Thunell began his career as an intern at Lucasfilm, in the Skywalker Ranch film archive, while finishing his degree in rhetoric and film studies at UC Berkeley. He developed an appreciation for VFX after logging hundreds of hours of behind-the-scenes Star Wars footage. Inspired, Thunell convinced ILM, George Lucas’s VFX studio, to hire him as a production assistant for Terminator 3; and was subsequently hired as a VFX coordinator at The Orphanage. There he worked on high-profile features such as Superman Returns and Hellboy.
In 2006, Thunell joined Radium LA to produce visual effects, design, and editorial. After Reel FX’s acquisition of Radium in 2007, he forged the studio’s entrée to special venue projects (Ferrari World Abu Dhabi, The Cosmopolitan Hotel Las Vegas) and interactive media — while managing the studio’s production department. Frequent collaboration with Dave Meyers at Radical led to a penchant for pop star projects (Katy Perry, Rihanna, Christina Aguilera).
Thunell will extend Carbon’s reach into photo-real CG work, including digital environments, FX animation, and automotive, with art direction and concept design. He strives to run with low overhead at a time when clients are demanding higher complexity with less money.
“We are strongly considering cloud computing as opposed to a traditional render farm, as we build out the office and strategize pipeline,” Thunell said.
Carbon will also take advantage of a high-speed line between the NY and LA offices, to facilitate larger projects, share work, and accommodate diverse requests — whether working with editorial partners at Whitehouse Post, or directly with agencies and production companies.
Carbon is a New York-based design and VFX studio launched by Creative Director Kieran Walsh and EP Frank Devlin in 2009 in partnership with Whitehouse Post. The new West Coast studio shares space with Whitehouse in Santa Monica, emphasizing the strategic alignment of the two companies.