2019

Liza Keith, longtime VES member, digital effects technical director and shader writer specializing in look development, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2019. As a part of the Los Angeles effects community, she will be deeply missed. Liza was a pioneer from the start of her career, earning her B.S. in Math and Computer Science at UCLA at a time when STEM-oriented degree work was still not pursued by many women. Her career tracked with the exciting growth of the computer graphics community in LA and on the planet. Beginning in 1987, she worked in digital effects, contributing to a wide range of films, animated features, large format motion rides and broadcast television projects.... read more
Long-time VES member Danny Gordon Taylor, an animation specialist who earned an Oscar nomination for his efforts on the Hugh Jackman-starring REAL STEEL, has died. He was 69. Taylor died July 10 in his sleep in Lapeer, Michigan, his friend John Ellis told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The cause of death was a heart attack. Taylor worked for Industrial Light... read more
Producer and Visual Effects Supervisor John Swallow has passed away at 65. He was a member of the Society for more than two decades, and will be missed by all who knew him. A straightforward man with a generous spirit and a gift for making friends, John Swallow pursued artistic expression throughout his life, from his work on a wide range of Hollywood films to his bluesy rock 'n' roll music and vivid nature photography. After receiving a bachelor's in Design and Photography from California State University, Long Beach, John worked for Apogee Productions, rising to Vice President of Production. There and elsewhere, he pioneered cutting-edge special effects technologies, leaving Apogee to... read more

2018

Director, Visual Effects and Animation Supervisor Terry Windell passed away on July 21 at the age of 61. He directed many award-winning commercials as well as several episodes of STAR TREK: VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE. While working as a background artist on HEAVY METAL, he was hired by ILM where he worked on POLTERGEIST and E,T,: THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. He met Richard Edlund, VES while at ILM and worked on RETUIRN OF THE JEDI, GHOSTBUSTERS , FRIGHT NIGHT and 2010. When Edlund left to found Boss Films, Windell followed. In 1989, Windell made his directorial debut with an impressive four spot effects-laden campaign for DHL, which garnered numerous honors including a Silver Clio and a New York Film... read more
Dr. Raymond E. Fielding, Dean Emeritus of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts, passed away on Sunday, December 30, 2018. He was 87 years old, and had been a member of the Visual Effects Society for more than 21 years. His career in film education spanned 45 years at five different universities, including serving as a member of the founding faculties at three different major Schools of Film/Communication. In 1990 he was appointed as the first permanent Dean of the FSU Film School. He served in that position for 13 years until his retirement in 2003, when he was appointed Dean Emeritus. Under his leadership the FSU Film School became a national leader in film... read more
Veteran VES member, Emmy winner and co-founder of fxguide, Jeff Heusser, passed away in July. He was a caring husband, brother, uncle and friend to many. To the very end, Jeff was funny, kind, and caring for and about others more than himself. We celebrate his life, his selflessness, and the impact he had on all of us who knew him and those who he touched all around the world. Jeff started in the industry at public television station WCET in Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked in almost every production job before moving up to producing and directing. His next stop was WLWT where he directed the news and other live and taped shows. He also won several Emmys for his work there. He then got into... read more
VES member Thilo Ewers (1981-2018), colleague, friend, husband and father of three was taken away from his loved ones and the work he loved way too early.  Known for his work on LIVE BY NIGHT, FAST... read more
Academy Award-nominated art director, production illustrator and visual effects artist George Jenson died on May 25 at the age of 87. He was the production illustrator on RETURN OF THE JEDI, and received an Oscar nomination for visual effects for his work on 2010. Jenson began his film career in 1964 as a production illustrator/storyboard artist at 20th Century Fox Studios, working for producer Irwin Allen’s series LOST IN SPACE, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, TIME TUNNEL and LAND OF THE GIANTS. He moved to Filmation Associates as a layout artist and illustrator on the animated TV series STAR TREK, MISSION MAGIC, LASSIE'S RESCUE RANGERS and MY FAVORITE MARTIAN from 1972 to '75. Jenson... read more
Virgil Mirano, a VES member for more than 20 years, passed away in January of 2018. From the mid-1970's through the 1990's, Virgil manned the stills photo lab of three of the large VFX houses in L.A. - first with Robert Abel... read more
Arnold Kunert was a long-time VES member and a remarkable human being, a dedicated fan, film historian and cinematic biographer of Ray Harryhausen, the single greatest stop motion animation genius in film history. Arnold campaigned for his friend and associate to receive an honorary Academy Award in 1992 as well as his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003. He produced the Saturn Award-winning documentary RAY HARRYHAUSEN: THE EARLY YEARS as well as DAWS BUTLER: VOICE MAGICIAN and BUDD BOETTICHER: ONE ON ONE as well as the “Ray Harryhausen Presents” animated short THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM.  Arnold passed away on March 14th. His artistry, friendship, and affection for the genre that we... read more

