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Blue Sky/VIFX or Blue Sky|VIFX, as was its proper representation of its denomination, was a visual effects house that was formed in August 1997, when Los Angeles based effects company VIFX/Video Image, the year previously purchased by 20th Century Fox, acquired New York based animation house Blue Sky. Holding company Fox decided to merge the two companies, though both original components kept their respective bases of operations, with the New York branch, renamed as Blue Sky|VIFX (East). Richard Hollander, one of the original founders of VIFX, took over as President of combination, while Blue Sky's former President, David Boyd Brown, took on the position of CEO. Both companies, one being relatively young (VIFX was founded in 1984, whereas Blue Sky was founded in 1996), produced visual effects using the at the time relatively new technique of computer generated imagery (CGI), though Blue Sky also maintained a physical model shop at its eastern branch.

In 1998, Star Trek producers decided to execute all visual effects for the upcoming feature film, that was to become Star Trek: Insurrection, in CGI. As hitherto regular effects supplier Industrial Light & Magic was unavailable at the time, their capacity being taken up by a new Star Wars installment, new suppliers had to be found. Due to the workload involved with creating these effects, it was decided to split it up between two effects houses. Santa Barbara Studios, with prior experience in the Star Trek–franchise, was chosen to do the outer space sequences whereas the new company was chosen to do the planet-bound effects, which also included creating the CGI versions of the Federation holoship, the Son'a shuttle, the Ba'ku hummingbird and the Rhyl, as well as the interior shots of the Son'a collector.

In 2001, the Blue Sky half of the company provided services for the first season of Star Trek: Enterprise

The new combination did not really pan out well as Digital Artist David Stephens later clarified, "At the time of ST9, 20th Century Fox had acquired both VIFX and Blue Sky. We went under the combined name “Blue Sky | VIFX” for about a year, but the companies were never actually integrated together in any meaningful way. Later, Fox sold off VIFX to Rhythm & Hues while opting (rather wisely) to keep Blue Sky and pursue the feature animation market." [1]

By 2000, the split-off was accomplished. In its short lifespan the combination has worked on productions like Blade, Armageddon, and The Astronaut's Wife. Prior to the merger VIFX had credits to its name like Predator 2, Terminator 2: Judgement Day, Clear and Present Danger as well as the blockbuster Titanic. [2] Due to its short lifespan at the time Blue Sky had only three credits up till then, among others Alien Resurrection. [3]

Star Trek: Insurrection staff

Note: this list is currently incomplete
  • Caleb Howard – Sr. Technical Director
  • Mark Baldo – Animation Supervisor
  • Jim Breshnahan – Senior Animator
  • Cheryl Budgett – Composting Supervisor
  • Dave Chamberlain – Model Maker
  • Raphael Colón – Digital Compositor
  • Shaun Cusick – Model Maker
  • Mykel Denis – Model Maker
  • Doug Dooley – Digital Modeler
  • Tom Griep – Model Maker
  • Laura Grijalva – Model Painter
  • Richard Hollander – President/Senior Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Max Ivings – Digital Supervisor
  • Gregory Jein – Model Maker (subcontractor)
  • Jim Key – Model Maker/Designer (subcontractor)
  • John Kilkenny – Visual Effects Producer
  • Mitch Kopelman – Digital Effects Supervisor
  • Carlyle Livingston – Model Shop Supervisor
  • Logan Payne – Model Crew Chief
  • Robert Rioux – Digital Modeler
  • Edwin Rivera – Compositing Supervisor
  • Mark Rodahl – Digital Effects Supervisor
  • Jim Rygiel – Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Rick Sander – Digital Artist [4]
  • Christopher Scollard – Digital Effects Supervisor
  • David Stephens – Digital Artist
  • Dave Walvoord – Senior Technical Director
  • Tamara Waters – Model Maker
  • Kurt Zendler – Model Painter

Further reading

External links