About the Judges    

Paul Huston -Senior Digital Matte Artist - Industrial Light & Magic

Paul Huston joined Industrial Light & Magic for the first "Star Wars" film doing work as a story board artist and modelmaker. Since then he has worked at ILM as a modelmaker, cameraman and visual effects art director. He has worked extensively with the ILM matte department throughout his career and has played an integral role in the transition from traditional matte to digital matte painting.

As a senior digital matte artist, he supervises the work of other matte artists. Huston has earned two Emmy Nominations and an Emmy Award for Highest Achievement in Visual Effects as a digital matte artist for "The Young Indiana Jones Chronicles"; and in 1993 won an Association of Independent Commercial Producers/Museum of Modern Art (AICP/MOMA) Production Design Award for his work on British Petroleum's "Elevator".

In addition to all the "Star Wars" and "Indiana Jones" movies, Paul's Art can be seen is such movies as "Captain America: The Winter Soldier", "Noah", "Pacific Rim", "Star Trek Into Darkness", "The Avengers", "The Great Gatsby", "Star Treck", "Ironman", the 3 last "Pirates of the Caribbean", "War of the Worlds", "Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Azkaban", "Gangs of New York", "Jurassic Park" and many, many more...

In 2003 he received the Visual Effects Society - Best Matte Painting in a Theatrical Motion Picture Award for his work on StarWars Episode II : Attack of the Clones.

  What Paul says about our products  

I'm very happy to have discovered VUE. It has proven to be a very valuable tool in my environment creation work process. There isn't currently any other single package that provides a comparable wide range of features and ease of use.
I highly recommend it to my fellow artists!


Scott Brisbane - Head of Matte Painting - Dreamworks Animation

Scott Brisbane graduated from USC's School of Cinema-TV with a Bach. in Cinematography. He then studied matte painting at the Academy of Art University in San Francisco and was hired shortly there after as a Digital Matte Artist at Matte World Digital.

While at MWD, Scott created concepts and final matte paintings for numerous projects including "The Alamo", "The Last Samurai", "Catwoman", and the Imax film "Greece: Secrets of the Past".

Scott joined Dreamworks Animation in 2005. His credits as a matte painter there include "Over the Hedge", "Flushed Away", and "Shrek the Third". He was then promoted to Lead Matte Painter on "Kung Fu Panda", supervising a team of 15 artists. This was the first film at the studio in which VUE was used extensively to create the environments for over 700 shots in the film.

In 2008, Scott has served as the Matte Painting Supervisor at Dreamworks Animation for the studios first stereoscopic movie, "Monsters vs. Aliens". This film allowed the matte department the opportunity to push the boundaries of digital environments in 3D. Under Scott's supervision, the team of 10 artists delivered hundreds of shots with environments ranging from foreground San Francisco buildings and distant city views to dimensional aerial cloudscapes.

Just after completing work on "Monsters vs. Aliens", Scott left Dreamworks animation to work at Rhythm and Hues Studios on "Land of the Lost", "The Wolfman" and "The Cabin in the Woods".

In July 2009, Scott left the USA to move to New Zealand. He joined the Matte Painting Department at Weta Digital where he acted as Senior Matte Painter on James Cameron's "Avatar" and for which his team won a VES Award for "Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture".

Scott came back to Dreamworks Animation end of 2009, where he has supervized the matte painting department on "The Croods" and the just released "How to Train Your Dragon 2".

  What Scott says about our products  

VUE is one of the most artist friendly tools I've ever used. It has become an essential package in my workflow for environment creation. In fact, as more and more stereo films enter production, I see VUE becoming an extremely helpful tool in creating those imagined worlds dimensionally.


Dark Hoffman - Senior Digital Matte Painter - Hammerhead Productions

Dark Hoffman started in the film industry at the age of 17, working on films like Dreamscape and Splash, learning the ropes and doing special effects like wind, rain, snow, pyro and miniatures. After 5 years of floor effects, he moved on to props and miniatures. Working in such prop houses as Neotech and Hand Prop Room as builder and designer on films like "Hook", "The Addams Family" and "Chaplin.

He then moved onto the hit show, Babylon 5, as prop builder, designer and propmaster for 5 years. While working on the show, he learned how to design all the props on the computer using Photoshop, Painter and Lightwave. He also was a partner in a graphic design company for many years.

After the show ended, he went back to build and design miniatures at New Deal Studios. Still designing and creating his own art on the computer, he ventured into matte painting and concept art, starting at Digital Domain and working for many visual effects companies, building up his portfolio and working on amazing shows up to this day.

