joining Image Engine, Steve has been able to help the company add to its rocketing reputation by securing projects from Dark Castle, Warner Bros and Universal, which have recently included The Thing and Safe House.

Steve Garrad IMDb

Additional Panelists

Andrew KaufmanResearch & Development

Andrew is a member of the Research & Development team at Image Engine, specializing in Rigging and FX.

He got his start at Image Engine in fall of 2008, developing rendering tools for Look Development and Lighting on District 9. He shifted his focus towards FX for The Twilight Saga: Eclipse, where he developed the simulation aspects of Image Engine’s proprietary fur system.

Andrew expanded his expertise when he developed a modular rigging framework along with several tools for modeling and animating muscles on The Thing. He also took charge of integrating SideFx Houdini into the Image Engine pipeline, which was crucial to many of the creature effects on The Thing.

Much of this integration is incorporated in the open source project, Cortex-VFX, to which Andrew is an owner and active contributor. He has recently expanded further into compositing, and has begun development of a deep compositing pipeline for Image Engine’s upcoming projects.

Andrew holds a B.Sc. in Computer Science and Animate Arts from Northwestern University as well as an M.Sc. in Computer Science from The University of British Columbia. His master’s thesis, “Interactive Tools for Biomechanical Modeling and Realistic Animation” resulted in two scientific publications; “Musculotendon Simulation for Hand Animation” in SIGGRAPH 2008 and “Dynamic Shoulder Simulation using Musculoskeletal Strands” in ISG 2008: Shoulder biomechanics in medicine, ergonomics, and sport. In 2006, Andrew’s experiments with space-time volumes were exhibited in Chicago at a show for emerging New Media Artists.

Marco Menco

Marco is a senior 3D modeler and creature artist at Image Engine.

His experience includes 3D modeling and concept design for film and rapid prototyping; he has also been working as independent illustrator and traditional sculptor of scenographies for theater.

Facial expressions and edge flow for high performance geometries are his fields of interest and expertise.

Marco modeled and sculpted most of the complex creatures for The Thing. He also created libraries of facial expressions and contributed to the development of animated displacement maps for facial details for Image Engine pipeline.

He is currently working on R.I.P.D. (Universal Pictures, 2013).

Bernhard Kimbacher – Lead Compositor

Production Management Team unable to attend

Vera Zivny  – Visual Effects Producer

VES Nominee 8th Annual Awards 2010

Since joining Image Engine in 2006, Vera has contributed to Image Engine’s largest productions to date, and was a proud nominee at the 8th Annual VES Awards for her work as Senior VFX Coordinator for Animation on District 9.

Vera started her career at Mainframe Entertainment in 2000, where she worked her way from Production Scheduler, Animation Coordinator and then Assistant Director for a range of TV and DVD properties. She took on the role of Production Manager in 2004, with responsibility for clients including DIC Entertainment and Mattel.

Vera came to Image Engine to work on the award winning Stargate Atlantis series, and made her move into the growing film division to take on her first feature film production Lost Boys 2: The Tribe in 2008.

Since then, as well as providing invaluable support to District 9, she has successfully managed Law Abiding Citizen, The Twilight Saga: Eclipse and Image Engine’s largest production to date: The Thing in her role as Visual Effects Producer.

 Vera Zivny IMDb

 Lyndon Barrois – Animation Supervisor

A native New Orleanian and MFA graduate from California Institute of the Arts, Lyndon’s journey has taken him around the globe from Los Angeles to Sydney, Australia and currently Vancouver, BC, where he is the Animation Supervisor at Image Engine.

His well-rounded animation expertise began with the traditional art of stop motion animation; and the three short films made whilst at CalArts utilizing his gum wrapper creations have been exhibited around the world, including the Museum of Modern Art, New York & The Superbowl, New Orleans.

He secured his first industry job with Rhythm & Hues studios and has worked at a number of digital houses since, including Digital Domain, Esc Entertainment and Prime Focus.

Lyndon’s film experience spans a variety of genres with live action and fully animated features, including “The Matrix” sequels, “Happy Feet”, “Alvin and the Chipmunks”, “The Tree of Life”, “Sucker Punch”; and most recently “The Thing” at Image Engine.

He has contributed to many education and outreach programs over the years, including guest-lecturing at the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and sciences in stop-motion and CG character animation, the Black Hollywood Educational Resource Center; and in his role as Visual Effects Society animation co-captain and contributing writer to the 2010 VES Handbook.

Lyndon is currently leading the animation crew on R.I.P.D. (Universal Pictures).

Lyndon Barrois IMDb

 Jesper Kjolsrud – Visual Effects Supervisor

Since joining Image Engine in 2009, Jesper has played a crucial role in some of the company’s largest and most challenging projects to date.

Bringing over 15 years of expertise in visual effects and an impressive roster of feature film credits, Jesper also bears the distinction of being the first Image Engine employee to have his name appear on the title card of a feature film, as the production Visual Effects Supervisor for The Thing.

Jesper started his career at Bild för Bild in Sweden and the Moving Picture Company in the UK, and went on to become a member of the primary team responsible for setting up Double Negative Visual Effects in the UK. He remained on board for the next 10 years, taking on a variety of roles including On-set Supervisor and Visual Effects Supervisor, and accumulated credits including The Da Vinci Code, Enemy at the Gates, The Chronicles of Riddick and 10,000 BC.

Jesper’s strengths in client relations, creative direction and managing large teams have been crucial to films including District 9 and The Losers, and he has recently overseen the output of around 550 shots on The Thing.

Jesper is committed to passing on his experience to the next generation of visual effects students, and his contributions have included a Master Class in Digital Matte Painting for MA students at Bournemouth University, UK, alongside presentations at many other festivals and schools.

Jesper Kjolsrud IMDb