Global Head of Animation
Tell me a little about your background in VFX?
I graduated from Bournemouth University in 2005 with a master’s in computer animation. At the time it was one of the few places where you could do computer animation in the UK, and I was lucky enough to get a job straight after at MPC. My first job was animating on crowd agents for their new crowd system, Alice, on the movie Troy. Following that, I worked on various films including Harry Potter, Tomb Raider, and The Chronicles of Narnia movies, among others. I also worked as a concept artist in the art department for Wrath of the Titans and various other pitches. After ten years I decided to have a change and did short a short stint at DNEG working on Hercules. At the time I heard that ILM was starting a VFX facility in London and was desperate to get on board. I knew a couple of the key people there and they helped to recommend me to the head of animation at the time, who was building the animation team. There were only 11 of us in total at the company to start with and there was a great vibe. During my time there I worked on some great franchises such as Star Wars, Avengers, Transformers, Jurassic Park, and James Bond. It was incredible to work with industry legends on some of the biggest movie franchises. I returned to MPC in 2021 after the pandemic as Associate Head of Department and then heard that Ghost VFX was growing its studio in London and again wanted to be part of a team building something big for the future.
In your own words how would you describe what you do at Ghost VFX?
As an Animation Supervisor I ensure that the animation is of a high quality and fulfills the vision of the client. I try to inspire and manage the team to produce the best work that we can. Ultimately, we want to produce something that we’re all proud of when we see it on the big screen. At Ghost VFX, I’m also part of trying to create a team and department that will be a force in the industry.
What part of the job are you most passionate about?
That’s changed over the years. As an animator, it was about creating the coolest animation that I could for any shot and as a supervisor it was to inspire a team to collaborate and create a great result for the sequence or project. Now, it’s very much about building a great department and doing great VFX work.
Is there a particular project that you’re proud of that you worked on in your career that you can discuss? If so, what was the project and what was the work you contributed?
There are many, but both Avengers movies were great to be a part of. I really enjoyed animating the Hulk, which I was nominated for an Annie award for.
On Rogue One: A Star Wars Story I got to animate a couple of shots with the AT-ST, which was very cool. For that, Return of the Jedi was obviously the main visual reference. We wanted to capture the AT-ST that audiences were familiar with and matched it as closely as we could. We didn’t use any practical effects elements, but we very much tried to match the stop-motion version while slightly updating its movements to make it feel grounded in the real world.
Any advice to others looking to break into VFX?
Nothing is going to trump hard work and passion for getting you into the industry. Keep learning all the time. as there’s always something to improve on and hopefully, you’ll get to a level where you’ll get noticed and hired!
Where do you see the VFX industry headed in the next 5 years? What excites you about the future?
AI is improving at a rapid rate and a lot of that technology looks very useful for helping with certain tasks in visual effects. It will be exciting to see how AI will ultimately be used in our industry.