My interest in animation began the day I watched Finding Nemo. More specifically, it was when I watched the extra clips on the DVD. I saw artists scuba diving off the coast of Australia gathering reference for the film. They analyzed the ocean’s color far from shore versus how green and murky it became as they approached Sydney. They watched the broken rays of light dance in the water and the patterns formed by the caustic effects. It was then up to someone called the Lighting Artist to translate these visual phenomena onto the screen. I researched this further and discovered it was also the Lighting Artist’s job to help establish mood and push the story along through a series of visual cues.
This blew my mind. I had no idea that such a job existed and immediately decided that I wanted to do it. I had a Bachelor of Fine Arts degree and an overabundance of confidence so I started applying for jobs. It didn’t take long before I realized that I was grossly underqualified for such a position. I made the decision to go to back to school at The Savannah College of Art and Design (SCAD) to pursue my Master of Fine Arts degree in Visual Effects. After school I was slightly more qualified and was lucky enough to land a job at Blue Sky Studios. I am currently working on my 8th film with Blue Sky and the job has simply been a dream come true. The artists I get to work with on a daily basis are incredibly inspirational and I have grown so much as an artist simply being in their presence. Although I still have yet to go scuba diving, this job has been a dream come true.
Spies in Disguise (Coming in 2019)
Ice Age Franchise
My work in animation has not been limited to films. In 2012, I co-founded tdu. tdu is an online school designed to teach students the non-animation disciplines of animated films such as Lighting, Compositing, and FX. The school focuses on honing the student’s artistic eye to help them understand color, composition, design, and creating visually successful images across a wide variety of styles and projects. We currently offer six courses covering different topics and skill levels.
I teach the introductory lighting course called Principles of Lighting and have also helped many students through our tdu mentor program. I am proud to say that I have had the opportunity to teach over 200 students in 23 different countries and I am constantly overwhelmed by their passion, talent, and work ethic.