James Reginald Rygiel is an American visual effects director. He supervised the visual effects of Legendary Pictures' Godzilla.
JIM RYGIEL (VFX supervisor) is a three-time Academy Award® winner for his groundbreaking visual effects on Peter Jackson’s landmark “The Lord of the Rings” Trilogy. For his work on “The Fellowship of the Ring,” “The Two Towers” and “The Return of the King,” Rygiel also shared in three BAFTA Awards and two Visual Effects Society (VES) honors for the second and third films, with a third nomination for “The Return of the King.” In 2002, after the release of “The Fellowship of the Ring,” Rygiel received the American Film Institute's first AFI Digital Effects Artist of the Year Award.
Considered one of the industry’s pioneers in the computer animation field, Rygiel began his career in the infancy of digital visual effects. After earning his bachelor’s degree from the University of Wisconsin-Milwaukee in his home state, the Kenosha native moved to Los Angeles and received his M.F.A. and an honorary doctorate from the Otis College of Art and Design where he currently sits on the school’s Board of Trustees. Additionally, he is on the Board of Advisors at the Academy of Art University in San Francisico, where he also received an honorary doctorate degree.
He first landed at Pacific Electric Pictures (one of the earliest companies to employ computer animation for the advertising and film arenas) before segueing to Digital Productions, where his work earned him a CLIO Award for the SONY Walkman ad campaign and where he worked on two 1984 sci-fi adventure films—Peter Hyams’ sequel “2010,” based on Arthur Clarke’s book, and Nick Castle’s “The Last Starfighter,” one of the early projects to use digital animation in place of models. He later picked up a second CLIO honor for his work on the Geo Prism automobile commercial.
At Boss Film Studios, which he joined in 1989 and worked with the legendary Richard Edlund, Rygiel directed a computer animation department that grew to over 75 animators and 100 support staff within fourteen months, producing effects for such projects as Paul Verhoeven’s “Starship Troopers,” which was a nominee for the VFX Oscar®; Roger Donaldson’s “Species”; Wolfgang Petersen’s “Outbreak” and “Air Force One”; John McTiernan’s “The Last Action Hero”; Renny Harlin’s actioner “Cliffhanger”; Tim Burton’s “Batman Returns,” an Oscar® nominee for VFX; David Fincher’s “Alien3,” another VFX Oscar® nominee; and Jerry Zucker’s “Ghost.”
He most recently served as VFX supervisor on “The Amazing Spider-Man,” and counts among his credits such films as “Eagle Eye,” the 2008 reboot of “The Day the Earth Stood Still,” “Night at the Museum,” “102 Dalmatians,” “The Parent Trap,” “Anna and the King” and “Star Trek: Insurrection.”
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