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.
As a team member or a consultant, she contributed her expertise at many groundbreaking companies including Abel Image Research, Rhythm & Hues, Cinesite (Los Angeles and London), ILM, Digital Domain, Sony Imageworks, Disney Feature Animation and Framestore. Liza was a true Los Angeles native whose projects also took her to London, Paris, India and Canada.
Her technical talent and drive were obvious to all who worked with her. Liza’s contributions were featured in several award-winning films including LIFE OF PI, TRUE LIES, X-MEN 2, and PETER PAN. She counted the iconic TERMINATOR 2: JUDGEMENT DAY among her credits. Her shader writing can be found in HARRY POTTER AND THE PRISONER OF AZKABAN and MEET THE ROBINSONS. Liza’s ability to communicate with both artists and members of technical teams also often made her the ideal person to oversee design and implementation of rendering pipeline between those departments.
Liza was a smart, passionate, pattern breaker well known in the Los Angeles digital effects community. She religiously attended the annual SIGGRAPH Conference. She is remembered as a mentor to the next generation of digital effects experts via her informal “women in digital” meetups. As a RenderMan expert, Liza shared her inspiration, often patiently teaching those with less experience.
As a friend, a colleague, a sister and an aunt, Liza is fondly remembered and will be greatly missed.