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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, Berlin and Frankfurt branches of the company provided CGI effects for Star Trek Into Darkness, the company's first official involvement with the Star Trek franchise. They were brought in to alongside Atomic Fiction, Digital Caliber, Giant Studios, Stereo D, Halon Entertainment and Kelvin Optical, Inc. to help out lead VFX company ILM with the digital visual effects for the film, as much of that company's capacity was taken up by the various Marvel Comics and Star Wars installments of the 2010s. Ben Grossmann served as the company's senior VFX supervisor on that film. [1]

Pixomondo became the second VFX company for the film after lead company ILM, becoming responsible for 343 digital effects shots split across 15 sequences of which Khan's attack on Starfleet Headquarters and his extraction from Qo'noS were the most memorable. (Cinefex, issue 134, pp. 72, 82 & 84)

The strength of their work on Into Darkness eventually led Pixomondo to become the lead VFX vendor on Kurtzman-era Star Trek. Grossman credited ILM for providing his company with a steep learning curve, "It was humbling to work next to one of the industry giants. We were always aware that ILM had more horsepower than our entire company combined, but we found ways to turn around the same quality of work and give J.J. the same level of creative freedom that he expected. It was definitively two different companies and two different approaches. The great thing was it was extremely collaborative. There weren't any egos between the two companies. We were working towards the same goal." (Cinefex, issue 134, p. 91)

