Steve has over twenty years experience in visual effects for feature films and broadcast television commercials which includes eight years experience as an in-house executive producer and visual effects supervisor for CGI studios. He is highly experienced with client relations, storyboard breakdown, production bid preparation, and project management as well as actually creating visual effects as the production artist for CGI, compositing, and even digital ink and paint for cel animation. His production experience includes three years as a CGI animator and over 16 years compositing visual effects, not to mention six years in video game development at Atari. His production experience encompasses over 70 feature films, 70 broadcast television commercials, and numerous special venue projects.
2D Technical Director
At its peak, Cinesite Hollywood had over 30 compositors and almost 50 CGI artists in their excellent visual effects department. During its 12 year history Cinesite produced visual effects for major motion pictures such as "X-Men 2", "Solaris", "Clockstoppers", "Thirteen Ghosts", "Mission Impossible II", "Red Planet", and many, many more. As the 2D Technical Director for Cinesite's 2D department Steve's mission was to be the "go-to guy" for solutions to all types of compositing and digital imaging problems.
Since the 2D department worked in cineon 10 bit log space and the 3D department worked in 16 bit linear space there was a chronic difficulty in maintaining color correctness when moving images between these two color spaces which Steve addressed routinely. To get new-hires up to speed rapidly on the Cineon compositing software he prepared training programs and training materials. He also helped to evaluate new commercially available software tools for the 2D department and worked closely with the engineering department to help specify new tools and test new software for production.
During his eight years at Cinesite Steve worked on a long list of feature films as a Senior Compositor (click here for Cinesite compositing credit list). Mastering not only the artistic requirements of 10 bit log compositing, he also studied the mathematics behind linear vs. log image data until that was mastered as well. As a result he was expert at facilitating the incorporation of CGI linear images into log film scans for compositing. Steve also made a study of greenscreen and bluescreen compositing (which forms a large part of his book) developing original despill algorithms and pulling some of the most difficult mattes.
Steve originally learned the art and science of compositing at his own company, Sidley-Wright & Associates, using the Pixar P2 computer, a dedicated image processing engine made by Pixar. He mastered this very difficult machine which required the artist to write huge Unix scripts to composite a shot rather than the current convenient UI seen on all modern software. Though difficult to operate, the Pixar was very fast and had superb image quality and high enough resolution that it could do feature film work (click here for more feature film credits done with the Pixar). In addition to feature film work, the Pixar was used to do digital effects for a long list of broadcast television commercials.
Digital Cel Animation
While operating his company Sidley-Wright & Associates in Hollywood Steve realized that the tremendous speed and quality of the Pixar computer to composite feature film resolution images would be a great asset to cel animated features such as “FernGully” if only the animation was digitized. Acting on this epiphany, Steve developed a complete in-house digital ink and paint system which was one of the first outside of Disney’s CAPS system. This digital ink and paint system plus the Pixar computer would go on to create footage for five animated films and a dozen television commercials.
Digital Intermediate Technical Director
The Digital Intermediate (DI) process was invented by Kodak at the Cinesite Hollywood facility. Steve took and interest in the technology and soon became their “go-to guy” for digital imaging problems. Working with the DI department he had the opportunity to work with Hollywood greats such as Steven Soderbergh ("Traffic"), Taylor Hackman ("Ray"), Spike Lee ("She Hate Me"), and Kevin Costner ("Open Range").