About the Author
Oscar-winning filmmaker Chris Landreth is a CG pioneer who works with clients like DreamWorks and LinkedIn.
When Chris was a young boy, he was given a battery of psychological tests to determine what he might be when he grew up. He was found to have "mixed brain dominance." When Chris later discovered computers, he found that while he used a tablet with his left hand, he used a mouse with his right. This mixed-up brain behavior has since become a staple of Chris's career path. He first flexed his left brain to receive an MS degree in theoretical and applied mechanics from the University of Illinois. Then he helped develop a fluid measurement technique called particle image velocimetry.
But soon enough, Chris's right brain asserted itself. He discovered computer animation when he met Professor Donna Cox at the National Center for Supercomputing Applications (NCSA). Chris then created his first short film, The Listener (1991). Chris decided then that animation was the best way to entertain both sides of his brain.
In 1994, Chris joined Alias Inc. (now Autodesk Inc.) as an in-house artist, where he defined, tested, and abused their animation software as it was developed. Chris's work was a driving force behind Maya 1.0. During this period, Chris directed the end, which was nominated for an Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and Bingo, which earned a Canadian Genie Award.
Chris then created and directed the animated short film Ryan (2004). It pioneered a style he calls "psychorealism," using surreal CG imagery to show the psychology of its characters. Ryan received the 2005 Academy Award for Best Animated Short Film, and over 60 other awards. In 2009, Chris released The Spine, a film nominated for a Canadian Genie award. His latest film is Subconscious Password, a psychological exploration of how we remember the names of old friends.
Chris continues to be obsessed with both new techniques in CG and new ways in telling stories with these techniques. An expert in facial animation, Chris developed a course called Making Faces, which he has taught at Dreamworks Animation, Seneca College, the University of Toronto, and the Ecole George Melies in Paris.