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Brickyard VFX Launches CG Animation Division

Artist-owned-and-operated Brickyard VFX announced the launch of a CG division, extending the companys on-site visual effects capabilities to include character modeling, animation and rendering in full 3D. The move, which includes the hiring of industry talents Jay Lichtman, Robert Sethi and Yafei Wu, is already allowing the bi-coastal effects studio to complete more and different types of client work.

Lichtman and Wu both come to Brickyard from Londons Glassworks, where Lichtman was head of production and Wu was senior 3D lead. Sethi joins the company from U.K. vfx house Double Negative, where he was most recently lead character animator and a technical director on BATMAN BEGINS.

Since the day Brickyard opened, we have been doing some of the trickiest compositing in the business, often utilizing CG elements, said Brickyard co-owner Geoff McAuliffe. Establishing our own CG division to bring character modeling and animation capabilities in house was a logical next step, thus affording us more control over the elements and offering a better and more complete service to our clients. Jay, Robert and Yafei are world-class collaborators with strong international connections and we are most pleased that they are forming the backbone of our CG team.

The CG division will be an integrated department of Brickyard VFX that will be tapped for projects on both coasts. The division will help Brickyard continue to build on its commercial vfx pedigree and client base while also entertaining long-form genres of entertainment work.

In his six-year tenure at Glassworks, Lichtman produced major campaigns and projects for such companies as Hewlett-Packard, Adidas, Pepsi, Stella Artois, Hugo Boss, Ford, Nissan, Discovery Channel, Nike and Aquafresh. A fine arts graduate of Ohio State University, he has collaborated on productions with agencies including AMV, BBH, Grey, Mesners New York, JWT, Wieden Kennedy Worldwide, WCRS, Goodby Silverstein & Partners and M&C Saatchi and has built solid client relationships in Europe.

While at Double Negative, Sethi created previs, animation and motion control animation for The da Vinci Code; modeled, lit and created elements and particle effects on DOOM; and designed facial animation and layouts/textures for CHRONICLES OF RIDDICK, among other projects. For BATMAN BEGINS, he produced the animation for two test shots that resulted in Double Negative being awarded character animation for the coveted film. He also helped handle other key animation tests, layouts, lighting and rendering setups as well as many final shots, including Batman action animation and the movies monorail sequence. Sethis previous experience includes graphics and effects work and study in Sweden.

Prior to his stint at Glassworks, Wu was senior/lead 3D operator at Swedens Visual Art. An expert td and script programmer, he studied design at The Royal Institute of Technology in Stockholm before moving on to real-world work for Pepsi, Vodaphone, Sky Plus, Guinness, T-Com, MTV, Electronic Arts and others. Key client collaborations include campaigns for British Airways via M & C Saatchi and director Daniel Barber; Hugo Boss via Blink Films and director Lynn Fox; and Sony Ericsson via BBH/Stink and director N-EO.

The addition of Lichtman, Sethi and Wu and the CG division has already resulted in an increased number and variety of project bids and completed jobs at Brickyard. Among them is a CG-intensive spot for the 2006 Super Bowl Brickyard VFX has been awarded and is working on that represents the studios largest effects effort to date.

With the new division, Brickyard also expands its artistic toolset. The companys existing suite, highlighted by Autodesk Discreet Flame HD systems and 2d3 boujou tracking software, will now be bolstered by such additions as Alias Maya, Adobe After Effects, Apple Shake and a full, film-capable render farm running Pixar RenderMan and mental images mental ray.

Located in Boston and Santa Monica, Brickyard VFX (www.brickyardvfx.com) is an independent visual effects boutique specializing in top quality visual effects from 3D characters through to compositing.

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