Jamie Clay Poster


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Overview (1)

Born in Georgetown, Washington, District of Columbia, USA

Mini Bio (1)

Gumby, Godzilla, HG Wells and Ray Harryhausen form the foundation of Jamie's love for special effects. With eyes glued to the magical images glowing from the TV, the seed was being planted deep. On a trip to California, when he asked how they made Gumby move, his father told him of stop-motion animation and gave him his first Gumby. It was that long ride back to Maryland where he fantasized about making his own Gumby movies.

Fireball XL5, Star Trek, Bewitched, Lost in Space and My Favorite Martin add fuel to his interests in special effects, so by 1966 armed with the family's 8mm movie camera, he finally got the chance to explore making films for himself.

There were a few attempts at stop motion animation but mostly you saw things disappear, explode and move about in an unnatural manner. As you might guess, there were many "test" reels with just a couple of "full feature films" getting produced.

When personal computers began to show up in the late '70s, he dove into the wonderful world of tape drives and basic programming, soon discovering that he had an unusual rapport with the beasts. The big project this decade was converting "Start Trek" the basic game over to the more contemporary "Battle Star Galactica" for the Pet 2000, many Cylons died that year, I'm here to say.

This talent eventually got him work at Autodesk, Inc. in 1986 in their Product Support group. During this time he became a key player in Autodesk's animation software development working with John Walker on Autodesk's first animation package, AutoFlix (for use with AutoCAD and AutoShade), and then moving on to do all the development on AutoFlix 2.0 which included the Animation Tool Kit for AutoCAD.

Using this early PC based animation software, along with Autodesk Animator, he helped Nano Technologist Eric Drexler (author of Engines of Creation) to visualize how nano machines might look. This animation was used in the BBC documentary "Little by Little" and was the first time an Autodesk animation product had been used for broadcast television.

Working closely with the Yost Group (the authors of Animator Pro and Autodesk's 3D Studio software), he assisted in the design and testing of the software, often defining the methods that could be used to achieve a wide range of special effects.

When 3D Studio was a few months away from release, Gary Yost realized a need to "production test" this new product, so thanks to his previous involvement with Autodesk Animator, he was given the "unofficial" duty to manage a collection of computers (not networked) that were quickly assembled for the making of "The Bored Room".

As far as anyone seems to know, the industry term "Render Farm" was coined during this production by Bob Bennett when he was commenting on Jamie's regular attire of farmer's bib coveralls.

Leveraging the production experience from "Bored Room" and producing many of the initial animations that Autodesk used to promote its products, Jamie founded and managed Autodesk's first internal team of digital artists whose charter was to do production testing with the byproduct of producing material for Autodesk's Marketing needs.

This production group grew to about 15 employees and went from a group with tech to an autonomous group reporting to the director of corporate marketing. They were producing everything from promotional CD ROMS to images for ads, posters and of course corporate videos - all the while delivering design testing and feedback for now a wide range of Autodesk's products, not just 3D Studio.

Realizing the potential for the burgeoning 3D effects market Jamie left Autodesk to pursue a new path using the tools he helped to create. In 1995 he opened up a small one man studio at "Jr. Walker Ranch" (in Lucas Valley) and founded "digital phenomena", specializing in digital image effects.

One of the first projects was assisting the completion of Paramount's Film _Virtuosity_ He created special visual effects depicting Denzel Washington's virtual fall and subsequent atomization in the film's climactic ending sequences. This was one of the first times PC based software was employed for doing a majority of the special effects in a major film.

Shortly there after Kevin O'Lone (Jamie's brother-in-law) joined dph to grow it into a larger business and in 12 months we did just that. At our peak they had 14 staff members (plus a good number of interns) doing simultaneous work on films, games and broadcast projects.

In early 1998 they were prepared to move into doing series television after creating the "sales kit" for "Real Life adventures of Jules Verne" but the client decided to go with another group located in Montreal Canada (don't you hate it when that happens.) Unfortunately they had put too many eggs in that basket, so at that point they decided to cut their losses and move back to Jr. Walker Ranch to reduce our overhead.

Most of the dph staff moved on and stayed within "the biz", you'll find their names within the credits of many of today's blockbuster FX films. And so it goes.

- IMDb Mini Biography By: Jamie Clay

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