Aggie Vizzers sail ‘On Stranger
Tides’ with Capt. Jack Sparrow


Any “Vizzer” will contend that movie magic is neither art nor science but a perfect blend of the two.  Personifying that contention is  Kevin Reuter,  a master’s degree graduate of the Department of Visualization at Texas A&M University, and a“vizzer” (the nickname given to  students in the program) who is one of the movie magicians behind this week’s Disney blockbuster, “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides.”  The fourth installment of the swash-buckling series promises the increased level of digital artistic eye-candy that the current generation of moviegoers has come to expect.

Reuter attributes his skills working as a “look development supervisor” at Industrial Light and Magic (ILM) on films  such as “Rango,” and as a digital artist on “Pirates,” “Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen,” and “Star Wars” episodes I, II and III, to the unique pairing of art and computer animation he perfected at the Viz Department at Texas A&M.

“I love that it was half computer science and half art and architecture … our work at ILM is a lot of that,” Reuter said. “Everything we do is on the computer so there’s a technical aspect, but there’s also this huge aesthetic aspect as well.”

Reuter and two other Aggies, Jaewook Lee and Jason Rosson, worked on “Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides” as digital artists at ILM.   Lee and  Rosson worked alongside Reuter to add the ILM touch to the Disney production.

Artists from Walt Disney Animation Studios will be guest lecturers next month at the Texas A&M Department of Visualization for its annual 10-week summer program..  The course offered to Vizzers in the master’s program provides them real-world experience from a studio with the highest standards for visual arts and computer graphics, the program’s planners note, adding the result will be Aggies equipped with talent and know-how to take on the industry at full speed like their fellow former students have done since 1989.
Texas A&M’s Master’s of Science in Visualization program, offered through the Department of Visualization at the College of Architecture, has provided a steady stream of leaders in the growing field of digital and electronic visualization since the first students in 1989.  Program graduates have achieved success as creative directors, computer animators, university professors and software designers, with the majority working in the animation, visual effects and electronic gaming industries, Viz Department officials note. 

Aggie "Vizzers" can be found among the leading creative talent at Pixar, Blue Sky, Industrial Light & Magic, DreamWorks/PDI, LucasFilm Animation, Reel FX Creative Studios (Dallas), Walt Disney Animation, Rhythm & Hues and Sony Pictures Imageworks. They have been integral members of the teams behind such recent blockbusters as “Rango,” “Rio,” “Tangled,” and “Harry Potter,” in addition to “Pirates of the Caribbean.”

While watching the credits for a hope of a sneak peek clip for a future “Pirates” movie that will hint that Will Turner and Elizabeth Swan will actually get to be together in the end, moviegoers will see Aggies dot the list of artists who make these movies unforgettable.

Anyone wanting to know what the future of CGI animation will be can sample  the work currently being produced in the Viz Lab by going to the Department of Visualization website, its Vimeo webpage, at iTunes U, and on the Viz Lab Facebook page.

See related story about Reuter's work in “Rango”.


— Posted: May 20, 2011 —

— the end —

Contact:   Phillip Rollfing, or 979.458.0442.


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