Event - The Crossover Between Animation and Visual Effects (L.A.)

Saturday, 21 May 2011 - 10:30am - 1:00pm

On Saturday, May 21st, at Sony Imageworks, the VES presented in conjunction with ASIFA-Hollywood and the PGA, a panel discussion on the crossover between visual effects and animation. Panelists from both disciplines participated in an engaging 2-hour presentation of their recent work and an insightful dialogue on the similarities and differences between working in both fields. It was a well-attended event that provided a unique opportunity to hear from key industry experts from Pixar, DreamWorks, Rhythm & Hues, and Sony Imageworks including:

Michael Kaschalk (Disney) - Effects Lead, Bolt, & Effects Supervisor, Tangled
Markus Kurtz (Rhythm & Hues) - VP Production Technology - CG Hybrid Projects, Hop
Simon Otto (DreamWorks Animation) – Head of Character Animation, How To Train Your Dragon
Betsy Paterson (Rhythm & Hues) – VFX Supervisor -Yogi Bear, Incredible Hulk
David Schaub (Sony) - Animation Supervisor, Green Lantern, Surfs Up
Apurva Shah (Pixar) – Effects Supervisor, Ratatouille, & Supervising Technical Director, Cars 2

Frank Gladstone, VES member (and former VES board member), now President of ASIFIA - LA, moderated the panel discussion with thoughtful questions that seemed to hit all the important issues for the panel and the audience. It was very clear from the discussions and the clips that were shown, that there were far more similarities than differences in the work being done and the artists doing the work. There was consensus that the main difference was more in stylistic choices made by the directors and producers than in the technical processes of making the films.

There were questions concerning how the VES and the AMPAS should look at awards for visual effects in animated films. Chuck Finance, Co-Chair of the VES awards committee, encouraged the panel to submit their recommendations. Bill Taylor, the Academy governor for the visual effects branch, who was also in attendance, commented that Academy did consider the work in animated features as eligible to be nominated for the best visual effects award.

The event was organized by Susan Zwerman – Chair VES Special Projects, Alison Savitch – Chair PGA New Media Council and Frank Gladstone. It was a great way to kick-off our VES animation outreach initiative. Thanks to all the organizers, participants, Don Levy from Sony, and all the VES staff for making it all happen.

Warren Franklin
VES Ad-Hoc Committee on Animation Outreach


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