  • Star Trek Into Darkness crew
    • Visual Effects Supervisor
      • Ben Grossmann
    • Visual Effects Producer
      • Richard Ivan Mann
    • On-Set Visual Effects Supervisor
      • Alex Henning
    • Digital Effects Supervisor
      • Adam Watkins
    • Compositing Supervisor
      • Dan Cobbett
    • Division Visual Effects Supervisors
      • David Burton
      • Simon Carr
      • Urs Franzen
      • Jörn Großhans
      • Thomas Lautenbach
      • Sven Martin
      • Saku Partamies
      • Michael Wortmann
    • Division Visual Effects Producers
      • Oliver Arnold
      • Laura Fitzpatrick
      • Sabrina Gerhardt
      • Pam Hammarlund
      • Annika Hirsch
      • Jing Li
      • Christopher Malessa
      • Franzisca Puppe
      • Christoph Zollinger
    • Global VFX Coordinators
      • Tommy Furukawa
      • Perry Kain
    • Visual Effects Editor
      • Brian Miller
    • Visual Effects Stereoscopic Supervisor
      • Del Depierro
    • Compositing TD
      • Tzuen Wu
    • Division Compositing Supervisor
    • Division Compositing Leads
      • Micah Gallagher
      • Mathew Giampa
      • Noll Linsangan
      • Igor Majdandzic
      • Stephan Schäfholz
    • Compositors
      • Xuzhen An
      • Zheng Bad
      • John Bowers
      • John Brubaker
      • Marco Castellani
      • Michael Dohne
      • Denny Ertanto
      • Kelly Fischer
      • Larkin Flynn
      • Florian Franke
      • Feng Gao
      • Tobias Gerdts
      • Ebru Gönül
      • Falk Hofmann
      • Dartayous Hunter
      • Chao Jiang
      • Niko Junge
      • Markus Kircher
      • Ivan Kokov
      • Patrick Kreuser
      • Wing Kwok
      • Yu Li
      • Qian Li
      • Anthony Lyons
      • Dirk Matzkuhn
      • Christophe Metz
      • Gonzalo Fernandez Moyano
      • Aymeric Perceval
      • Christian Pundschus
      • Thomas Martin Tallósy
      • Jonas Thorbrügge
      • Daniel Trezise
      • David Vivaldini
      • Sören Volz
      • Yanlin Wang
      • Lonni Wong
      • David Zaretti
      • Anton Zheltyakov
    • CG Supervisor
      • Enrico Damm
    • Division Lighting Leads
      • Rens Heeren
      • Benny Herudek
      • Hansoo Im
      • Jonas Nöll
      • Jiabin Tan
      • Tong Tran
    • Lighters
      • Ilya Astrakhan
      • Christian Bahr
      • Jürgen Billstein
      • Sergej C. Eichmann
      • David R. Espinoza
      • Daniel Fazel
      • Erik Fernando
      • Kevin George
      • Johannes Groß
      • Christof Müller
      • Manuel Rico-Freire
      • Tilo Spalke
      • Fikret Yildirim
    • CG Artists
      • Gareth Stevenson
      • Emerick Tackett
      • Vit Zelich
    • Modelers
    • Animation Supervisor
      • Sebastian Butenberg
    • Animators
      • Florian Friedmann
      • Berter Orpak
      • Bastian Wartenberg
    • Effects Supervisors
      • Pieter Mentz
      • Patrick Schuler
    • Effects Artists
      • Uli Baier
      • Andreas Bundenthal
      • Andy Byrne
      • Kevin Kim
      • Johanes Kurnia
      • Leon Loukeris
      • Dino Muhic
      • Danielle Romero
    • Look Development Artists
      • Max Riess
      • Guo-Feng Tang
    • Matte Painters
      • Damien Mace
      • Knuth Möde
      • Greg Szafranski
      • Bruno Werneck
    • Matchmove Supervisor
      • Steven Hansen
    • Division Matchmove Supervisors
      • Lianne Forbes
      • Martin Jurado
    • Matchmovers
      • Wenyi He
      • Dominik Müller
      • Ian Northrop
      • Johannes Weiß
      • Edward Yu
      • Wei Zhang
      • Peng Zhang
    • Roto/Paint Artist Supervisor
      • Lance Ranzer
    • Roto/Paint Artists
      • Annalyn Betinol
      • Jason Bond
      • Wally Chin
      • Trea Cotton
      • Bradley Gaines
      • Duff Chung-Pu Hsiao
      • Justin Pascal
      • Crystle D. Schrecengost
      • Dongyue Yang
    • TD
      • Le Zhang
    • Visual Effects Coordinators
      • Mona Mohr
      • Trina Renee
      • Marlies Schacherl
      • Adrian Steel
      • Yinai Sun
      • Shanshan Xie
      • Yunrong Yu
      • Momo Zhan
    • Visual Effects Global Production Manager
      • Natasha Ozoux
    • Visual Effects Executive Producers
      • Thilo Kuther
      • Christian Vogt
    • Uncredited
      • Eri Adachi – Compositor
      • Rose Adler – Matchmove Artist
      • Carlos Anguiano – Pipeline Developer
      • Aitor Arroyo – Nuke Artist
      • Florian Ast – Compositing Intern
      • Ando Avila – Compositor
      • Justin Ball – Compositor
      • Zheng Bao – Compositor
      • Steven Barthen – CG Intern
      • Brandon Bartlett – Division CG Supervisor
      • Fritz Beck – Lighting Artist
      • Daniel Blöcher – CG Artist
      • Ioan Boieriu – FX Artist
      • Konstantin Borchert – Compositor
      • Chloe Bostian – Matte Painter
      • Jason Bowers – Compositor
      • Aaron Burnitt – Systems Administrator
      • Sue Campbell – Animator
      • Kyle Cascadden – IT Trainee
      • Zhongwei Chen – Matchmove Artist
      • Cheng Cheng – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Sam Claitor – Compositing Trainee
      • Brian G. Curtis – Animator
      • Xu Dai – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Gilbert Dawson-Kesson – CG Artist
      • Harish Devnani – Compositor
      • Matt DiNardo – Compositor
      • Doris Ding – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Lucas di Rago – Digital Compositor
      • Maren Dolzmann – Visual Effects Coordinator
      • Pierre Drolet – Concept Designer/Modeler (pre-production)
      • Hugo Dominguez – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Sebastian Domula – Lighting Artist
      • Daniel Emmerich – CG Intern
      • Juan Antonio Espigares Enriquez – Compositor
      • Benjamin Ey – Division Visual Effects Producer
      • Maeve Eydmann – Matte Painter
      • Hsuanyi Fang – Matchmove Artist
      • Salina Farkas – Accounting
      • Junaid Farooq – FX Artist
      • Dean Faulder – Animator/Modeler
      • Phylicia Feldman – Compositor
      • Chad Finnerty – Visual Effects Supervisor Consultant/Animator
      • Felix Fissel – IT Manager
      • Brian Fortune – Compositor
      • Layne Friedman – Compositor
      • Maxi Fröhlich – Compositing Intern
      • Christopher Fulmer – Systems Administrator
      • Matthaeus Gamroth – Animator
      • Liwei Gao – CG Artist
      • Jan Glöckner – Compositor
      • Paolo Gnoni – CG Artist
      • Christian Godzik – FX Artist
      • Daniel Goertz – Pipeline Technical Director
      • Joanna N. Goslicka – Matchmove Artist
      • Björn Gottwald – Compositor
      • Elysia Greening – Compositor
      • Jonny Gu – Compositor
      • Phaneedra Gullapalli – Pipeline Developer
      • Benson Guo – Compositor
