Subject: Wes Ford Takahashi
Strangely his birth date is very illusive, sources lead that he is about 50 years old as 0f 2014. No given date.
He currently works as an VFX animation supervisor for various companies and works as an interm at ITU.
Visual Effects Animator/ Animation Supervisor
While his early life is widely unknown it is suggested that he lived in Massachesetts and attended Hampsire Collage with the intention of becoming an animator before his transfer into UCLA. Interested in bringing life to animation in nontraditional ways he took interest in the budding digital arts being developed at around the time Pixar and Jhon Lasseter were developing the first steps of CGI. Hoever the technology was still in its infancy but it showed promise for what was being done with movies just a few years prior like Star Wars. After Graduating he worked on several unnamed projects until being picked up as an assistant animator to work on American Pop. His work cemented his interest in visual-effects and digital composition which would bear fruit about five years later. Still working in the 2D animation field for TV shorts such as Heathciff and the Catillac Cats he was unsatisfied with his work until he finally joined ILM.
In his opening years at ILM he began as an animation supervisor for the Goonies working on animating the pirate ship sequences. As VFX grew in popularity he developed his skills in digital animation and composition in future films such as the Indiana Jones Trilogy, back to the Future, and the abyss. Each project growing in complexity and the demand of 3D digital animation grew. The end result was evident in the abyss when the crew encountered a water monster, largely impossible in most traditional means. In his composting and animation career he also worked on Who framed roger rabbit which went outside of the ILM studio.
The 90's marked the end of Wes's involvement with ILM for the most part, and started his work in various studios as an animation supervisor and the occasional actor for Rob Schneider films at the end of the decade. At this time he worked on a few projects which are the best representations of his work. Namely The Mask, The Frighteners, and Star trek VI. All of which included animation using various models such as a space ship, ghosts in walls, and the exaggerated expressions of the mask harboring back to his days working on films like Who Framed Roger Rabbit. He would later be acknowledged for his work in the Frighteners being nominated for a Saturn award for best VFX.
In the new Millennium his work changed dramatically. Working on games such as Eragon and films like S. Darko he took a step back from animation and played more minor roles for these films most as an observer overseeing the animation. However during this time he helped establish Weta in new Zealand after his work on the Frighteners with Peter Jackson that would later be known for such digital effects as Gollum from Lord of the Rings and Cesar from Planet of the Apes. In the last few years he joined ITU as an interm for story development and he today still enjoys working in the industry on various films as an external art director and supervising animator.
Although his early life is still unclear from what I have gathered his quote says it best:
“I definitely have a lot of respect for academics. My father was a military man who spent part of his life in military education. After retiring from being a military intelligence officer, he worked in education for the Army. However, I was always more creatively bent. Always more interested in production, film, and getting involved in animation in particular since I was in school,” adds Takahashi. ”
Hampshire College in Massachesetts and UCLA which contributed to learning computer graphics before 3D feature films or digital composting.
In the early 80's Takahashi began his career as an assistant animator for the film American Pop, and doing storyboards for Heathciff and Catillac cats. Shortly after he began working for ILM with the knowledge he gained from the beginnings of CGI at UCLA. For the next ten years he worked with ILM starting with the Goonies and ending with The Abyss as an animation supervisor. For the next ten years he worked for various visual-effects companies such as Helium VFX and hammerhead as a CGI animator and supervisor. As the industry grew he began to gain more work as a professional overseeing the composition of VFX on various picture. Today he still works as a VFX supervisor and educator for visual arts at ITU.
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His work greatly ranges from project to project but the best discription of his style is versitile. From Blockbusters such as Indiana Jones and Back to the Furture which required close attention to detail and realistic performances he can also create outrageous exaggeration like in the Mask. His trademark characters are illusive: ghosts, a exaggerated cartoon version of Jim Cary, and the water creature from the Abyss are all mystifying and outside the realm of the ordinary.
Star Wars effects and Looney Tunes style cartoons.
Generally serious in nature and grew up in a military household he is strong willed and well disciplined. However he is also unafraid to explore unknown territory and enter in roles that may be comedic in nature.
He was part of The Gang of 4 who were Steve Williams, TyRuben Ellingson, Wes Takahashi, and Mark Dippé (Du-pay). Leaders at ILM. (Open Source Hollywood)
“There were like 3 people who flew to England to recruit: Wes Takahashi, Tom Williams and Ellen Poon” (In reference to the Casper film but no official recognition. )
When out business slowed down I was hired by another ILM alum, Wes Takahashi. Wes was helping build an animation house in Tokyo and we had a great experience teaching traditional artists how to use their skills for computer animation. (Open source Hollywood)
“The Frighteners” is also a chance for Jackson to wield his visual-effects wand in another, very different genre, with a little help from Wes Takahashi, who stepped in when the team got behind schedule (he was working for George Lucas’ company Industrial Light and Magic at the time). (FilmYap.com)
“The actual animation was done by Wes Takahashi at Industrial Light and Magic” (in refrence to the Enterprise) (StarTrek.com)
Unconfirmed but interesting a few of these films he worked on he was never officially mentioned:
Special effects supervisor WES TAKAHASHI has been the effects animation supervisor on such films as *Ghostbusters II, Who Framed Roger Rabbit*, the *Back To The Future *trilogy, *Indiana Jones And The Temple of Doom, Meteor Man, Memoirs Of An Invisible Man, Hook, The Rocketeer, Cocoon, The Witches Of Eastwick, The Abyss* and many others.
