Nico Scapel

Occupation/ Title:
Creative Director, Character Rigger, Character Technical Director

Biographic Summary:
Nico Scapel is a visual effect artist. Former Head of Rigging team at Framestone recently joins Faceshift, the media production company in London, United Kingdom as the creative director. Some of his known works include Guardians of the Galaxy, Gravity, Iron Man 3, Where the Wild Things Are, Harry Potter 7.

Early Life/ Family:
Born and raised in Marseille, France, Nico holds Masters Degrees from Ecole Centrale, Ecole Normale and Stanford with specialization in Artificial intelligence, Graphics and Computer vision. Speak five languages: English, French, German, Romanian, and Chinese. He lives in Camden, London with his wife and two kids.

Educational/ Training:
Stanford University, MS, Computer Science (2001)
Ecole Normale Supérieure, MS, Image Processing (1999)
Ecole Centrale Paris, MS, Engineering, Applied Mathematics (1999)
Lycée Marseilleveyre, BS in Science

Career Outline:
Joined DreamWorks right after graduating from Stanford where he worked for two years as a Senior Character TD and another three years as the Character TD Lead developing template rig and streamlined process. He also worked with R&D team to develop next-generation integrated rigging application and CG creature pipeline. After leaving DreamWorks Scapel started working as a character rigger at Framestore. After a year there he became a supervisor in rigging department supervising a team of over 20 riggers, delivering over 200 characters. Under a course of nine months Scapel got promoted and became Head of Rigging Department. Scapel left for Faceshift after working at Framestore for over 8 years, helping the company with their studio start up in the UK focusing on real-time avatars R&D.

Comments on style: Nico has been at the forefront of CG creature development and new technology adoption at the studio. Over the past few years, he and his team have built a powerful, flexible and artist friendly in-house rigging system – effectively breaking down any rig into reusable code and data components. The rigging can deliver a wide variety of complex rigs with fast turnaround not only to animation, but to previs, tracking, simulation, and mocap departments.




• Also known as Nicholas Scapel
• He is also a keen drummer (has band experience) and painter (according to his twitter account, he starts a personal project to do a painting every Sunday.
• Publications
Surface Simplex Meshes for 3D Medical Image Segmentation
International Conference on Robotics and Automation April 1, 2000
Authors: Nico S., J. Montagnat, H. Delingette, N. Ayache
An approach to medical image segmentation using deformable simplex mesh models with adaptive topology.
The Wig System
Siggraph July 31, 2005
Authors: Nico S., Terran Boylan
Initially developed for "Shrek 2," the Wig System is a flexible and highly controllable hair animation and simulation tool that is specifically suited for the demands of feature-film animation. US Patent 7872654

• Have one of his invention patented: Animating hair using pose controllers, 2008

2014 Jupiter Ascending (head of rigging: Framestore)
2014 Paddington (head of rigging: Framestore)
2014 Dracula Untold (head of rigging: Framestore)
2014 Edge of Tomorrow (head of rigging: Framestore)
2014 Guardians of the Galaxy (head of rigging: Framestore)
2013 47 Ronin
2013 RoboCop
2013 Galaxy ‘Chauffeur’
2013 Gravity (rigging supervisor: Framestore)
2013 Iron Man 3 (rigging: Framestore - as Nicholas Scapel)
2012 Wrath of the Titans (head of rigging: Framestore)
2011 Sherlock Holmes: A Game of Shadows (head of rigging: Framestore)
2011 Captain America: The First Avenger (head of rigging: Framestore)
2011 Johnny English Reborn
2011 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 2
2010 The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader (head of rigging: Framestore)
2010 Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1 (head of rigging: Framestore)
2010 Clash of the Titans (head of rigging: Framestore)
2010 Nanny McPhee Returns (head of rigging)
2010 Prince of Persia
2009 Avatar
2009 Where the Wild Things Are (character rigger: Framestore)
2008 The Tale of Despereaux (rigging supervisor)
2008 Madagascar: Escape 2 Africa (character technical director)
2008 Kung Fu Panda (character technical director)
2008 The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian (character technical director) / (rigger: Framestore CFC)
2006 Over the Hedge (lead character technical director)
2005 Madagascar (character technical director)
2004 Shrek 2 (character technical director)
2003 Shrek 4-D (Short) (character technical director)

Honors and Awards:
2004, Dreamworks Technical Achievement Award
2011, Visual Effect Society Awards (VES), Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture for “Harry Potter and the Deathly Hollows: Part 1 - Dobby”

Relate Links:

Bibliographic References:

Contributor to this listing:
Nattaya Mathitak

Animators Hall of Fame