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

Digital Muse was a contracted visual effects (VFX) production house that was responsible for creating the computer-generated, or digital, effects, commonly abbreviated to CGI (Computer-Generated Imagery), and computer animation, used a numerous episodes for the season four through seven run of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, and the season two through six run of Star Trek: Voyager. It was also contracted to do the special effects for the teaser trailer of Star Trek: Insurrection. John Gross and John Parenteau shared management of the company.

Based in Santa Monica, California, the company was founded by Gross and Parenteau in October 1995, after they had acquired the inventory of their former employer Amblin Imaging, which had closed its doors shortly before. Continuing for the franchise where Amblin, which had been providing CGI for Voyager's first season, had left off, the new company entered into a joint venture with VisionArt Design & Animation, which had done the same for the first three seasons of Deep Space Nine, in order to serve their main client, Star Trek, more efficiently and operated both companies under the new name – especially in regard to the by VisionArt created Odo morphing effects and those of the Bajoran wormhole. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 6, p. 48) During the run of Deep Space Nine's fourth and Voyager's second seasons, the new combination was effectively the sole regular supplier of CGI for the franchise. After Foundation Imaging was contracted by the franchise for Voyager from season three onward the following year, it was initially the intention was that the CGI workload for televised Star Trek was to be divided between Foundation for Voyager and Digital Muse for Deep Space Nine. In practice, however, the workload became such, especially in later seasons, that both companies were called upon to help each other out for specifically tasking episodes, resulting that both did CGI work for either series, the 1997 sixth season Deep Space Nine episode, "Sacrifice of Angels", being both the pivotal as well as the prime example. (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion (p. 501); Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 10, p. 67; et al.) Parenteau left the company in 1999 to help from a digital effects division for Hollywood Digital West.

Digital Muse closed down in February 2000 after a decision to sell a portion of the company to an internet company in order to raise capital backfired, resulting in a hostile take-over of the company. Gross opted to start over, leaving the company to found Eden FX with Digital Magic's Mark F. Miller. Digital Muse shut down the following week. [1] [2](X) The company was gearing up to start work on the seventh season of Voyager at the time; fortunately, however, Paramount Television owned the computer models which Digital Muse created, so Gross and his staff, most of whom following Gross to the new company, were able to simply copy the models onto their server at Eden FX, allowing the studio to continue their work with the franchise. [3](X) Many of the employees at Digital Muse also quit Muse to join Eden FX. It was VisionArt however, that fully fell victim to the circumstance, ending its existence with none of its employees moving over, with the by them created effects having in the meantime been converted in to the LightWave 3D software, the franchise standard CGI software package by then.

In its short lifetime, Digital Muse also did effects work for such films as The Devil's Advocate, Spawn (both 1997), and Battlefield Earth (2000) as well as television shows such as Sliders and The X-Files.


  • John Gross - Co-Owner/Founder, Visual Effects Supervisor
  • Bruce Branit (1995-2000, CGI Supervisor/Lead Animator)
  • John FK Parenteau - Co-Owner/Founder, Visual Effects Supervisor
  • John Daniel – Digital Effects Artist
  • Brian Fisher – Digital Modeler
  • Brad Hayes – Digital Effects Artist
  • Jeremy Hunt – CGI Animator
  • David Lombardi (1996-2000, Senior Artist/Digital Effects Supervisor)
  • Fred Pienkos (1999-2000, Digital Effects Artist)
  • Karen Sickles – Digital Effects Producer
  • Matt Scharf – Digital Effects Producer
  • John Teska (1995, Digital Effects Artist)
  • Eddie Robison – Digital Effects Artist
  • Greg Rainoff – Digital Effects Artist
  • Tim Wilcox (1998, Digital Effects Artist)
  • Adam Chrystie (Digital Effects Artist)

Further reading

External link