Takahashi served as computer graphic animator on *The Mask, Star Trek Generations *and *Indian In The Cupboard*. Educated at Hampshire College in Massachusetts and UCLA, he has worked with many of the industry's leading animation studios and effects facilities, including Hanna-Barbera, Colossal, USFX, Boss Films, Pixar, and ILM, and has contributed to a number of animated feature films, including *Lord Of The Rings* and *American Pop*. (Filmscouts.com)
The below details unconfirmed and currently have no official backing but exist none the less at ITU's website where Takahashi works as a professor:
Wes Takahashi has been with ITU since 2011 and has over 30 years of experience working in the field of animation and visual effects
Wes designed the visual effects for the Delorean’s Time Travel sequence in all 3 Back to The Future films and was responsible for animating the Dreamwork’s logo of the boy on the moon. Wes was hired by Robert Zemeckis and Universal to VFX Supervise Peter Jackson’s “The Frightners” and helped establish Ne w Zealand’s WETA Digital Studios. He has headed up story teams that have included the directors for Madagascar, Open Season, Shrek 3 and 4, Kung Fu Panda and Megamind. He has art directed for game studios and most recently has been supervising, producing, and visual effects supervising many animated and live action productions in both film and television. His screen credits span the film franchises of Back to The Future, Cocoon, Indiana Jones, and Star Trek and also include such films as; The Abyss, The Mask, Who Framed Roger Rabbit, Hook, The Rocketeer, Top Gun and Empire of the Sun.
*Wes Takahashi *(Producer): AVATAR (he set up the studio Weta Digital), also ran George Lucas’s animation department at ILM for 10 years. (cyboars Unconfirmed)
Unconfirmed but some parts seem logical:
They really weren't big again until the 90's when they doubled, then doubled again, the size of their CG department. And that's also when they basically downsized their fx animation staff to one...Wes Takahashi ( forums.ilmfan.com)
*Black November* (visual effects producer: Helium VFX) 2012
*What Women Want *(on-set visual effects supervisor) 2011
*S. Darko* (visual effects producer) 2009
*Dr. Doolittle: Million Dollar Mutts *
(Video) (visual effects producer: The Animation Picture Company) 2009
*Tropic Thunder *(visual effects producer: Hammerhead - uncredited) 2008
*Dr. Doolittle: Tail to the Chief *(Video) (Visual effects producer) 2008
*Big Stan *(actor, Bartender) 2007
**Eragon *(Video Game) (External Art Director) 2006
*Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo *(actor, News Reporter) 2005
*The Core *
(Animator: Hammerhead Productions – as Wes Ford Takahashi) 2003
*The Hot Chick *(actor, Reporter) 2002
*The Animal* (actor, Reporter) 2001
*The Frighteners *(Visual Effects Supervisor) 1996
*The Mask *(computer graphics animator) 1994
*The Meteor Man *(Animation supervisor) 1993
*Death Becomes Her *(Animation supervisor: ILM) 1992
*Memoirs of an Invisible Man *(animation supervisor) 1992
*Hook *(animation supervisor) 1991
*Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country *(animation supervisor) 1991
*The Rocketeer* (Animation supervisor) 1991
*Switch *(effects animation supervisor) 1991
*Back to the Future Part III *(animation supervisor) 1990
*The Abyss* (Animation supervisor: ILM) 1989
*Indiana Jones and The Last Crusade *(animation supervisor: ILM) 1989
*Back to the Future Part II *(animation supervisor: ILM) 1989
*Who Framed Roger Rabbit *(animation supervisor) 1988
*Cocoon: The Return *(animation supervisor: ILM) 1988
*Willow *(Animation supervisor: ILM) 1988
**Batteries Not Included* (Animator) 1987
*The Video Dead *(Video) (special photographic effects supervisor) 1987
*Solar Babies *(animation crew) 1986
*Top Gun *(animatior : USFX) 1986
*A Nightmare on Elm Street 2: Freddy's Revenge *(effects animator) 1985
*Back to the Future* (animation supervisor: ILM) 1985
*The Goonies *(animation supervisor: ILM) 1985
*Heathcliff & the Catallac Cats *(TV series) (Storyboard artist) 1984
*American Pop *(assistant animator) 1981
1997 Saturn Award Nomination for Best Special Effects in the Frighteners (1996)
++++Wes is an Annie award winning director who headed the Animation Dept. at Lucasfilm’s Industrial Light and Magic. (Unconfirmed, ITU.EDU)
TyRuben Ellingson ilmfan.com/articles/view/interview-with-tyruben-ellingson
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Animators Hall of Fame