Caleb Jackson Howard
September 30th, 2007
September 2007 to Present
Technical Art Director
Heavy Iron Studios (THQ)
Los Angeles, CA
Responsibilities include design and implementation of effects associated with player-characters, non-player-characters, and environments. Act as liaison between game designers and programmers. Duties span creative, technical, and management tasks.
September 2005 to September 2007
Culver City, CA
On “Ghost Rider”, developed an articulated human head made of writhing worms, the Ghost Rider's reverse transformation flesh regeneration system, and various volumetric effects. On “Beowulf”, developed tracking fluid flow system for copious water and blood on violent animation. Also developed Python/PyQt applications to control the fire pipeline developed for “Ghost Rider”, and used in “Beowulf”. Taught various courses in programming for Houdini, and dynamic simulation of group behaviour.
October 2004 to Present
Founding Partner / C.T.O.
Cognitive Imaging Corporation
Los Angeles, CA
Founding partner in corporation created to develop core technology for computer vision, and data modeling applications.
January 2001 to September 2005
R&D / Digital Effects Supervisor
Rhythm and Hues
Los Angeles, CA
Instrumental in integration efforts to bring in-house field representation language into Houdini. Developed field representations and rendering system for gaseous and fluid simulations for “Superman Returns”, including complete development of volume renderer to directly integrate continuous (non-voxel based) field equations. Developed and used real-time hair simulation tools for Cox's “Digital Max” character. Acted as digital effects supervisor or sequence supervisor on the following films: “Elektra”, “The Chronicles of Riddick”, “The Cat in the Hat”, “Daredevil”, “The Sum of All Fears”, and “Cats and Dogs”. Provided R&D solutions for “The Cat in the Hat”, and “Daredevil” in the form of rapid-integration volumetric rendering, and MoCap controlled fabric simulation. On “Cats and Dogs”, and “The Sum of All Fears”, provided Massive-esque crowd control tools and simulation of up to 16,000 autonomous agents interacting with their environment, and hand animated “hero” characters. In addition, provided R&D solutions for fluidic sand accumulation around live-action characters in the original ending for “Gigli”. Also provided fluid simulation solutions for some shots on “X2”.
April 1999 to December 2000
Digital Artist / Effects Lead / R&D Lead
Rhythm and Hues
Los Angeles, CA
Developed integrated simulation/shader solution for large scale burning planet sequence for the film, “Battlefield Earth”. Developed, and supervised the implementation of weapon and afterburner/exhaust effects for “The Sixth Day”. On “What Planet are You From”, developed technique to separate photographed clouds from plate, for rendering as 3D volumes in a fly-through shot to perfectly match plate. Developed and implemented planetary burn for “Red Planet”. Responsible for developing and implementing volumetric effects, fluid effects, and digital destruction of a practical set for “The Mystery Men”. Acted as Digital Artist/TD on “Little Nicky”. Did talking-animal effect for “Stuart Little”. Also actively involved in the ongoing effort to design and test in-house pipeline, including the integration of Commercial packages such as Houdini with R&H proprietary software. Have served on informal design panels for proprietary tools including Volumetric Simulation, Fluid Simulation, Crowd Simulation, and Combustion Simulation.
February 1998 to March 1999
R&D / Effects Supervisor
Los Angeles, CA
Developed and implemented burning vampire effects for "Blade" as well as developing a UI for character animation tools to allow rapid generation of complex motion for flying bat-like creatures. Developed complex field isosurface for the Asteroid impact in "Armageddon". On "Star Trek, Insurrection”, was principally responsible for cloaking/decloaking effects, and all “phaser” effects. For “End of Days”, a virtual cloud tank volume shader was developed which modeled cloud dynamics, self shadowing, internal diffusion coefficients, and featured two distinct and novel optimized isosurface intersection algorithms.
