Between 1995 and 2012 I worked at PDI DreamWorks as Character Technical Director Supervisor.
After working as Technical Director on various commercials, The Simpsons 3D and Marvin the Martians in 3D, in 1996 I started working on PDI’s first feature film, ANTZ.
Aside from rigging many of the characters, I was one the 3 developers that designed and implemented the crowd system/simulator used in the movie.
I was granted a US Patent for a new technique used to efficiently render many thousand digital ants.
I was co-Rigging Supervisor for the Digital Characters on Shrek that received the Academy Awards Oscar in 2002 as Best Animated feature film.
I also worked on the development of different technologies used in the proprietary character rigging (face system, muscles, clothing, wrinkles, crowds).
In the early 2000s I started working on the design and development of new innovative rigging technologies that will be used in all the feature films at DreamWorks. A very small group of us designed and developed a node based rigging system that allowed us to create fast and scalable character rigs to be used in our proprietary animation system. We first introduced our new rig in one character of Madagascar 2, showing that the new rig was much faster but absolutely backward compatible with the previous scripted generation.
I was also one of the developers and contributors to a new technique to create art directed wrinkles on skin and clothing.
After 17 years at PDI/DreamWorks I have credits in over a dozen feature films and a Patent for a novel approach to animating and rendering CG crowds.
The early days
I started creating digital images in 1984, with a Sinclair Spectrum.
I always mixed the artistic and technical sides when it comes to computer graphic.
I was fascinated by the ability to create your own tools to extend what possible.
From the Spectrum, the Commodore 64, the MSX, the Amiga, my first Mac, all the way to my first serious computer in 1986, an IBM 286 loaded with a Targa card and the early 2D and 3D software (Tips, Lumena, Cubicomp). They were the years of flying logos, medical slides, simple character animation and some early coding in Basic.
In 1989 the big jump on the Silicon Graphics, and more powerful software such as Vertigo, TDI and Softimage.
Softimage gave me the opportunity to travel the world, demoing the software for high-end customers and helping them with their productions while working with the R&D team to create custom solutions.
I was also part of the Ray Rebels group, a team of artist and developers that, within the office of Softimage Italia, created plugins and custom solutions for high end production customers.
This globetrotter experience in the early ’90s allowed me to connect with many CG production houses in California until I finally decided to cross the ocean in 1995 and join PDI.