Project History

An historical log of the various projects I've contributed to.. it's not entirely complete.

VFX Supervisor – Multiple Projects

Milk Vfx • 2016-2017

Was initially brought on to supervise a film project but due to production timetables shifted to setting up the VR services at Milk. Supervised their first few projects and took them through the initial talks with clients and investors on various strategies and solutions for various project types.

The first few projects I looked after were


Tree is a multi sensory project that first showed at the Sundance film festival and then at Tribeca, you take on the perspective of a growing Kapok tree in the rainforest. You start under the ground and grow to a full size adult tree above the canopy as part of the experience, the tree changes through it’s life stages and grows branches and such while the forest surrounds you. The installation features haptic feedback with subwoofer chest plates and platform and there is heat, moisture and forest smell triggers as well giving a full sensory experience.

The project posed some significant challenges with realtime l-system plant growth and a full few minutes of one long continuous smooth morph as the tree grows through various life stages.



Dinosaurs In The Wild

This was a major project for Milk that ran for quite some time, I looked after an installation involving two dinosaur heads that patrons were able to stick their heads inside and look around. This would enable them to see the view that two different type of dinosaur would see as if through their eyes, one being a thescelosaurus and the other a dakotaraptor. You would get to hunt out other dinosaurs or look for predators, that sort of thing.

This work was done with a small team and primarily through the use of pre-rendered footage and the Unity engine. For this job I built some tools for stereo reprojection of mono 360 scene captures and did some stereo 360 HDR matte painting along with lighting and comping all the final shots.


Some in-house content custom built for major clients as demos (NDA)

For some of Milk’s bigger clients we decided to create some demo work to show what is capable in VR with some of the latest techniques and some new in-house development, unfortunately I’m not able to give any details but they went down very well, VR and AR will certainly have a large role to play in storytelling going forward.

While doing the above projects I developed a number of tools for the overall VR pipelines and developed a set of procedures scaled to the facility size for transfer of assets from the standard pipe to realtime representations in Unity and Unreal.

Lead R&D Engineer – Site Rendering Technology

Double Negative • 2013-2016

Was the lead (and often sole) R&D developer for all core Houdini lighting and shading at the company for the last two years.

  • Part of core R&D department working on rendering technology, shader library development and artist tools for Houdini and Mantra for use on all shows.
  • Wrote and maintained all of the light rig and light transfer API and tools for all packages (Maya, Houdini etc) and all light shaders, tools and in-scene gizmos for Houdini lighting.
  • Mentored a number of staff in various workflows and techniques for general lighting and shading pipelines and fx work (primarily fluids).
  • Consulted and advised on the site HDR pipeline.
  • Developed a complete shading framework for Houdini for use across all shows called ‘Cuttlefish’, comprised of a full set of cross package compatible matching materials, supporting VOP node library, two APIs, large python toolset and VOPfx menus.
  • Developed a lightweight framework for managing configuration and general data at a site/show/user level (integrated into Cuttlefish).
  • Developed a masking system for context and package consistent 2d/3d interchange and operations.
  • Wrote multiple customised versions of the Mantra pathtracer for use on shows (Interstellar and Heart Of The Sea) and one for in house default use for all rendering with a number of added features.

Cuttlefish and previous incarnations of the materials, shading and lighting tools are used across Dneg for shows as the standard toolset, was used on ;

  • Captain America : Civil War
  • Fantastic Beats And Where To Find Them
  • Alice Through The Looking Glass
  • Geostorm
  • Batman Vs Superman
  • Spectre
  • Ex Machina

Also provided full R&D support for all Houdini lighting and shading for all facilities at the company on top of the development work schedule.

R&D Engineer – VR/AR Research

Double Negative • 2014

Designed a VR solution for viewing content based on capture and playback of a mix of light field and deep rendered data.

Unfortunately due to the secretive nature of the work I can’t say too much about it.

The implementation is similar to Paul Debevec’s Light Field work with OToy found here..

Light Field Capture and rendering with OToy


Rendering R&D – In The Heart Of The Sea

Double Negative • 2014-2015

Was the core lead R&D shader and lighting developer for the show, responsible for :

  • Ocean surface and close water shader development
  • Light shaders and tools development
  • Surface displace and FX blending tools
  • A custom pathtracer written for high water shot volume
  • A rigid body and FX interaction toolset and masking framework.

