CG Masters is a collaboration of hard-core, professional artists and TDs dedicated to raising the aesthetic and technical standards of Computer Generated Imagery. We are also dedicated teachers. We understand that one of the best ways to improve our skills is to teach others.
We believe software politics is for chumps. All software is welcome here. Every CG Master has used many different tools and knows that great inspiration can come from watching other artists work with unfamiliar software. We also know that stepping out of the comfort zone of one software package is a great road to personal growth.
Here is our current list of CG Masters:
Michael is a 3d generalist, entrepreneur and contract artist for several studios in Vancouver, British Columbia. His roles frequently jump from Lead Animator, to Lead Modeler, to head rigger, to Technical Director and back again. He teaches a weekly class on digital Sculpting in Mudbox and Zbrush. He also heads up the concept art and modeling division of Protodemon Creative Inc., a 3d asset studio specializing in creature production and toy prototyping. Michael is a huge fan of learning and developing techniques.
Nicholas is an avid sport pilot. Aside from this, he has spent the last 13 years seeking to understand and express light and textures in the simplest possible way, mainly to make up for the unbelievably convoluted tools that software engineers create for artists. His credits include 26 movies 23 commercials and four Television series. Nicholas currently works as a Visual Effects Supervisor in Vancouver and resides with his faimily in Deep Cove, BC. He deliberately left his bio short to try and make up for Bowmar and Lewkiw
Peter Bowmar is a native Vancouverite and currently Head of 3D and Technology at CIS Vancouver.
As a lad, Peter and his Dad and/or friends made stop motion Super 8 films, usually involving Lego, explosions and blood, not always in the same film. At the age of 10, Star Wars altered his life forever. This led to spaceships being added to the aforementioned Super 8 films, and lots of TIE fighters scribbled on notebooks.
Cable TV volunteering led to a professional night cameraman role for Kelowna station CHBC, which taught him a deep and scarring fear of mistakes, as those made on live TV are seen by hundreds of thousands. Working on film sets in the late 80s and during his Ryerson Film degree days convinced him that he hated being on set. Fortunately the transition to digital effects conveniently happened to save him. An Amiga, Imagine and a Video Toaster launched him into freelance FX work in Toronto.
His career took an unexpected turn when he went to Singapore to help set up the first film and animation school in that country. Being given $5 million to spend presented the chance to learn and teach all major high-end software packages, and Softimage 3D became the next package after obsessing on LightWave. During this time, he tried to learn Prisms (the predecessor to Houdini) but quickly gave up when he was introduced to an Alpha .8 version of Houdini.
He left Singapore for Side Effects Software’s Los Angeles office, where he spent many years documenting, supporting and developing training for Houdini. He found occasional time to do some freelance work on shows such as The Cell, Master of Disguise and Minority Report. Peter then worked at Rhythm and Hues on such projects as Flight of the Phoenix, Electra, and Superman Returns. After his US work visa ran out, he and his family moved to England, where he spent a year completing his Masters degree in Animation at Bournemouth University.
Another production stint followed, this time at Framestore-CFC in London, where he worked on the Academy Award winning “Golden Compass” as well as “Prince Caspian” and “Wanted.” While he and his wife both loved living in London, the opportunity to return home to Vancouver proved too tempting, and he returned in 2008.
Chad Fox was accidentally introduced to the world of 3D when he was 15 and hasn’t looked back since. Now, 11 years later, Chad is a Lead 3D modeler, technical director, freelance contractor and instructor in Vancouver B.C.. His most recent work can be seen in Feature films such as Twilight, District 9, The Losers, The Thing and … well he can’t tell you about this one just yet. Chad also teaches a weekly introduction to 3D class and mentors visual effects students. As a passionate teacher, he wishes there were more time in a week to help students and teach different subjects. Thanks to sites like cg-masters.com, he can fulfill his wish.When he’s away from his workstation you will usually find him exploring with his family or snowboarding in the trees of the local mountains.
Peter has been the lead tracking artist at CIS Vancouver since 2005. He has worked on numerous films requiring many different tracking techniques and utilizing a number of tracking software packages. His work ranges from facial mo-cap, camera tracking and head replacement on Blades of Glory to doing laser surveys of soccer stadiums and airplanes on Invictus. Some of his other projects include Tropic Thunder, Changeling, Angels and Demons, Aliens in the Attic and Marmaduke.
Peter “Phunt” Hunt is a hardcore lighting technical director, with a strong compositing foundation. Still not sure if he wants to be an artist or engineer when he grows up (a childhood of Lego’s will do that to you), he works either in look development, creating artist pipelines or on the vague assignment “make this shot look pretty.” While working in film, television and commercials certainly keeps him busy, he also loves writing bios in the third person.