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2019

Liza Keith, longtime VES member, digital effects technical director and shader writer specializing in look development, passed away peacefully on February 16, 2019. As a part of the Los Angeles effects community, she will be deeply missed. Liza was a pioneer from the start of her career, earning her B.S. in Math and Computer Science at UCLA at a time when STEM-oriented degree work was still not pursued by many women. Her career tracked with the exciting growth of the computer graphics community in LA and on the planet. Beginning in 1987, she worked in digital effects, contributing to a wide range of films, animated features, large format motion rides and broadcast television projects.... read more
Long-time VES member Danny Gordon Taylor, an animation specialist who earned an Oscar nomination for his efforts on the Hugh Jackman-starring REAL STEEL, has died. He was 69. Taylor died July 10 in his sleep in Lapeer, Michigan, his friend John Ellis told THE HOLLYWOOD REPORTER. The cause of death was a heart attack. Taylor worked for Industrial Light... read more
Producer and Visual Effects Supervisor John Swallow has passed away at 65. He was a member of the Society for more than two decades, and will be missed by all who knew him. A straightforward man with a generous spirit and a gift for making friends, John Swallow pursued artistic expression throughout his life, from his work on a wide range of Hollywood films to his bluesy rock 'n' roll music and vivid nature photography. After receiving a bachelor's in Design and Photography from California State University, Long Beach, John worked for Apogee Productions, rising to Vice President of Production. There and elsewhere, he pioneered cutting-edge special effects technologies, leaving Apogee to... read more

2018

Director, Visual Effects and Animation Supervisor Terry Windell passed away on July 21 at the age of 61. He directed many award-winning commercials as well as several episodes of STAR TREK: VOYAGER and ENTERPRISE. While working as a background artist on HEAVY METAL, he was hired by ILM where he worked on POLTERGEIST and E,T,: THE EXTRATERRESTRIAL. He met Richard Edlund, VES while at ILM and worked on RETUIRN OF THE JEDI, GHOSTBUSTERS , FRIGHT NIGHT and 2010. When Edlund left to found Boss Films, Windell followed. In 1989, Windell made his directorial debut with an impressive four spot effects-laden campaign for DHL, which garnered numerous honors including a Silver Clio and a New York Film... read more
Dr. Raymond E. Fielding, Dean Emeritus of the Florida State University College of Motion Picture Arts, passed away on Sunday, December 30, 2018. He was 87 years old, and had been a member of the Visual Effects Society for more than 21 years. His career in film education spanned 45 years at five different universities, including serving as a member of the founding faculties at three different major Schools of Film/Communication. In 1990 he was appointed as the first permanent Dean of the FSU Film School. He served in that position for 13 years until his retirement in 2003, when he was appointed Dean Emeritus. Under his leadership the FSU Film School became a national leader in film... read more
Veteran VES member, Emmy winner and co-founder of fxguide, Jeff Heusser, passed away in July. He was a caring husband, brother, uncle and friend to many. To the very end, Jeff was funny, kind, and caring for and about others more than himself. We celebrate his life, his selflessness, and the impact he had on all of us who knew him and those who he touched all around the world. Jeff started in the industry at public television station WCET in Cincinnati, Ohio where he worked in almost every production job before moving up to producing and directing. His next stop was WLWT where he directed the news and other live and taped shows. He also won several Emmys for his work there. He then got into... read more
VES member Thilo Ewers (1981-2018), colleague, friend, husband and father of three was taken away from his loved ones and the work he loved way too early.  Known for his work on LIVE BY NIGHT, FAST... read more
Academy Award-nominated art director, production illustrator and visual effects artist George Jenson died on May 25 at the age of 87. He was the production illustrator on RETURN OF THE JEDI, and received an Oscar nomination for visual effects for his work on 2010. Jenson began his film career in 1964 as a production illustrator/storyboard artist at 20th Century Fox Studios, working for producer Irwin Allen’s series LOST IN SPACE, VOYAGE TO THE BOTTOM OF THE SEA, TIME TUNNEL and LAND OF THE GIANTS. He moved to Filmation Associates as a layout artist and illustrator on the animated TV series STAR TREK, MISSION MAGIC, LASSIE'S RESCUE RANGERS and MY FAVORITE MARTIAN from 1972 to '75. Jenson... read more
Virgil Mirano, a VES member for more than 20 years, passed away in January of 2018. From the mid-1970's through the 1990's, Virgil manned the stills photo lab of three of the large VFX houses in L.A. - first with Robert Abel... read more
Arnold Kunert was a long-time VES member and a remarkable human being, a dedicated fan, film historian and cinematic biographer of Ray Harryhausen, the single greatest stop motion animation genius in film history. Arnold campaigned for his friend and associate to receive an honorary Academy Award in 1992 as well as his star on the Hollywood Walk of Fame in 2003. He produced the Saturn Award-winning documentary RAY HARRYHAUSEN: THE EARLY YEARS as well as DAWS BUTLER: VOICE MAGICIAN and BUDD BOETTICHER: ONE ON ONE as well as the “Ray Harryhausen Presents” animated short THE PIT AND THE PENDULUM.  Arnold passed away on March 14th. His artistry, friendship, and affection for the genre that we... read more

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