I attended ﬁlm school at the London College of Printing, United Kingdom. After completing the course I joined one of the ﬁrst three companies to enter the 3D computer graphics industry during 1983, Computer FX, based in central London.
Starting as a data constructor on an early IMI 500 vector cad system, I spent nine years with this company learning the trade and working on numerous commercials, corporate videos and television i-dents. During this time I had experience with various emergent 3D technologies culminating with the company’s adoption of Silicon Graphics workstations running SideEffects Prisms 3D software, which became the company’s mainstay during its latter years.
After a major recession in the industry I set up my own one man company in 1992 called ‘Deimos Designs’. The main contract for this company was working on a cartoon animated Sci-Fi show called ‘GFI’ for Gerry Anderson of ‘Thunderbirds’ fame. The work involved animating and producing computer rendered line drawings of space craft for cel painting.
During the year working on GFI, I had the opportunity to move my base of operations from my home, to a small office at The Magic Camera Company, based at Shepperton Film Studios in the UK. This early relationship as well as my long term experience in the CG industry led to me being approached in 1993 by the owners of Magic Camera to set up their Digital Effects facility. With a remit that included the long term goal of being able to handle ﬁlm resolution work as well as that of television, my department initially consisted of two Silicon Graphics Indigo workstations running Matador paint and animation software and Wavefront 3D.
Having worked on fourteen feature ﬁlms, culminating in the 3D supervision of the four minute opening to the movie ‘Lost in Space’, I left The Magic Camera Company in July of 1998 just prior to their acquisition by the now defunct Mill Film. I left behind a department of twenty people spread across both compositing with Quantel Domino and Avid Media Illusion to 3D computer graphics using Wavefront, 3DS Max and Lightwave.
From August 1998 to September 1999 I was Head of Digital Production at Pepper’s Ghost Productions in Kingston-Upon-Thames UK. During this year I developed a production pipeline allowing the efficient throughput of 3D character animation for television series using 3D Studio Max and Character Studio, combined with Vicon optical full body motion capture and facial capture as well as traditional hand animation techniques. The production department produced an extensive system test as well as delivering two pilots for television. The last program I produced at Pepper’s Ghost was the seven minute pilot for the TV series ‘Tiny Planets’, this pilot was responsible for the successful sale of the show in conjunction with Children’s Television Workshop.
I left Pepper’s Ghost in September 1999 becoming a freelance Visual/Digital Effects Supervisor and Technical Director. My ﬁrst job was for Anderson Entertainment acting as Technical Director and CG Supervisor for the technology trailer produced at Moving Picture Company of an all digital version of ‘Captain Scarlet’. This four minute trailer was made for Carlton International and became the pre-cursor to the TV series which was produced a number of years later.
From March 2000 until September of that year, I worked at Peerless Camera Company acting as a CG Supervisor for the company’s visual effects contribution to the ﬁlm ‘Vertical Limit’, specialising in complex high speed particle interactions for the snow effects.
In November of 2000 I started work on my ﬁrst ﬁlm as a full Visual Effects Supervisor for the renowned German ﬁlm Director Werner Herzog. Producing over six minutes of feature ﬁlm composites and visual effects with a small but talented crew over a period of six months.
From July of 2001 to June 2002. I spent a year at Artem Digital Ltd as Head of 3D with a remit to develop and support speciﬁc character animation tasks driven by the motion capture side of the facility.
July 2002 - March 2007. I established a company called No Strings Attached Ltd with a business partner. This company executed a range of digital post production work for feature ﬁlm and television over ﬁve years for a range of clients including HBO, BBC Television, Channel 4, National Geographic Channel, Frankfurt Motor Show, as well as work on ﬁlms such as ‘Invincible’, ‘The Life and Death of Peter Sellers’ and ‘Sahara’.
April 2007 - November 2009. In April 2007 No Strings Attached Ltd was disbanded as a post-production facility and I returned to working as a freelance VFX/Digital Supervisor as well as production management, offering a range of services from digital post production work for feature ﬁlm and television, visual effects and digital effects supervision, both on set and in post as well as large scale CG production, including pipeline design, execution, budgeting and scheduling. During this time I worked on a number of commercial and corporate television projects as well as spending three months shooting in Romania as Associate Visual Effects Supervisor on the feature film ‘Bunraku’. I designed and taught a course at post-graduate level at the London Film Academy on digital film visual effects techniques for a number of years. A significant part of my work during this period was co-developing a technology pipeline for stereo 3D conversion of 2D film and television content for stereo specialist Farblue Images. This work was executed under a strict NDA but the development work has left me with a thorough understanding of stereo workflow issues both in camera and in post-production.
November 2009 – April 2011. In November of 2009 I joined Darkside Animation Films Ltd as Head of Visual Effects & Film a post which I currently hold. During this time I worked on a range of projects for the company but notably acted as visual effects supervisor on the children’s series ‘Mission 2110’ for BBC Scotland as well as performing the same role on ‘Outcasts’ the major science fiction series produced for the BBC by Kudos Film & Television. This latter project also involved on location VFX supervision in South Africa for over four months during principal photography.
April 2011 – Present Day. In April 2011 I returned to being a freelance Visual Effect Supervisor and Consultant and have been working on a number of projects including series 10 of ‘Spooks’, ‘Cloned’ a game show pilot for the BBC, the ‘Gospel of Us’ for Dave McKean, ‘Bloody Tales of Europe’ for True North and the National Geographic Channel as well as Dave McKean’s second feature film ‘Luna’.
Feel free to get in touch if you have a project you would like to talk about.
At this present time I no longer offer direct training courses but I have experience in teaching at the post-graduate level I have taught at the 'London Film Academy' where I was Senior Lecturer in Digital Visual Effects. In association with Dave Barnard I designed a training programme in digital visual effects techniques. This course was first run in September 2007 and covered a range of subjects including HDR Imaging & Lighting, Digital Environments and Pre-visualisation among others.
At this present time we are currently developing an online training portal to teach VFX 101 material and hope to develop this over the coming years into a small commercial enterprise. However considering the volume of training material and types available online at present we are still evaluating the best approach to doing this.