VFX/Animation News & Developments For March 2019
  • Friday, Mar. 29, 2019
DNEG ensemble accepts VFX Oscars for "First Man"

Global VFX, animation and stereo conversion company DNEG was recognized for the second consecutive year at the 91st Academy Awards--this time for its work on director Damien Chazelle’s First Man for Universal.

DNEG’s VFX supervisor Paul Lambert and DFX supervisor Tristan Myles were on-hand to accept the Best Visual Effects Oscar for their in-camera FX work on First Man, alongside miniature effects supervisor Ian Hunter and special effects supervisor J.D. Schwalm.

This is the fifth Academy Award win for DNEG, and the fourth in the last five years. DNEG had previously been recognized for its work on Blade Runner 2049, Ex Machina, Interstellar and Inception.

As the lead VFX partner on First Man, DNEG delivered around 430 VFX shots under the supervision of overall VFX supervisor Lambert, who oversaw all the on-set VFX work as well as the VFX process in postproduction.

The team used a unique blend of cutting-edge in-camera techniques, special effects, scale models, and never-before-seen footage from NASA’s archives to enable director Chazelle to realize his creative vision for this biopic about legendary astronaut Neil Armstrong.

One of the VFX team’s biggest challenges was to create the most realistic and immersive in-camera FX, utilizing the biggest LED screen ever built on a movie set.

MPC NY has named David Piombino as its deputy head of 2D, with Thiago Porto, Dan Fine and Santosh Gunaseelan taking senior creative positions.

Piombino will be leading the burgeoning 2D team at MPC’s NY studio, which has previously worked on a string of high-profile commercials including Tiffany’s prestigious holiday campaign and a Louis Vuitton campaign starring Emma Stone. Piombino, who has 20 years of experience in feature films, television and commercials, has led high-profile features such as Beauty and the Beast, Netflix film Triple Frontier and television series including Mr. Robot and The Defenders, and has worked with global brands such as BMW, Google, Apple and Disney.

Porto, who joins MPC from Brazil, has worked across the globe as a VFX compositor and sr. Flame/Nuke artist on campaigns for Nike, Pepsi, Honda, FIFA and the award-winning Ciclope festival opening titles. He now brings his expertise and his varied film and commercial background to the studio as a VFX supervisor.

MPC also welcomes Dan Fine as a CG Lead. Fine has worked in the commercial and film industry for over 12 years and previously worked at animation house Hornet as lead 3D artist. He has led jobs for global brands such as Facebook, McDonald’s and ESPN, and after freelancing at some of the most prominent VFX studios in New York, he now he joins MPC as a permanent member of their CG team.

Gunaseelan, who joins as sr. FX/CG supervisor, will be working with the team in the NY office and gaining experience with the company before joining MPC’s Bangalore studio as a creative director, bolstering the studio’s growing creative offering even further there. Gunaseelan has an extensive background in roles ranging from VFX supervisor to technical director and has mentored over 200 students in the digital content field across some of the hallmark colleges in New York.

Creative VFX boutique Artjail has added Ross Denner as head of 3D, working out of its Chinatown, NYC studio. Denner is an award-winning VFX supervisor with over a decade of experience in visual effects. In his new role, he will be maintaining creative oversight over the 3D department as well as overseeing scheduling, workflow and technological needs of the 3D team. He arrives at Artjail from EightVFX’s Los Angeles studio, where he lent his talents to a wide range of commercials, music videos and feature films, including Darren Aronofsky’s Mother!, Melanie Martinez’s “Mad Hatter” music video and a spot for “NBA 2K19” featuring Lebron James. 

Denner began his VFX career as a 3D artist at The Mill’s London headquarters. Later, he moved to MPC, where he spent a decade working across the studio’s London, Los Angeles, NYC, Vancouver and Mexico offices. He was instrumental in establishing the studio’s L.A. office and restructuring its film pipeline for a commercial environment. 

Throughout his career, Denner has collaborated with top directors and VFX artists, including Robert Stromberg, Rupert Sanders and John Dykstra. In the advertising space, Denner has worked on a dynamic range of campaigns for such brands as Target, Xbox, Evian, EA, DirecTV, Volvo, Sony and Apple as well as the Super Bowl spot “Little Blue Pill” for Fiat, and the Cannes and Clio award-winning spot, “What Lives Inside,” starring Oscar winner J.K. Simmons, for Intel’s ‘Inside Films’ series. Denner’s work has garnered numerous industry accolades, including honors from Cannes Lions, Clios, AICP, Effie, Webby, D&AD, LIA and VES Awards.

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