Students at Texas A&Mâ€™s Visualization Laboratory are highly sought by the film industry as special effects technicians. Aggies have contributed to dozens of feature movies and memorable Hollywood characters:
Toy Story 2 - Stephen King (employed by Pixar) created lighting effects throughout Toy Story 2 and painted textures, such as clothing and skin, onto the filmâ€™s characters. He says his A&M education prepared him well for his job as a technical director. "Weâ€™re the link between the director, the art director and what the viewer sees," he said. "The Texas A&M Viz Lab has become known for producing extremely competent, well-rounded technical director types."
Star Wars: Episode I - The Phantom Menace - Tim McLaughlin (employed by Industrial Light and Magic) served as creature developer supervisor and oversaw the team that developed the hyper, computer-generated alien Jar Jar Binks. Thirteen other Aggies worked as animators and technical directors on the film.
Alien Resurrection - Mitch Kopelman (employed by Blue Sky Studios) worked as special effects supervisor. Blue Sky created the first-ever head-to-toe view of one of the menacing aliens.
Dinosaur - Brian Green (employed by Disney) animated two of the beasts: Baylene the brachiosaur and Url the ankylosaur. "We worked for three years on the movie, and a year was before we started production," Mr. Green said. "Itâ€™s the longest Iâ€™ve worked on anything." He also modeled an arc for a scene in Disneyâ€™s upcoming Fantasia 2000.
A sampling of other films Aggies have worked on: Oscar-winning shorts Bunny and Geriâ€™s Game, Fight Club, Joeâ€™s Apartment, Jumangi, Mars Attacks!, Deep Blue Sea, The Cable Guy, Space Jam.