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

Ronald "Ron" Albert Gress (born 10 March 1942; age 79) was a Special and Visual effects artist who has specialized in studio model painting, matte painting, and digital painting, eventually becoming visual effects art director/supervisor. Gress has contributed to the production of two Star Trek films.

A 1972 Fine Arts graduate from the University of California, Berkeley, Gress got his first professional motion picture industry employment at Douglas Trumbull's Entertainment Effects Group (EEG) in 1979, where he was hired as model painter, after the studio models moved there from Magicam. There he worked on the various studio models used in the production of Star Trek: The Motion Picture, among others the air tram, as well as applying the large Klingon symbol on the bottom of the K't'inga class model. Though not having received official credit for the production, he has made a significant contribution, when he was appointed assistant to lead painter Paul Olsen of the refit-Enterprise model, and was responsible for the application of the paint job on the secondary hull. [1]

In 1996, while employed at Digital Domain, Gress came full circle when he was appointed as Visual Effects Art Director to oversee the visual effects for the last Star Trek feature that took place in the prime universe, Star Trek Nemesis, directing among others the crash scene of the USS Enterprise-E and the Scimitar.

Career outside Star Trek

After EEG became Boss Film Studios in 1984, Ron Gress continued on in the same capacity for two more years, working on productions like The Adventures of Buckaroo Banzai Across the 8th Dimension (1984, with several other Trek alumni including Gregory Jein, Mark Stetson, Christopher Lloyd, and Robert Ito, among others), and 2010 (1984). In 1985 he joined former EEG co-worker Mark Stetson's company, Stetson Visual Services, and has worked on productions like Die Hard (1988, with Bruce MacRae), The Hunt for Red October (1990, again with Jein and MacRae, as well as with Alan McFarland and future Star Trek illustrator John Eaves), Batman Returns (1992) and True Lies (1994).

After a three-year stint as independent contractor, Gress joined Digital Domain in 1996, working among others on Nemesis. Gress stayed in the employment of Digital Domain for ten years, and it was there that Gress made the transition from creating visual effects the traditional was to creating visual effects digitally. Apart from Nemesis, Gress has worked on big productions like The Fifth Element (1997, reuniting him with Mark Stetson), Armageddon (1998), The Time Machine (2002), and Flags of Our Fathers (2006)

In 2009, Gress moved to Beijing, China, where he was lecturer at the Beijing Film Academy for two years (2009-2011), and has worked on various Chinese movie projects. Presently, he is dividing his time between Beijing and Hollywood as he also works on the television show Boardwalk Empire, that, as of 2012, was still in production. Gress was prominently featured in the 2011 documentary Sense of Scale (mentioning his involvement with The Motion Picture), in which several fellow model makers discussed their craft, also featuring Mark Stetson, Greg Jein, Pat McClung, Bruce MacRae and Gene Rizzardi.

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