Aaron Estrada



CTO/CG Supervisor at Pivot VFX, Lecturer at University of New Mexico

Bio Summary:

In 1981 Aaron Estrada moved to Mexico with his family. In Mexico he started using BASIC code on an Atari 400 to make graphics. The technology that he had available wasn’t strong enough to handle what he wanted to do. When his family moved back to the United States he found technology that was a little stronger but still didn’t do what he wanted to achieve the results he wanted in graphics. It wasn’t until the Amiga computer came out that he felt that he could finally make graphics that he had seen as a child. It was a reference from his video-engineer that helped get him a job at Art Data where he set up their 3D –animation department.

Early Life/Family:

Aaron talks about being 10 or 11 when his interest in computer graphics started. In 1981 his father got a job in Mexico and they moved there. They ended up moving back to the United States. It was his dad that suggested that Aaron go to Dreamworks.


College in Idaho, Night Classes at Junior College in Moorpark

Career Outline:

Model Builder/Intern at Dreamquest Images 1994 -1995
Le C.G. Artist at Art Data Interactive 1995 -1996
C.G. Department co-supervisor/Artist at DreamWorks SKG 1996-1998
Lead C.G. Artist (Generalist) at Sony Development 1999-2001
C.G. Generalist at Threshold Digital Research Labs 2001-2002
Lead Lighter/TD at Nickelodeon 2002-2003
C.G. Lighter at Dreamworks Animation 2003-2008
C.G. Generalist at Rhythm and Hues 2008
Senior Lighting and Compositing TD 2008 to 2012
Lecturer at University of New Mexico 2011 to present
CTO/C.G. Supervisor 2012 to present

Comments On Style:

Aaron mentions being exposed to the NASA Voyager “Grand Tour” visualizations which he thought was cool.

Personality: Aaron talks about having a “do it yourself attitude,” which is the idea you get when you read his bio. A lot of what you read is about him trying to figure it out on his own from writing code on his Atari up until finally getting the results he wanted with graphics when the Amiga came out.


In his Bio Aaron mentions the time before Art Data went under. An opportunity had opened up in Dreamworks. His dad had suggested that he go to Dreamworks for a Job. Aaron sent in a demo reel and was able to get an audience with Harve Bennett and Dan Faucett. He suggested using computer graphics for their show Invasion America. He hadn’t heard from them after for a while after the meeting. With ADI coming closer to an end he wanted to move on. It wasn’t until his dad suggested he make friends at Dreamworks. His Dad introduced him to Brad and Keith who were interested in CGI. The three of them made a CGI demo and submitted it to Dreamworks management. The Demo made it into Stephen Spielberg’s hands. Aaron, Brad, and Keith were then given a budget to create a CGI Department.

Miscellaneous: Interests include: Movies, photography, wood work, metal work, cars, computers, and programming.

*Visual Effects*
The Rake (short) (visual effects) 2012
Journey 2: The Mysterious Island (lighting and compositing) 2012
Haley (short) (visual effects producer) 2011
Cats & Dogs: The Revenge of Kitty Galore(lighting and compositing) 2010
G-Force (lighting and compositing technical director: SPI) 2009
Kung Fu Panda (lighting and compositing) 2008
Bee Movie (lighting and compositing) 2007
Flushed Away (lighting and compositing) 2006
Over the Hedge (character rigger - uncredited, lighting and compositing) 2006
Shark Tale (lighting and compositing) 2004
Kusah Hakwaan (visual effects supervisor) 1999
Chess Wars (Video Game) (visual effects supervisor) 1996
Earth 2 (TV series) (miniature construction - 1 episode) 1994

*Camera and Electrical Department*
The Rake (short) (additional photography, gaffer) 2012
Steve McQueen: The Essence of Cool (TV documentary) (additional camera 2005

Lion (short) 2003
Some Days (short) 2003

*Animation Department*
The Beatles Yellow Submarine Adventure (lead animatore) 2000
Rock-A-Doodle (line tester) 1991

Some Days (short) 2003

*Editor *
Some Days (2003)

Alburquerque: The Unknown (documentary short) 2010


Related Links:


Bibliographic References:

Contributors To This Listing: Luis Diaz

Animators Hall of Fame