He now loves doing production art and matte painting. He has worked in places such as London and Australia and looks forward to traveling to other countries.

He also taught matte painting at Gnomon School of Visual Effects and it was a great experience.

His love for films at a young age helped propel him into the world of visual effects.

Dark has been a VUE evangelist for many years and, using it as one of his main tools, working at Digital Domain, Hydraulx, Framestore, Animal Logic, MPC, Asylum, Rhythm & Hues and Entity FX to name a few.

To date, he has worked on over 25 feature film productions and TV series, and used his VUE skills in many of them including "Cloudy with a Chance of Meatballs 2", "Riddick", "Arthur Christmas", "Hotel Transylvania", "Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time", "Robin Hood", "The Wolfman", "2014", "G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra", "The Curious Case of Benjamin Button", "Australia", "Elementary", "Smallville", "The Vampire Diaries" and many many more!

Read Dark's User Profile here >>

  What Dark says about our products  

As an environmental artist and matte painter, I found VUE to be the one program I could count on to give me exactly what I was looking for to help out with any environmental needs and came to the rescue when I couldn't find the right source.

To this day I am a religious VUE user and use it as an everyday tool alongside my other programs. Things like the lush vegetation, spectral skies and terrain sculpting, and just using it to render out props for my paintings and concepts are just a few of the many things that make me stay with VUE.


Eran Dinur - VFX Supervisor - Brainstorm Digital

Eran's career in visual effects started with a fascination for creating 3D natural scenery. Through his early works he became well known as a VUE expert and innovator. He then joined ILM Singapore where he created visual effects for films such as "Iron Man", "Star Trek", "Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen", "Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull", and "Terminator Salvation".

After moving to New York, Eran worked at Framestore NY on "Salt" and "Clash of the Titans", and then Joined Brainstorm Digital, where he has been senior VFX supervisor since 2011. In this capacity Eran won a Primetime Emmy Award ("Outstanding Special Visual Effects in a Supporting role", Boardwalk Empire), and two Visual Effects Society Awards ("Outstanding Compositing" and "Outstanding Modeling in a Broadcast Program", Boardwalk Empire).

Eran has been leading the Brainstorm team on numerous film and TV projects, including "The Wolf of Wall Street", "Boardwalk Empire", "Delivery Man", "The Heat", "The Men Who Built America" and "The Immigrant".

Eran is passionate about teaching, learning and sharing knowledge. He is a faculty member at the School of Visual Arts, has created several online courses at fxphd, and presented at various international conferences such as Siggraph, NAB, Fesmak and Mundos Digitales.

  What Eran says about our products  

VUE has always been an inspirational program. You tweak a few parameters, move a few sliders - and suddenly, a surprising shape of terrain, a certain atmospheric quality, or a particular formation of plants launches your creativity into a new artistic adventure.

On the other hand, each new version of VUE comes with more precision tools that enhance its controlled use in demanding project-driven environments.

It is this, the fact that it combines the unexpected with the practical, that makes VUE, in my opinion, such a unique and exciting piece of software.


Max Dennison - Senior Matte Painter - Double Negative TV

Max Dennison has been creating digital environments for the last two decades, working with some of the most pioneering VFX facilities all over the world, and on some of the biggest film productions.

In 2000 he established and supervised the Digital Matte Painting department for Weta Digital in New Zealand for the multi-award winning "Lord of the Rings" Trilogy, gaining a nomination for Best Digital Environment by the Visual Effects Society in 2002.

To date, he has produced work for over 50 major feature film productions, five of which were VFX Academy Award winners. Other notable credits include "G.I. Joe: Retaliation", "Monuments Men", "Enders Game", "Star Wars: Revenge of the Sith", "The Da Vinci Code", "Superman Returns", "The Golden Compass" and Martin Scorsese's "Hugo". He has also produced work for numerous TV shows, Commercials and Video Games.

  What Max says about our products  

VUE offers a unique opportunity within the world of Visual Effects and digital environments creation. While there are many software packages currently available, all competing for the biggest slice of the market, VUE stands out as the leader both in terms of flexibility, adaptability, and most importantly, having already demonstrated that it produces realistic results.

Photoreal digital environments are the expected norm in the Visual Effects industries, whether it be Feature Films, TV, or Video Games and audiences demand to see convincing 3 dimensional worlds. The greatest challenge for the visual effects artist is how to get there efficiently and economically. VUE offers that solution and continues to streamline and adapt to the workflow of the artist, offering him greater opportunity and diversity into the future!


