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Michael Fink to Present ‘Visual Effects Paradiso’ at Gnomon School

Renowned vfx supervisor Michael Fink (CONSTANTINE, the X-MEN movies), who recently joined the advisory board of the Gnomon School of Visual Effects, will present his Visual Effects Paradiso program at Gnomon on Sept. 29, 2005, at 7:00 pm. A meet and greet starts at 6:00 pm.

Have you ever wondered how visual effects really started? Would you believe that the first visual effects were created long before Edison? How did we get from paintings to matte paintings, compositing, space battles, explosions and huge, mind expanding universes through which we travel on our incredible flying machines?

As Fink asks: Did anti-aliasing start with Da Vinci? Ray-tracing with Van Eyck? What links the work of Velasquez and Zemeckis? If Vermeer were alive today, would he be a matte artist at ILM? Who created the very first visual effects shot and how was it done? And was it really Edison or Massacio that created it?

In Visual Effects Paradiso, we look at the broad canvas of Western art, photography and film through the eyes of a visual effects filmmaker. From wall paintings in Herculaneum to modern visual effects scenes in contemporary film, we examine how artists have used technology to create new realities.

Early Renaissance artists were scientists and technologists. They created new ways of image making, from oil painting to calculating perspective. It was as important for these artists to have these tools as it is for us to have the ability to generate an alpha channel and render motion blur.

Renaissance artists may have been the first to conceive of an edited story told through sequential images. Well look at how the desire to tell a story through pictures drove the depiction of motion, light, and color in new directions, and how the concerns of early artists were very much the same concerns shared by filmmakers today.

Fink has been involved with visual effects since he was a young boy, when he created his first miniature shot: A still of a rocket to the moon in the hallway of his parents' home. He began working in film on THE CHINA SYNDROME in 1977 to support his fine arts career. He cut his eye teeth on films such as STAR TREK: THE MOTION PICTURE and BLADE RUNNER before becoming a visual effects supervisor.

Fink received his first effects supervisor credit on WARGAMES, where he created with computer graphics tens of thousands of feet of motion picture film for process plates. Additional film credits include: BUCKAROO BANZAI, PROJECT X, THE SEVENTH SIGN, BATMAN RETURNS (for which he received an Academy Award nomination), BRAVEHEART, ERASER, MARS ATTACKS!, CONTACT, LETHAL WEAPON 4, CLOCKSTOPPERS and 13 GHOSTS.

In 1993, Fink directed the first Coca-Cola POLAR BEAR spot, which may be the first public showing of a computer graphic creature with three dimensional fur, and which was voted (in an advertiser's poll) as one of the three best commercials of the last 50 years.

In 1995, Fink joined Warner Bros. in starting a new venture Warner Digital Studios a full service visual effects facility. Under his direction, Warner Digital grew to 150 people, and produced highly-lauded effects on films, as well as commercials and special venue films.

In addition, Fink is on the exec committee of the Visual Effects Branch of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, and is a founding member and vice-chairman of the Visual Effects Society (VES).

Gnomon School of Visual Effects ( is a professional institute specializing in training for visual effects for film, television and games. Located in the heart of Hollywood, it offers a full curriculum for individuals wanting careers in 3D, professionals in need of specialized training and custom training for production studios. Founded by Alex Alvarez in 1997, Gnomon is located at 1015 North Cahuenga Blvd., Suite 5430i, Hollywood, California, 90038.