      • Thierry Hamel – Lead Matchmove and Environment TD
      • David Heimerl – Compositor
      • Andrea Hernandez – Division Lead Compositor
      • Nicholas Hiegel – Compositor
      • Isaac Hingley – Animator
      • Sebastian Hirsch – Matte Painter
      • Martin Höhnle – Matte Painter
      • Brian Holmes – Systems Administrator
      • Paul Hormis – Pipeline Technical Director
      • Craig Houston – Compositor
      • Gábor Hoványi – Compositor
      • Xiaoyong Hu – Matchmove Artist
      • Gary Huang – Render Wrangler
      • Xiandeng Huang – Compositor
      • Ali Ingham – Senior Visual Effects Production Coordinator
      • Florian Jackl – Systems Administrator
      • Robert Jackson – 2D Division Lead Compositor
      • Andrea Jamiel – Render Wrangler
      • Whan Je – i/o Coordinator
      • Henry Jefferson – Compositing Artist
      • Leo Jia – Animator/Modeler
      • Soyeon Olivia Jung – Rotoscope/Paint Artist/STereo Compositor
      • YeYoung Jung – Animator/Modeler
      • Christian Kalata – CG Artist
      • Sandro Kath – Compositor
      • James Kells – Compositor
      • Kolby Kember – Lighting and Shading Artist
      • Jun Young Kim – FX Artist
      • Dag Kjetsa – Compositor
      • Thomas Kleylein – FX Artist
      • Alexander Köhl – Digital Compositor
      • Christian Korneck – Systems Administrator
      • Sebastian Kral – Systems Administrator
      • Denis Kravtsov – Pipeline Developer
      • Lon Krung – Modeling and Texturing CG Artist
      • Norman Krüsmann – FX Artist
      • Michael Lankes – Compositor
      • Julius Lechner – FX Artist
      • Kenji Lee – Animator
      • Melissa Lee – Compositor
      • SeungJoo Lee – Compositor
      • Erik Lehmann – Texturing Artist
      • C.J. LePage – i/o
      • Jenny Leupold – CG Artist
      • Wenkang Li – Compositor
      • Zhunan Li – Visual Effects Coordinator
      • Jeff Lin – Animator
      • Kai Lin – Animator/Modeler
      • Benjamin Liu – FX Artist
      • Heng Liu – Animator/Modeler
      • Sunyan Liu – FX Artist
      • Jacob Lundmark – Roto/Paint Artist
      • Lap Van Luu – Systems Administrator
      • Chenchen Ma – Matchmove Artist
      • Zijun Ma – Roto/Paint Artist
      • Uwe Majer – Compositor
      • Fredrik Mannerfelt – Digital Compositor
      • Artur Margiv – Compositor
      • Jose Marin – Compositor
      • Natalie Meffert – Compositor
      • Felix Messerschmitt – Animator
      • Philip Meyer – Lighting Artist
      • Thomas Middleton – Digital Compositor
      • Brandon Miletta – Lighting Artist
      • Tobias Moenninger – Systems Administrator
      • Sven Müller – Lighting Artist
      • Alexa Müller-Heyn – Animator
      • Andrew Mumford – Compositor
      • Alex Murtaza – Matte Painter
      • Christine Neumann – Animator/Modeler
      • Giang T. Nguyen – Animator/Modeler
      • Kristin Nietzig – Division Accounting
      • Philip Nussbaumer – Division Lead Compositor
      • Fedor Odegov – Pipeline TD Post Production
      • Viktorija Ogureckaja – Visual Effects Global Production Manager
      • John F.K. Parenteau – VFX Executive Producer
      • Steve Parsons – Compositor
      • Bethany Pederson Onstad – Visual Effects Artist
      • Samuel Perez – Animator
      • Betsy Peters – Compositor
      • Hieu Phan – Roto/Paint Artist
      • Johannes Pink – Pipeline Technical Director
      • Leszek Plichta – Lighting Artist
      • Eleonora Principi – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Daniel Profus – i/o
      • Zhennan Quan – Matchmove Artist
      • Andy Quinn – Compositor
      • Sean Raffel – Animator/Modeler
      • Antonio Ramos – Digital Compositor
      • Sebastian Reichhold – FX Trainee
      • Johannes Retter – Compositing Intern
      • Caroline Riess – Human Resources
      • Rick Rische – Matte Painter
      • Duncan Rochfort – Visual Effects Editor
      • Marcus O. Roth – Division Visual Effects Producer
      • Alexander Rumpf – Roto/Paint Artist
      • Toshihiro Sakamaki – Animator
      • Juan Ignacio Salgado – Division Lead Compositor
      • Cara Samuels – Visual Effects Coordinator
      • Kai Schadwinkel – Lighting Artist
      • Sebastian Schäfer – FX Artist
      • Katja Schmidt – Division Accounting
      • Roman Schmidt – Division CG Supervisor
      • Silam Schmidt – Global Talent Manager
      • Karie Schwabl – Production Assistant
      • Diane Schwebs – Human Resources
      • Kino Scialabba – Designer: Legion Entertainment/Matte Painter
      • Benjamin Seide – Division Visual Effects Supervisor
      • Marcos Shih – 3D Matte Painter/Concept Artist
      • Jason Shulman – Animator
      • Alexandra Simmes – Motion Graphics Artist
      • Miro Skandera – Matchmove Artist
      • Sven Skoczylas – Lighting Artist
      • Tammy Smith – Compositor
      • Simia Song – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Roger Sparwasser – Lighting Artist
      • Mark Spindler – Compositor
      • Christopher Stack – i/o Manager
      • Michael Stark – FX Artist
      • Paul Stoll – Lighting Artist
      • Rainer Stolle – Matte Painter
      • Vladan Subotic – Animator
      • Haidong Sun – CG Artist
      • David Swift – Digital Matte Painter
      • Michael Thalmann – Head of IT
      • Duc Minh Tran – Animator
      • Tom Truscott – Compositor
      • Robert Tucker – Compositor
      • Jason Ullrich – Compositor
      • Claudius Urban – Senior Animator
      • Dirk Valk – Animator
      • Juliane Walther – Motion Graphics Trainee
      • Bill Wang – Visual Effects Coordinator
      • Cuiling Wang – Matchmove Artist
      • Huida Wang – Matte Painter
      • Hui Sophie Wang – Pipeline Intern
      • Steven Wang – CG Artist
      • John Watkins – Digital Effects Supervisor
      • Kaifeng Wei – Rotoscope/Paint Artist
      • Henry Weickert – Pipeline Technical Director
      • Claudia Weingärtner – Accounting
      • Florian Werzinski – Lighting Artist
      • Jon Wesström – Roto/Paint Artist
      • Patrick Wolf – Head of Pipeline
      • Sascha Wolf – i/o
      • Lonni Wong – Compositor
      • Carol Wu – Compositor
      • David Wu – Matchmove Artist
      • Runlin Xiong – Animator
      • Tou Yeng Xiong – Animator
      • Tolga Yalkir – Systems Administrator
      • Zhao Yang – Compositor
      • Seda Yilmaz – Coordination Trainee
      • Ben Ying – Visual Effects Compositor
      • Kei Yoneoka – FX Artist
      • Aiping Zhang – Compositor
      • Zhuotao Zhang – Matchmove Artist
      • Zihao Zhang – Matchmove Artist
      • Bin Zheng – Compositor
      • Carol Zhou – Animator
      • Jianghong Zhu – Compositor
      • Huajing Zhuo – Compositor
      • Xinguo Zou – Compositor

