Mark, an award winning artist, has developed systems and techniques for animation in many different media including laser light (LaserMedia, 1980), television (TBS Vision, 1990), games (Acclaim Entertainment, 1993) and feature films, that allowed him to work as an artist, supervisor and director. He was recruited by DreamWorks SKG (1995) to work on visual effects for a number of their fully animated films. At Rhythm and Hues (2002) he created visual effects for numerous award winning live-action films (see IMDB).
Recruited to join Nanyang Technological University’s School of Art Design and Media (2005) as founding faculty, he has taught and mentored numerous students who have gone on to become award winning entrepreneurs. He was granted major funding from the National Research Foundation / Media Development Authority (2008) for research, the capstone of which is an award winning film, [Vengeance+Vengeance]. His exploration of Transmedia is the animated short film “The Adventures of Barty and the Pirate” and an accompanying mobile game “Barty Run.“
He is currently developing new work in the space of an industrial start-up that explores tagged video and query based artificially intelligent teacher avatars. The aim is to create a pedagogically enhanced application that adapts to the learning styles of young children and provides content best suited to address their cognitive needs.
I’ve worked in the animation industry for more than 30 years in many capacities, as a director, game art lead, technical director, visual effects artist and educator. Many of the projects I’ve worked on were Academy Award winning projects at major film studios. Early in my career I developed animation systems and techniques that enabled me to direct, animate and supervise shorts that were projected in laser light (LaserMedia Inc). Some this work of was displayed to audiences of up to 100 thousand people in a single screening during the summertime for more than 20 years at Stone Mountain Park, Georgia: screenings of work that I did while pursuing my MFA at the UCLA Film School. While living in Japan I worked on computer animation sequences for televised game show title sequences and other corporate graphics at Tokyo Broadcasting System. In the early 1990’s I worked with Acclaim Advanced Technologies Group to establish the first and best pipeline for motion capture for the game Alien Trilogy. I was recruited by DreamWorks SKG, to work in the visual effects department on a number of their fully animated feature films including The Prince of Egypt, The Road to El Dorado, Spirit: Stallion of the Cimarron, and Sinbad Legend of the Seven Seas. I’ve worked in live action visual effects at Rhythm and Hues Studios Los Angeles on numerous feature films including The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe, Flight of the Phoenix, Around the World in 80 Days, Garfield, Scooby-Doo 2: Monsters Unleashed, Dr. Seuss’ The Cat in the Hat, Elf, The Rundown, X-Men 2 and Daredevil. In all, I’ve worked on more than 17 feature films.
I was recruited to join Nanyang Technological University (NTU) and help set up the School of Art Design and Media (ADM) in 2005 to teach and mentor students in various facets of animation. Many of my students went on to win accolades for their work, setting up their own companies and establishing themselves as leaders in the animation and visual effects industry in Singapore. I was granted major funding from the National Research Foundation / Media Development Authority of Singapore in 2008 to establish a research thread focusing on novel animation techniques. The capstone of that work is an award winning innovative animated short film titled [Vengeance+Vengeance]. My most recent animated short film is called “The Adventures of Barty and the Pirate”. It is currently being screened internationally at various film festivals and has an accompanying mobile game currently on iTunes and Google Play titled “Barty Run“.
My teaching is highly influenced by the 25 years I have worked as a professional artist. To thrive in the highly competitive animation industry one must always been cognizant of the need to keep abreast of the constantly changing creative and aesthetic trends of the field. Students must learn that to make things that have contemporary relevance in digital animation, they must be proactive in their research and creative work and discover new ways to invent. By learning to take an initiative to find the solutions to aesthetic questions independently, the impetus of self-improvement is absorbed by my students and as inquisitive, research based artists and they are provided with a life-long strategy for personal growth.
Why is it that some ideas succeed and others fail? The potential successful development of an idea bearing international appeal holds lucrative rewards. Developing artists, animators, filmmakers and game designers that can reliably author creative content with unique and popular charm is a difficult goal to achieve and is something that holds the interest of many artists working in animation media. Content research and development for animation entertainment is a costly and uncertain effort. My research tackles these issues in an attempt to create genuinely unique animation IP.
As an animation industry expert, academic and researcher, Mark’s interests are in computer animation techniques including synthetic sculpture, motion and related forms in popular culture. His research interests are in characterization and storytelling with real-time and rendered imagery exploring visual and behavioral representation in the animated form; looking to develop seemingly intelligent animated forms with richness in personality and emotive evocative states that are flexible enough to respond to the viewer within a predetermined simulated performance.