Emmy-winning VFX artist Kevin Kutchaver has joined with The Digital Animation and Visual Effects School to produce Captain Sternn, an animated short based on the popular anti-hero from the 1981 feature, Heavy Metal.
Kutchaver, a seasoned VFX artist whose credits include Return of the Jedi, Ghostbusters II, The Adams Family, and all three Robocop movies, co-founded Flat Earth Productions in the 1990’s and went on to create visual effects for television shows such as Hercules, Xena and most recently, the Emmy Award-winning ABC hit drama, Lost, for which he won the 2005 Creative Arts Primetime Emmy Award for Outstanding Special Visual Effects for a Series.
Kutchaver, a long-time fan of illustrator Bernie Wrightson (whose work includes the critically acclaimed graphic novels Frankenstein and Swamp Thing), approached the artist about turning Captain Sternn into an animated series. Wrightson loved the idea; however studio development executives weren’t so quick to sign off. They wanted to see a sample. “I offered to do it with hand puppets but they wouldn’t go for it,” joked Kutchaver. That’s when he turned to the DAVE School.
“The DAVE School is one of the leading Animation/VFX schools in the world,” said Kutchaver. “They have a reputation for producing talented artists who are prepared for the challenges faced during actual production.”
Kutchaver met with Executive Director, Steve Warner, who loved the idea of creating a Captain Sternn teaser and green-lit the project for the school’s Block 4 Production class. “We are very proud to be working with Kevin and Bernie on this project,” said Warner. “Both are amazing artists who bring a lot of experience to the table. Having Kevin on-site to guest direct the project has been incredible. The students are extremely fortunate to be working with him on such a high-profile project.”
The current Block 4 students are creating all aspects of the three minute stereoscopic CG production, from pre-viz and staging to final stereo comps. “The students are doing a great job,” said Kutchaver. “I couldn’t be happier with their attitude, commitment and quality of work. Bringing Sternn to life has been a long-time dream. Thanks to The DAVE School, that dream is finally becoming a reality.”
Located on the back lot of Universal Studios, Florida, in Sound Stage 25, The DAVE School’s 35,000 square foot facility includes three labs, a shooting stage with a 65′x 25′ green screen, and a state of the art motion capture system. Offering comprehensive training in 3D modelling and animation, motion graphics creation, and stereoscopic 3D visual effects production, The DAVE School is producing a new breed of 3D and visual effects artists. Recent graduates’ work can be seen in blockbuster movies, including Thor, The Green Lantern and Captain America. Their reputation for producing top talent is why 85% of DAVE School graduates are immediately placed into the 3D/VFX industry for companies including Stereo D, Pixomondo, Digital Domain, and Rhythm & Hues.