Search form

Steamroller Animation Names Shawn Dunn CTO

Hailing from Epic Games, Original Force and Wētā FX, the 28-year industry veteran will oversee and guide the studio’s technological vision and exploration of real-time workflows to produce feature-quality animation.

Steamroller Animation has named Shawn Dunn as chief technology officer, who joins the studio to guide and oversee the company’s technological vision and its exploration of real-time workflows to produce feature-quality animation.

Prior to his new appointment, Dunn served as Epic Games' senior product manager, influencing the company’s development direction of Unreal Engine and its adoption and use by the Media & Entertainment industry in virtual production, visual effects, and feature animation. Dunn has held positions at Original Force, a privately owned animation studio with bases in Los Angeles, Beijing, Nanjing, Shanghai, and Chengdu, overseeing the company’s technology foundation while implementing IT and workflow innovations to support creative and artistic processes, and had a 13-year tenure at Wētā FX serving as head of Research and Development for the motion group, managing R&D for its animation, motion editing, previs, and crowd simulation units.

Dun has worked on more than 30 feature films over his 28-year career, including Steven Spielberg’s The Adventures of Tintin and The BFG, James Cameron’s Avatar, Peter Jackson’s Hobbit trilogy, King Kong, The Lord Of The Rings: The Return of the King, Rise of The Planet of The Apes, Iron Man 3, Man Of Steel, Dawn of the Planets of the Apes, The Avengers, X-Men: First Class, and The Jungle Book.

“In talking with Jalil and Aaron at Steamroller Animation, it was very clear that they have big ideas and goals that they are driving towards,” said Dunn. “I have worked in the industry for many years and most of my experience has been developing workflows and pipelines to enable companies to work on projects of any scale while being artist and production friendly. I have also been pushing real-time workflows for most of my career and these are both areas that Steamroller Animation has been striving towards.”

Established in 2014, Steamroller Animation has provided services in animation, rigging, story development, character, and concept art across all sectors of the entertainment industry. It has supported projects such as Blizzard Entertainment’s Overwatch 2, Epic Games’ Fortnite and Lego Fortnite, Disney’s Avatar the Way of Water, Netflix’s Slumberland and Yu Yu Hakusho, and Guerilla Games’ Horizon Forbidden West.

The company has studios in Florida, Mauritius, and Vancouver and currently has a global staff of 260. In 2020, it released its award-winning short film, Spice Frontier, with a pilot episode for the animated series currently in production. In 2021, Steamroller released a teaser for Master, created by Jamaal Bradley, and in 2022, it released Curse of the Deadwood, a video game available on the Steam platform.

“Shawn is a perfect match for us, not only because of his constant drive to use technology to improve efficiency but also because of his love for storytelling and Original IP development,” commented Steamroller co-founder and chief creative officer Jalil Sadool. “He always has the artist in mind whenever he is championing a new technology. It’s incredibly refreshing to have someone with so much experience who also really sees himself a servant to everyone on his team. We think the timing for Shawn to join us is perfect! His knowledge will be essential for these next critical steps in our journey as we continue to develop new tools for all departments in our real-time pipeline.”

“We are beyond excited to welcome Shawn to Steamroller,” added Steamroller Studios chief executive officer Aaron Gilman. “I worked with Shawn for years at Wētā FX where we formed a great relationship collaborating on cutting-edge visual FX and animation projects. At Steamroller, we’ve built this amazing real-time animation pipeline for Spice Frontier. But there’s still a huge amount we need to develop as we look to adapt this technology to our slate of original content. With all the new tools and workflows we see in our future, Shawn is going to be instrumental in the next steps of our journey.”

Source: Steamroller Animation

Debbie Diamond Sarto's picture

Debbie Diamond Sarto is news editor at Animation World Network.