Barron joins Tippett

Vfx leader in matte paintings joins Berkeley-based studio

Craig Barron, one of the visual effects business’s leaders in matte paintings, set extensions and digital backgrounds, has joined Berkeley-based Tippett Studio.

Barron, an Academy governor and a vfx Oscar winner for “The Curious Case of Benjamin Button,” started at Tippett last week, joining production on M. Night Shyamalan’s sci-fier, “After Earth.”

Tippett Studio, run by vfx pioneer Phil Tippett, is best known for its creature work, but has begun to branch out into digital backgrounds. Barron will have the title visual effects supervisor and is charged with building up Tippett Studio’s 3D matte department. He will report to Phil Tippett.

“There’s more and more stuff being shot on greenscreen,” Tippett told Variety. “If (digital backgrounds) are the kind of work we want to get into, (Barron) is the guy. It was kind of a no-brainer.”

Barron’s own company, Matte World Digital, closed its doors last August after 24 years in business. Barron cited foreign subsidies as one factor in that decision. Looking ahead, he said “Working in the visual effects industry is tough these days but there are a lot of talented people here in the Bay Area and we’re still having a go at it.”