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Phil Tippett (born 1951) is a movie director and an award-winning Visual effects Supervisor and Producer, who specializes in creature design and character animation.[1]

Contents

Early career

Tippett was born in Berkeley, California. At the age of seven, Phil saw Ray Harryhausen's special effects classic, The Seventh Voyage of Sinbad, and his life's direction was set. Phil completed a Bachelor's degree in Art at the University of California, Irvine, and went to work at the animation studio Cascade Pictures in Los Angeles.

In 1978, Phil headed the ILM animation department with Jon Berg for Star Wars Episode V: The Empire Strikes Back. Tippett used Stop-motion to animate the sinister Imperial Walkers and the hybrid alien Tauntaun. In 1981 Tippett co-developed the animation technique called Go-Motion for Dragonslayer, and received his first Academy Award nomination for the extraordinarily realistic dragon animation. By 1983 Tippett led the famed Lucasfilm creature shop for Return of the Jedi for which he was awarded his first Oscar in 1984.

In 1983 Tippett Studio was born when Phil left ILM and set up a studio in his garage to create a 10-minute experimental film called Prehistoric Beast. The realism of the dinosaurs it depicted and the film's reflection of contemporary scientific theory led to the 1985 CBS animated documentary Dinosaur! Tippett Studio won its first award, an Emmy for Special Visual Effects, for the animated dinosaur sequences.

In 1986 producer Jon Davison hired Tippett to create the animated robot sequences for RoboCop. Craig Hayes was simultaneously hired to design and build the ED-209 robot. This project became the start of a long and successful collaboration between Phil and Craig. He also modeled the Dark Overlord creatures seen in Howard the Duck.

Stop motion animation to CGI

In 1991, Phil was hired to create the dinosaur effects for the Steven Spielberg blockbuster Jurassic Park using his Go motion technique made famous in the film Dragonslayer. However, Dennis Muren and his CGI team at Industrial Light & Magic created animated test footage of a T-Rex that Spielberg loved.

When Tippett was told that Jurassic Park dinosaurs would be computer-generated, he was shocked, exclaiming "I've just become extinct" (a line Spielberg borrows and uses in the movie).[2] Far from being extinct, Tippett evolved as Stopmotion animation gave way to Computer-generated imagery or CGI, and because of Phil's background and understanding of animal movement and behavior, Spielberg kept Tippett on to supervise the animation on 50 dinosaur shots for Jurassic Park. Phil supervised both the Tippett Studio and ILM animators, resulting in realistic digital dinosaurs that breathe, flex, twitch and react. His effort earned him a second Oscar. Work done on Jurassic Park resulted in the development by Tippett Studio's Craig Hayes of the DID (Digital Input Device) which was pivotal in the transition from stop-motion to computer generated animation in bringing creatures to life.

In 1995, Tippett Studio was hired to create the giant, hostile alien arachnids in Paul Verhoeven's adaptation of Robert A. Heinlein's classic science fiction novel Starship Troopers. Tippett marshaled a team of 100 animators, model makers, computer artists and technicians and expanded his all-CGI facility. Because of the intensity of his involvement, and his ability to pre-visualize the hoards of teeming arachnids, Verhoeven has credited Phil with co-directing the large-scale battle sequences for the film. The excellence of this work resulted in Tippett's sixth nomination in 1997 for an Academy Award.

During 1997-98, Phil supervised animation and effects for Universal’s Virus and Disney’s My Favorite Martian. In 1998-99 he and Craig Hayes co-supervised the visual effects on Jan De Bont's, The Haunting, for Dreamworks. Under Phil and Craig's lead, Tippett Studio created over 100 complex effects shots that expressed the horrific character of the house and the spirits that live there.

In 2000, Phil joined director Ivan Reitman as the Visual Effects Supervisor on the Dreamworks sci-fi comedy, Evolution. In just under a year, Tippett Studio designed, realized and animated over 17 extraterrestrial creatures in 175 shots.

Throughout 2001 and into 2002, Phil changed direction to focus on developing and directing his own movie. Phil achieved this with Starship Troopers 2, by partnering with his long time associates writer, Ed Neumeier, and producer Jon Davison, with whom he worked on the original Starship Troopers and Robocop.

References

  1. ^ "Phil Tippett Biography". http://www.lightsabre.co.uk/Interviews/philtippettbiography.htm. Retrieved 2005-10-10.  
  2. ^ 2Shay, Don and Duncan, Jody. Ballantine Books 1993 "The Making of Jurassic Park" Softcover page 53, first paragraph

External links

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