Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
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Pixomondo LLC, also known as Pixomondo Visual Effects, is an international digital visual effects (VFX) company that has produced digital art for a number of Star Trek projects with headquarters in Los Angeles, California, USA.

The company was founded in 2001 by its CEO, Thilo Kuther, in Pfungstadt, Germany. Pixomondo produces VFX work for film, television and commercial uses. It currently operates studios in Beijing, Frankfurt, Los Angeles, Shanghai, Stuttgart, Toronto, and Vancouver.

Among many other industry awards, the company has won an Academy Award for the film Hugo and several Emmy Awards for the Game of Thrones series. Former Star Trek alumnus Joe Bauer served as the most senior VFX staffer for the latter series. For its work on the Star Trek: Discovery series, the company was nominated for two VES Awards in February 2018. It also provided the animation for the Star Trek: Short Treks episodes "The Girl Who Made the Stars" and "Ephraim and Dot".

Star Trek association

Star Trek Into Darkness

The LA branch of the company provided CGI effects for Star Trek Into Darkness, the company's first official involvement with the Star Trek franchise, alongside Atomic Fiction, Digital Caliber, Giant Studios, ILM, and Stereo D, among others. Ben Grossmann served as the company's senior VFX supervisor. [1]

Pixomondo became the lead visual effects company for the movie, marking the first time that ILM had relinquished that position for a Star Trek film that it was involved with, (citation needededit) as much of that company's capacity was taken up by the various Marvel Comics and Star Wars installments of the 2010s.

Star Trek: Discovery

Following CBS' February 2017 decision to pass over its own in-house VFX subsidiary, CBS Digital, and outsource the work, Pixomondo Toronto (as indicated by the "Canadian Production Services Tax Credit" in the end-credit roll of each episode) became the primary effects house for the Star Trek: Discovery series, though under supervision of the LA head quarters. [2] Though for other reasons, this was actually a case of Star Trek history repeating itself as predecessor and former franchise owner Paramount Pictures had passed over its VFX subsidiary FGC – which had co-provided the VFX for Star Trek: The Motion Picture – in 1981 in favor of ILM for the Star Trek films from Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan onward. Unlike CBS Digital, FGC went defunct immediately afterwards.

Pixomondo also supplies screen-used 3D studio models to Ben Robinson, the project manager of Eaglemoss Collections' Star Trek: Discovery The Official Starships Collection. [3]

Incidentally, the LA branch of the company also started from its second season onward to work for Seth MacFarlane's, heavily Star Trek: The Next Generation-inspired, science fiction show The Orville, [4] which in the meantime had become something of an unintended franchise competitor for Discovery.

Short Treks

Pixomondo provided the animation for the Star Trek: Short Treks episodes "The Girl Who Made the Stars" and "Ephraim and Dot".

Star Trek: Picard

The Artifact was rendered using 82,747,447,629 polygons

Pixomondo and CG supervisor Dan Smiczek were brought onto Star Trek: Picard very early in development, with a crew of approximately 50-75 designing the CG models for the Artifact and La Sirena. [5]

Other Star Trek connections

Prior to its first official involvement with the Star Trek franchise, Pixomondo had already served as a refuge for a number of former Star Trek digital artists, after both the Berman-era Star Trek and the Ronald D. Moore-era Battlestar Galactica live-action franchises had run their courses. After these series concluded, their respective effects houses, Eden FX and ZOIC Studios, were forced to lay off much of their staff, as a consequence.

Digital artists with a strong Star Trek pedigree who found a (temporary) new home at Pixomondo included Robert Bonchune, Pierre Drolet, David R. Morton, John F.K. Parenteau (formerly of Amblin Imaging and co-founder of Digital Muse, which went defunct before Eden FX) and Mitch Suskin. Excepting Drolet's short-lived preliminary contributions to Into Darkness, none of these other veterans have worked on Pixomondo's Star Trek commissions as of 2018, save Parenteau who was known to have worked on Into Darkness as well as "VFX Executive Producer", albeit uncredited. Drolet however, was shortly reacquainted with his former Pixomondo colleagues when he was sub-contacted by CBS Studios in 2017 as an independent contractor to help out as 3D modeler on the first two VFX heavy episodes of Discovery, though he received no credit for it. [6]

Instead, employees including Darrell Abney, Jan Adamczyk and Miro Skandera became professionally acquainted with the Star Trek franchise for the first time, when the company secured the commission for Star Trek Into Darkness. Former Pixomondo employee Ante Dekovic is serving as the studio's senior VFX supervisor for Star Trek: Discovery, where he was reunited with many of his former Pixomondo colleagues.


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