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] A promotional digital breakdown video short of the hugely detailed Artifact was posted by the company on the filesharing website YouTube. [6]

Pixomondo was not the only digital visual effects company working on the show. Reinforcements were secured in the form of the companies Crafty Apes, Double Negative, Filmworks/FX and Technicolor VFX. [7] Crafty Apes and Double Negative had already, along with other visual effects companies, assisted Pixomondo for all seasons of Star Trek: Discovery. [8]

  • Star Trek: Picard crew (as ascertained from YouTube video end credit roll and IMDb)
    • VFX Executive Producer
      • Perry Kain
    • VFX Producer
      • Dan Carbo
    • VFX Supervisor
      • Derek Spears
    • CG Supervisor
      • Dan Smiczek
    • Asset CG Supervisor
      • Nico Bauerschäfer
    • Digital Production Manager
      • Colin de Andrade
    • Division Digital Production Manager
      • Laura Dochtermann
    • Division CG Supervisors
      • Marc Roth
      • Prapanch Swamy
    • Senior Compositors
      • Tun-En Chen
      • Dan Knight
    • Compositors
      • Kyle Patrick Brown
      • Amy Davis
      • Duff Chung-Pu Hsiao
    • Digital Artists
      • Joseph Civitate
      • Omar Hesham
    • Previsualization Artists
      • Noah Sage Amrani
      • Ryan Walton
    • Environments Supervisor
      • Milan Schere
    • Senior Environment Artists
      • Niall Booker
      • Greg Szafranski
    • Lookdev Artists
      • Matthew Dale
      • Leonardo Ledesma
    • CFX Lead
      • Nathan Breton
    • FX Lead
      • Khi Kim
    • FX Artists
      • Kenneth Bailey
      • Nicholas King
    • VFX Editor
      • Nicole Cedic
    • Senior Animator
      • Nathan Hopkins
    • Poduction Accountant
      • Matt Hughes

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), Eric Hance, 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. [9]

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 employees Jason Michael Zimmerman, Ante Dekovic, and Star Trek veteran Eric Hance are serving as the studio's senior VFX supervisors for Kurtzman-era Star Trek, where they were reunited with many of their former Pixomondo colleagues.

Documentaries

Further reading

  • "Dark Side of the Earth", Joe Fordham, Cinefex, issue 134, pp. 70-91

External links

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