Lighting Roundtable

If you’re planning to be at Siggraph this afternoon, stop by the lighting roundtable from 1:45 to 3:30pm today in Room 411. I’ll be part of the panel discussing lighting techniques for computer animated films and I’ve gotten permission to show some early production images from Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs. See you there.

Great Failed Ideas in Production

Planning to attend Siggraph next week? I’m organizing an interesting panel to discuss some great ideas that just didn’t work out in production, presented by some of the best in the business:

The stories behind the award-winning pictures that almost didn’t make it to the big screen. It’s often said that we learn more from our failures than our successes, yet we generally only share our success stories in the context of SIGGRAPH. This session gathers respected industry veterans to discuss great ideas that “failed” during the stress of real-world production.

The panelists include

  • John Dykstra (“Star Wars,” “Batman Forever,” “Spiderman”)
  • John Knoll (“Star Wars,” Pirates of the Caribbean”) — Industrial Light & Magic
  • Apurva Shah (“Ratatouille,” “Nemo,” “Toy Story 3”) — Pixar Animation Studios
  • Bill Westenhofer (“Golden Compass,” “Narnia”) — Rhythm & Hues

Official Siggraph listing here.


Pink Floyd released the “Take in Back” music video in 1994. I worked long hours on one shot in the video for two weeks, laying it off to tape only minutes before our producer had to board a red-eye flight to Florida for the editing session the next morning.

12 years later I received this email with this image and the following message:

Hi, I am a life-long fan of Pink Floyd and recently stumbled onto your webpage. I would be most grateful if you could comment on the attached image. It is a stillframe which reveals some embedded imagery. Why that specific symbol?

I seem to get 1 or two of these questions a year from Pink Floyd fans and followers mostly pertaining to the symbols hidden in the video. I enjoy trying to remember the specific ones–“Who was it exactly who asked you to add the symbols to the rocks in the road as they were being ripped up by the tornado?”

I think the director (was his name Mark?) dropped the photos on my desk to be scanned and hidden in the rocks. I’m guessing those photos might be worth something if only I had thought to keep them.

Annie Award Wins

Congratulations to our two Annie award winners for Surf’s Up. Deborah Carlson won the category of “Best Individual Achievement in Animated Effects” for her wave work and John Clark took the award for “Best Animation Production Artist” for his wave animation contributions. Well deserved!

VES Sneak Peek

Tomorrow, Saturday, February 9 from 2-5pm, the Visual Effects Society will offer a sneak peek at some of this year’s nominated work. I’ll be involved in the Surf’s Up presentation.

Come join some of our Nominees as they present their submissions and answer questions. The categories presented include Outstanding Visual Effects in a Broadcast Series, Best Single Visual Effect of the Year, Outstanding Pre-Rendered Visuals in a Video Game and Outstanding Animated Character in an Animated Motion Picture.

This is a free event and I understand it’s open to the public if you’d like to attend. You can download this flyer for more information.