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Last modified: Wednesday, July 25, 2007

Top Hollywood animator to keynote VisionFest 2007

FOR IMMEDIATE RELEASE
July 25, 2007

INDIANAPOLIS -- The Indiana University School of Informatics has announced that one of Hollywood's most accomplished animators will deliver the keynote address at VisionFest 2007. Rick O'Connor, a lead animation specialist with Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), will be the featured speaker August 16 (Thursday) at 7:30 p.m. The lecture, which is open to the public, will take place in the Informatics and Communications Technology Complex, Room IT152, on the campus of Indiana University-Purdue University Indianapolis.

VisionFest, created in 2005 by the IU Informatics New Media Program exclusively for high school and college students, is a juried contest and professional evaluation event for computer animation artists. Submissions of digital storytelling work are entered from around the world, each of which receives a written critique from a panel of animation experts who serve as judges.

O'Connor will discuss how students need to prepare for careers in animation, and what they can expect while on the job. He also will describe ILM's production pipeline and the many tasks besides animation art that are necessary to produce animated feature films. Most importantly O'Connor will emphasize the necessity for professional growth with each new animation project undertaken by students.

O'Connor is a graduate of Sheridan College in Canada where he studied traditional (hand-drawn) animation for three years. After his graduation O'Connor worked as a clean-up artist and character designer, during which time he was introduced to the computer as a tool for creating animated storytelling.

"I was inspired by such films as Star Wars and Indiana Jones," says O'Connor. "I knew from an early age that I wanted to be a part of movie-making magic as an animator."

O'Connor was subsequently hired by ILM to work on Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace, and has since played an important animation role in some of Hollywood's most successful films including, Jurassic Park III, The Hulk, Van Helsing, War of the Worlds, Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest and Transformers. He is currently working on The Spiderwick Chronicles, now in production for release next year.

"As an animation lead, I enjoy helping other animators reach their personal goals, as well as those of each film's director," said O'Connor.

Several undergraduate and graduate students in the IU Informatics New Media Program have received top awards for their animated entries. Submission categories include 2D animation, 3D animation, sequential art and integrated media. Winners in each category will receive a cash award and other prizes.

This year's corporate sponsors are Mediasauce, Bright House Networks and Peachpit Press. Visit VisionFest 2007 http://www.visionfest.org/ for additional information.

Rick O'Connor's ILM CREDITS:

2008 The Spiderwick Chronicles (in production) -- animator
2007 Transformers -- lead animator
2006 Eragon -- lead animator
2006 Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest -- CG animator
2005 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe -- CG animator
2005 War of the Worlds -- CG animator
2005 Star Wars: Episode III, Revenge of the Sith -- CG animator
2004 Lemony Snicket's A Series of Unfortunate Events -- lead animator
2004 Van Helsing -- CG animator
2004 Hidalgo -- CG animator
2003 The Hulk -- CG animator
2003 Signs -- CG animatorI
2002 Star Wars: Episode II, Attack of the Clones -- animator
2001 Jurassic Park III -- CG animator
2001 Final Fantasy: The Spirits Within -- pre-viz animatics
2001 The Mummy Returns -- CG animator
1999 The Green Mile -- CG animator
1999 Deep Blue Sea -- CG animator
1999 Star Wars: Episode I, The Phantom Menace -- character animator

About the Indiana University School of Informatics

The Indiana University (IU) School of Informatics offers a unique, interdisciplinary curriculum that focuses on developing specialized skills and knowledge of information technology with particular application to a specific field of study or practice. The school offers a variety of undergraduate degrees and specialized master's and doctoral degrees in bioinformatics, chemical informatics, health informatics, human-computer interaction (HCI), laboratory informatics, and media arts and science. Each degree is an interdisciplinary endeavor that combines course work and field experiences from a traditional subject area or discipline with intensive study of information and technology. Founded in 2000, it is the nation's first school of informatics with nearly 1,600 students enrolled in informatics degree programs at Indiana University's campuses in Indianapolis, Bloomington and South Bend. For more information, visit the School's Web sites: www.informatics.indiana.edu; www.informatics.iupui.edu; www.informatics.iusb.edu