Jones returns to Domain

Move back expected to beef up animation pipeline

Andy Jones, who most recently oversaw the animation work for Squaresoft’s all-CG feature “Final Fantasy,” has rejoined Digital Domain as its new animation director.

Jones will head the animation team for the Venice, Calif.-based company’s feature f/x department. Team is made up of a dozen animators. His return to the company is expected to help beef up Digital Domain’s animation pipeline and capabilities, which should help it land more digital character work for live-action pics, a growing field for f/x facilities.

Rhythm & Hues has built a business around creating digital characters for “Scooby-Doo,” “Cats & Dogs” and “Stuart Little.” Elsewhere, Industrial Light & Magic is busy animating a CG monster for “The Hulk.” Sony Imageworks recently created animated versions of the title characters for “Spider-Man” and “Stuart Little.” And Cinesite also is upping its presence in that arena.

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Until now, much of Digital Domain’s 3-D character work has appeared in commercials for which the facility has been hired to provide f/x sequences, including spots for Adidas, Lubriderm, Iomega and Gatorade.

But the company recently received much praise for a raging water sequence in “The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring,” a cow in “O Brother, Where Art Thou?” and giant crocodile for “Lake Placid.”

Jones reports to Digital Domain’s senior veep-executive producer Nancy Bernstein.

Besides “Final Fantasy,” Jones also served as animation supervisor on Columbia Pictures’ “Godzilla,” for which he oversaw the creation of the rampaging monster for helmer Roland Emmerich.

Starting place

He started his career at Digital Domain, joining the company in 1995, as an animator for its commercial division. Shortly after that, he moved to Digital Domain’s feature f/x arm as animation supervisor for James Cameron’s “Titanic.”

“It’s great to be back at Digital Domain,” Jones said. “The work here speaks for itself, and the overall atmosphere fosters creativity. There is already a pool of very talented animators here at the company, and we’re ready to accomplish great things.”

Digital Domain’s f/x work can currently be seen in Revolution Studios’ “XXX.” It recently completed hundreds of shots for Paramount Pictures’ “Star Trek: Nemesis,” set for release Dec. 13.

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