Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)

Ben Snow is a visual effects specialist of Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), who served as computer effects artist on Star Trek Generations. His very first project he worked on, after being hired by ILM, he was made responsible for rendering and lighting the by Stewart Lew and Scott Frankel built CGI version of the USS Enterprise-B, featured in the scenes where it interacted with the Nexus. [1](X)

Career outside Star Trek

When Snow was a youth he read an article in an issue of American Cinematographer of renowned ILM staffer Dennis Muren of Star Wars fame, which made him decide to seek a career in the motion picture industry, though he knew he had a long road ahead of him, from a backwater Australian farm to ILM in San Francisco, USA. With the support of his parents, who suggested the move Snow majored in Computer Science and Film at the University of Canberra and set out, taking the trans-Mongolian railway from Hong Kong, for London, UK. He eventually found employment as a "runner" for several small companies, earning enough money to travel Europe for awhile, until finding a more substantial position at a small computer graphics house, Moving Picture Company, where he stayed until 1991. [2](X)

With the experience gained there, he returned to Australia where he headed the computer animation department for the Sydney based company Conja, making commercials and station identification sequences for television, including the title sequence of the ABC program Beyond 2000. "Initially, I was the only guy in the department, so I was a jack of all trades. So, although I came in from programming, I did modeling, animation and lighting. We mostly worked on commercials and elaborate title sequences for Beyond 2000, a science and technology show. It was a tremendous learning experience.", Snow recalled, discovering he did not wanted to do animation, but programming effects, "I animated little soccer players using roto-animation. I did a terrible job." [3](X) His employer sent him in 1993 to the computer graphics conference, SIGGRAPH, in Los Angeles, where he was invited by a friend, who just got hired by ILM, to attend a party thrown by ILM. Snow's friend suggested that he submit a demo reel to ILM, which eventually resulted in him being hired, with Star Trek Generations, his first assignment.

After being hired by ILM in 1993, Snow has never left the company, having moved over to the USA with his wife, and later became the CGI and visual effects supervisor on a number of films, including Deep Impact (1998, with James Cromwell, Denise Crosby and Kurtwood Smith), The Mummy (1999, with Erick Avari and music by Jerry Goldsmith), Galaxy Quest (1999, with Matt Winston), Star Wars: Episode II – Attack of the Clones (2002), King Kong (2005), Iron Man (2008, with Faran Tahir and Bill Smitrovich), its 2010 sequel, Pirates of the Caribbean: On Stranger Tides (2011) and Noah (2014). By 2012, his work on these productions had earned Snow no less than 22 award nominations (four Academy Awards, two BAFTA Awards, five Saturn Awards, a Hollywood Film Festival Award, two Phoenix Film Critics Society Awards, two Satellite Awards, and six VES Awards), in the end only winning two of them, a 2003 Saturn Award for Attack of the Clones, and a 2008 Hollywood Film Festival Award for Iron Man.

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