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Program 2016


Concept Art at Weta Digital

Michael Pangrazio (Weta)

In his talk, storied Concept Artist Michael Pangrazio talks about how the techniques for developing concept art have evolved but the fundamental goals have stayed the same.  Even as visual effects work and animation become more photorealistic, there is a constancy to the qualities that make good cinema.  Michael will discuss how the core principles of art are still a daily guide to his work at Weta Digital and how the decisions he makes advance the story and can contribute to nearly every aspect of the work, with reference to the many films from The Empire Strikes Back, 1980 to Krampus 2016.

Michael Pangrazio

Michael Pangrazio, Art Director, Weta Digital,

As Art Director for Weta Digital, Michael Pangrazio plays a key role in determining the overall look and feel of a film. Michael has contributed to a number of films at Weta Digital including Dawn of the Planet of the Apes, The Adventures of Tintin, The Hobbit trilogy and most recently Maze Runner: The Scorch Trials and Krampus

Michael Pangrazio‘s career in matte painting and visual effects began in 1977 at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic facility. Michael held the position of Matte Artist Supervisor for twelve years and contributed to the Best Visual Effects Academy Award for E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial as Visual Effects Art Director.

In 1989, Michael made the decision to leave Lucasfilm to form his own company, Matte World Digital, with a partner. Credits from his time at Matte World Digital include Star Trek VI, Terminator II and Batman Returns.  Michael left Matte World Digital in 1996 to pursue other interests before joining Weta Digital in 2004 to work on Peter Jackson’s King Kong.

Michael is currently working across a number of films currently in production at Weta Digital including Independence Day: Resurgence, Valerian and the City of a Thousand Planets as well as Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.

Michael is a two-time Emmy Award winner for visual effects and is also a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. 



Weta Digital is one of the world’s premier visual effects companies. Led by Senior Visual Effects Supervisor Joe Letteri, Weta Digital is known for uncompromising creativity and a commitment to developing innovative technology.  Groundbreaking performance-driven digital characters like Smaug, Gollum, Kong, Neytiri and Caesar from Dawn of the Planet of the Apes are widely acknowledged as some of the best digital characters ever put on screen.  Weta's development of revolutionary virtual production workflows for AvatarThe Adventures of Tintin and the The Hobbit trilogy of films has firmly integrated digital production techniques into the film production paradigm. 

Weta Digital established its reputation for cutting edge visual effects with work on blockbusters like The Lord of the Rings trilogy and King Kong, and has five Visual Effects Oscars to its credit. The company has recently completed work on Deadpool, The Jungle Book and Batman v. Superman: Dawn of Justice, and is wrapping up Independence Day:  Resurgence and Steven Spielberg’s The BFG.



FMX is funded by the Ministry of Science, Research and Arts and the Ministry of Economic Affairs, Labour and Housing of the State of Baden-Wuerttemberg, the City of Stuttgart and MFG Baden-Wuerttemberg, taking place in cooperation with the VES Visual Effects Society and ACM SIGGRAPH. FMX is an event by the Filmakademie Baden-Wuerttemberg, organized by Animationsinstitut, hosting the Animation Production Days (APD), a joint venture with the Stuttgart International Festival of Animated Film (ITFS).

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