Peter Baustaedter - Visual Effects Art Director - Marco Polo Productions

From 8-bit pixel graphics during the dawn of computer games in the late 80s, over creating environments and concept art for high profile motion pictures like "Titanic", "The Day After Tomorrow", "King Kong" and "Avatar" to art direction, Peter's experience spans well over 2 decades.

Peter received the VES Award for "Outstanding Matte Paintings in a Feature Motion Picture" for James Cameron´s "Avatar". His personal work has been published in various books and magazines.

He recently was the Visual Effects Art Director on two seasons of the Starz original series Spartacus: "Spartacus: Vengeance" and "Spartacus: War of the Damned".

Currently he works once as VFX Art Director - on the upcoming The Weinstein Co. and Netflix series epic "Marco Polo".

Peter is a master of many disciplines - his skills range from art directing and concept art, creating 2D and 3D environments, to compositing, grading and photography.

Read Peter's interview about his work on Spartacus here >>

  What Peter says about our products  

I've tried other environment design packages but for what I am looking for, VUE just delivers the best results with the least amount of pain.
I was drawn to computer graphics because I always wanted to create and visualize worlds that only exist in my imagination in a very realistic way - so they look like vacation photos from another dimension. VUE allows me to do this and inspires me like no other tool out there!


Stephane Belin – Art Director - Blizzard Entertainment

Stephane was born near Paris, France in 1970. His experience with computer graphics goes back to the 16 bit era, with his first game projects Outzone for Lankhor in 1991 and Indigo for Psygnosis in 1993.

Going back to the games industry after a few years as a journalist, where he discovered VUE, Stephane moved to Canada in 1999. He worked there as an Art Director and Concept Artist for UbiSoft then EA on several projects, including "Batman Vengeance", "Prince Of Persia The Sands Of Time", "Army Of TWO", "Boogie", and other undisclosed titles.

In 2010, Stephane was given the opportunity to join Blizzard Entertainment in Southern California. He works there as the Art Director for the cinematics department.

  What Stephane says about our products  

VUE has always combined the two assets that are the key to all software packages that produce stunning results: ease of use that makes it a natural tool for the artist, served by faultless technology. That's why I wasn't surprised to see VUE rapidly become a reference for the professional market!


Tom Greenway - Founder and Managing Director - 3dtotal.com

Tom was 25 when he discovered CG on a multimedia course at college. He progressed to a Computer Animation MA at Bournemouth NCCA, then joined a 3D studio in London upon graduation where he got to experience the industry first-hand.

All the while 3dtotal.com was growing as a hobby in his spare time, providing news and resources for 3D artists. In 2001, he took the leap and started 3dtotal full-time - and it's been growing ever since!

The company now hires 13 staff working across an exciting range of products for digital and traditional artists, including digital magazines, e-books, printed books, anatomical reference figures, and more.

He also dabbles with creating board games and enjoys coming up with new and crazy ideas for Kickstarter projects!

  What Tom says about our products  

As the founder of one of the main CG news portals on the net I have witnessed VUE move from strength to strength over the years, becoming a key tool for more and more of the leading CG studios. We look forward to seeing Plant Factory grow in the architecture and gaming industries now, too!


Jim Thacker - Editor - CGChannel

Jim Thacker is editor of CG industry website CG Channel, and contributing editor to concept art website ArtStation. He was previously editor-in-chief of 3D World, then the best-selling international magazine for 3D artists, for seven years.

He recently served as development editor on Focal Press's production handbook Production Pipeline Fundamentals for Films and Games, and worked with 3DTotal on its Digital Art Masters series of tutorial-based art books.

He has lectured on the subject of 3D and visual effects at venues ranging from the UK’s National Portrait Gallery to the Norwegian Film Institute.

  What Jim says about our products  

I'm always impressed with the quality of work being created with the e-on software's products, and the talent of its user community.


Mike Hepburn - Head of Creative and Marketing - CGSociety

Mike Hepburn is the Head of Creative and Marketing at CGSociety.org, the world’s largest society of professional digital artists and provider of forums, portfolios, training, job and event services for the digital arts industry.

He moonlights as an illustrator and animator for clients such as Nike and Doritos.

Ian Dean – Editor - 3D World magazine

Ian is the editor of 3D World. He has over 15 years’ experience writing about videos games, film and CG art and has edited more than eight magazines on the subjects.