Sean Lewkiw has been kicking around the visual effects industry for over fifteen years, and shows no signs of moving on yet. He began with a short course at Vancouver Film School in 1995, where his teacher was heard to remark, “I see you’ve you’ve abandoned all known convention here,” and Sean construed this as a compliment.
Having sprung fully-formed from VFS, he foisted himself on an unsuspecting Japanese company, Satellight Inc., in Sapporo Japan, where he guzzled free tea for two years and worked on various baffling Japanese animes, films and commercials. It was at this point he was also introduced to SideEffects Software in the form of Prisms, the precursor to Houdini. Armed only with the Japanese language version of the documentation and almost no understanding of CG fundamentals, he nevertheless mastered the Japanese art of looking like you know what you’re doing. Sean likens using Prisms to flying a jet plane where all the buttons and knobs have been blown out of a shotgun in random order onto the dash board, then labeled with Turkish acronyms.
Shortly after, he was introduced to Houdini 0.9 in its pre-alpha form, a software so primitive it responded only to violence, but even then harbored a grudge.
Sean left Satellight in 1999 to join Monster By Mistake in Toronto, where he was mysteriously hired as a Senior Technical Director. After looking up the term “technical director” on the recently-released interweb, he took the job as he realized no one else knew what it meant either.
From there he maintained his stubborn loyalty to Side Effects, moving on to Weta in New Zealand to work on the first and second LOTR films, where he contributed to the Balrog sequence among others. He then moved to London UK to join Jim Henson’s Creature Shop, where he worked on Tomb Raider II, then went on to do VFX supervision on Mishi the Water Giant and Five Children and It, films which no one but their creators have actually seen. When Hensons closed, he moved over to Framestore CFC, where he contributed to films including Xmen III and Superman Returns. He then jumped to the fledgling CIS London, where he worked as co-head of 3d, and helped build the production pipeline while working many projects including Golden Compass.
Finally, in 2008, Sean moved back to Vancouver, joining CIS Vancouver as a Digital Effects Supervisor to help out on the film Invictus and helping dream up incomprehensible names for pipeline tools. He remains there. Watching. Waiting. Eating donuts.
Andrew’s CG experience includes Houdini film effects at studios such as Rhythm and Hues, Ring of Fire, CIS Vancouver, Animal Logic, and currently Digital Domain. Andrew’s teaching credentials include teaching college classes in 3d graphics for several years and currently teaches classes for Sidefx, FXPHD, and now CG Masters. He is also the author of a book on music and animation with Houdini. Andrew’s personal interests deal with the interaction of visual and sonic perception. Houdini is his primary application because of it’s audio features and unique abilities with visual effects.
Abel Milanés is a Compositing Supervisor at CIS-Vancouver (formerly Rainmaker Visual Effects). With a diploma in Fine Arts, he has been working in the visual effects industry for the past ten years. During that time has been nominated for several VFX related awards including the Gemini and Leo Awards. In 2009 he won the VES Award for Outstanding Matte Painting in a Feature Motion Picture for Changeling from director Clint Eastwood. Some of his feature film work includes Invictus, Changeling, G.I.Joe Rise of the Cobra, Night at the Museum, Tropic Thunder and Aliens in the Attic among others. Abel is currently an active member of the Visual Effects Society.
Mark Pullyblank was born on his birthday, on the dusty flatlands of Alberta, the fourth and final son of a farmer and his lovely bride. Having little use for farm life, he retreated to his bedroom in his family’s double wide mobile home where he pretended he could draw, sing, dance, and fight. Shortly after high school, he began playing guitars and other such things and embarked on a music career that took him from his double wide mobile home and into a 1979 Chev Van. It was around this time that he met his own lovely bride and decided to move from the 1979 Chev Van into the animation industry. Since then, Mark has worked on a number of films, television shows, and commercials first at Rainmaker Effects, then Frantic Films, and most recently Weta Digital. He spends his leisure time playing with his two babies and his wife, when she lets him.
Talon can often be seen sporting a furious moustache, and either working on or playing videogames. At the ripe old age of 6 his family got their first computer, which he then promptly started playing games on. Around the age of 16 he picked up a book and started teaching himself 3D studio max. Since starting on 3D max 3.5 the passion for CG and games hasn’t stopped. He has made numerous modifications to many different games including entirely new characters, game levels and even a flying cardboard box that shoots rockets and machine guns, all of this before going to school to learn 3D. After attending school Talon went on to work for a few different companies as a 3D modeler and now works at Protodemon as their head of prototyping as well as a generalist CG artist. Talon is constantly brewing up new game ideas and has started developing a couple of them with some key partners. He also teaches a weekly class on the Unity game engine