Aggies and their Hollywood work


Thursday, May 25th 2000, 12:00 am
By: News On 6


Students at Texas A&M’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 film’s characters. He says his A&M education prepared him well for his job as a technical director. "We’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. "It’s the longest I’ve worked on anything." He also modeled an arc for a scene in Disney’s upcoming Fantasia 2000.

A sampling of other films Aggies have worked on: Oscar-winning shorts Bunny and Geri’s Game, Fight Club, Joe’s Apartment, Jumangi, Mars Attacks!, Deep Blue Sea, The Cable Guy, Space Jam.