Arizona Alumni Magazine, Spring 2017

Enter the Future: The World of Virtual Reality VFX Industry Alumni

In the upcoming “War for the Planet of the Apes,” the movements of human actors are directly translated to computer-generated apes. The result is an astonishing realism — and a point of pride for Sheldon Smith ’09. Smith was working on the film as a VFX coordinator when we reached him by phone in Vancouver. His responsibilities range from going through storyboards and scripts to taking notes on the shooting. Later, he helps determine which shots are ready to be farmed out to the computer production houses; when they come back, he submits them to the director for approval. Like many UA alumni in the industry, Smith got a career boost from the Hanson Film Institute — and some lucky timing. While studying media arts, he had an institute internship that was established by John Kilkenny ’09, president of special effects at 20th Century Fox and a member of the Institute’s Industry Council.

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