Creative production studio Stept Studios and its post division, Lockt Editorial, have added long-time collaborator Ruel Smith to its team of artists as head of animation and visual effects. The Jamaican-born filmmaker brings more than 16 years of experience in VFX and animation to his new role.
As an animator, Smith has extensive expertise with creative works that involve epic CGI worlds, as evidenced in his work with A-list directors such as Ryan Coogler, Jon Favreau, David Fincher, and Clint Eastwood. Smith has worked on blockbuster films including Black Panther, Captain Marvel, Flags of Our Fathers, Riddick, and The Jungle Book; and notable game titles like Disney’s Tron Legacy, Medal Of Honor, Resident Evil 5, Mortal Kombat X, and Gears Of War 4. He’s also directed several short films, with several other upcoming projects currently in development.
Smith was instrumental in bringing Stept’s recent campaign for Riot Games’ League of Legends World Championships to life as co-director and VFX supervisor. The ambitious film promoted the 2020 esports competition, with more than 95% of the project completed in CG and done with everyone physically distancing and working from home.
Smith’s latest work is a powerful animation campaign for Best Buy featuring the stories of six teens from marginalized communities who have big dreams for their futures. The campaign poses the question, what do you want to achieve on the highest level? In response to that query, each story is rendered in a different animation style, reflecting the diversity of their visions, unique individually but collectively functioning as a vivid and inspiring whole. Said Smith, “I’ve been in their shoes. Growing up in Jamaica and wanting to dream big but not having the access or circumstance to the tools I needed to make that future possible. So being a part of this project was especially meaningful to me.”