Rendering R&D – Interstellar

Double Negative • 2014-2015

Was the core lead Houdini R&D developer for the show, responsible for :

  • DNGR Team Renderer development, part of the team for integration of Kip Thorne’s wormhole mathematics to create a relativistic pathtracer.
  • Light shaders and tools development
  • Volume shaders with a novel level set rendering method for massive geometry data sets
  • A custom pathtracer written for full integration of the DNGR renderer into Houdini and Mantra
  • FX tools for vast to small integration of ocean surfaces
  • Ocean and water shading materials and displace sculpting
  • Foam and bubble cluster simulation and rendering tools

The DNGR work was done with a small team comprised of Oliver James (Team lead), Kip Thorne, myself, Simon Pabst and Paul-George Roberts. The work itself was quite difficult with a number of problems to address, mostly comprising of alias elimination for such high frequency information. Since the data sets involved were exceedingly large I developed a novel method for rendering level sets as volumes (with minimal extra sampling), this allowed a large reduction in ray marching samples and consequent image quality improvements.

For the tidal wave and water work I wrote a set of tools for artists to sculpt ocean surfaces at widely varying continuous scales and fx tools for simulating bubbles and foam at the small scales for close work. These included associated materials and shaders. Also as per standard handled all the lighting shaders and lighting tools for Houdini and the light rig tools and transfer for all the other 3d packages.

Came onto the show as a senior lighting TD but ended up taking on a number of roles.

  • Shot a 32bit texture pipe on location and painted all the textures for the Greenwich ship to water touchdown sequence.
  • Fluid FX for for some shots (whitewater sims)
  • Developed a POP based whitewater solver to avoid DOP limitations for an exceedingly large sim
  • Lit all the Greenwich water shots
  • Developed a wind/calm region mapping system for the ocean displacement tools
  • Particle R&D on the end sequence to achieve the desired look


Joined Weta to help finish off the Hobbit, was a lovely crew to work with!

  • Lit a number of shots around the destruction of Erebor and the town of Dale
  • Did a bunch of environmental layout and design for the above
  • Creating lighting rigs for other lighters to use for lighting the town of Dale
  • Bashed out a quick clustering tool based on k-medoid methods to help with computing occlusion passes


Senior Lighter – Gravity

Framestore • 2012

Originally came on as a senior lighter but as is often the case took on more roles, there are some lovely people at Framestore.

  • Lit a number of shots, primarily during the ‘goodbye’ sequence where Clooney pikes out and parts of the ISS destruction. Most of the promotional shots for the film.
  • Lookdev’d all the external ISS station modules (apart from Zvezda)
  • In one of the longer shots (the shots were very long) repainted textures to improve look.
  • Wrote a rapid spectral shading model to optimise metal shading on the external modules.
  • Optimised some of the heavier sequences that were pushing the limits of the renderer and gained an average 66% time reduction in rendering using some techniques I developed.


Sequence Lead – World War Z

Cinesite • 2011-2012

I was the lead for the Philadelphia sequence of World War Z at Cinesite. The sequence consisted mainly of open environmental work with street scenes with packed traffic and crowd work with digi zombies chasing predominantly real people.

  • Mentored the team in setting up the pipelines
  • Advised the shader R&D department on optimal methods for lighting with spherical harmonics.. …
  • Researched and built pipelines around VRay and PRman
  • Built a number of lighting rigs for the artists to use for the street lighting,
  • Lookdev’d a lot of car assets

I was sequence supervisor for the Bellatrix Death sequence and handled a number of other shots from the film. Performed a wide variety of roles for this project as well as looking after others which I rather enjoyed, it’s not often I get to use most of my skill set.

  • DMP and texture painting, painted environmental extensions for a bunch of shots in the boat house scene
  • Comp’d the chat between Voldemort and Snape in the boathouse at Snape’s death scene
  • Painted full length extensions of all the characters for the ‘apparation at the beach’ shot
  • Concept art for an alternate version of the Bellatrix death, the stunt work that was shot was not wanted so I knocked up 6 options
  • Modeled the digi double of Bellatrix
  • Tracking, lighting, shading and animation of Bellatrix
  • Did some fluid FX work for Bellatrix and for the boathouse
  • Lookdev for the Snitch floating in the hand shot

I was very hands on for this project, it’s not that often I’m able to show concept work and such from production but here are a couple of bits from the Bellatrix sequence..

Emaciate Bellatrix Concept




Top one is the original frame, bottom is the fully emaciated end result concept art, a bit rough but it was about 40 mins work, just painted out the old carter and painted in a new one.





Bellatrix DD ZBrush Normal


Bashed out a double pixel matched to the plate in ZBrush, about 6 hours.





Bellatrix DD ZBrush Emaciated



This is the emaciated version, sculpted with exactly the same topology as the one above so we can do a very simple attribute mapped blend transition between them for the spell effect, derived from the first model it was only about 20mins.