October 1996 to February 1998
Software Engineer / Technical Director
Marina del Rey, CA
Responsible for design, implementation and maintenance of the compiler language for the construction of the "Parasite Eve" game project. Entails approximately 250 commands that parse in a C-like fashion. All scanning and parsing routines were written for the project. It is a two-pass compiler with full debugging information provided for the nature and location of all errors. Considerations given to inline macro definition, as well as standard define and include precompiler directives. Optimizations include pre-evaluation of expressions and folding of constant subexpressions into a single constant value.
Also acted in an advisory role for the animators creating some of the more complex effects for the "Parasite Eve" project. Effects developed include a large character developed to use Metaballs and spring simulations to give the impression of a mucus monster destroying New York. As well, the development of techniques to optimize memory requirements for real-time game effects. Completed the introductory course given by the Berlitz language school in spoken Japanese.
March 1997 to August 1997
SIGGraph 1997 Electronic Theatre
Designed and implemented a system of volume shader manipulation and rendering within the Houdini animation package. This system was showcased in the closing animation at the 1997 SIGGraph Electronic Theatre in Los Angeles. The techniques developed allowed comprehensive specification of volumetric characteristics, and the smooth transformation between volumes of different characteristics via several transformation techniques.
June 1996 to October 1996
Freelance digital animator/Technical Director
Toronto, ON, Canada
Bulk of work centered upon the 1996 ABC Monday Night Football introductory and supporting animations. Supervised animators in the course of producing a fully computer generated animation, several minutes in duration. Developed automated particle systems for the accurate portrayal of jet exhaust, and a large-scale explosion simulation for the climax of the animation. This animation won a 1996 Emmy award.
As well, worked on a cloud and dust simulation system for a Pontiac commercial involving a small localized storm in the shape of the car. This commercial won the Applied Arts Magazine's award for best effects in a commercial in 1997.
January 1996 to October 1996
Contract simulation Programmer
Toronto, ON, Canada
Designed and implemented an advanced particle engine for the real-time simulation of natural phenomena such as fire, rain, tornadoes, snow accumulation, fireworks, etc. This was accomplished using OpenGL on an SGI workstation for commercial application.
September 1995 to June 1996
Director of Animation
C.O.R.E. Digital Pictures,
Toronto, ON, Canada
Managed a team of artists through the bidding, scheduling, design, preproduction and production of the "Lexx: The Dark Zone Movies".
April 1994 to September 1995:
Senior Technical Director/Digital Artist
Acted as TD for Exhaust effects on "True Lies", blood effects for "Color of Night", 3D Pan and tile work for "Interview with the Vampire". Developed fire and mist tools, and created 3D helmet replacement elements for "Apollo 13". Did Fluid Simulation work for a Diet Dr. Pepper spot. Developed volumetric cloud tools for a Doritos commercial. Designed, developed and implemented a procedural anatomy system. This project, called H.A.R.D. (Human Animation Research and Development) was featured in articles in Premier magazine, Computer Graphics World Magazine, The Wall St. Journal, and Wired magazine. Innovations for the H.A.R.D. project included an N-Dimensional interpolation engine, full inertial simulation on muscles, abstracted animation controls built around needs of the artist, and forward reaching concepts to allow effective facial animation/replacement techniques.
November 1993 to March 1994:
Installation, training, and support for PRISMS, Softimage, Wavefront, Elastic Reality, Ultimatte, Matador, Photoshop, Pandemonium, N-Title, XiNet, and other high end digital animation, and supporting packages. Responsible for configuration and administration of SGI/Macintosh/Amiga TCP/IP networked environment.
September 1992 to November 1993:
Customer Support Manager
Side Effects Software Inc.,
Toronto, ON, Canada
Created and manned SESI's Customer Support department. Provided timely solutions to the full range of problems which customers experienced. The customer base was largely centered in Los Angeles, and the bulk of their work was in the Film and Video effects industry. Software testing and bug diagnosis responsibilities. UNIX/UUCP administration responsibilities. Provided training and demonstration materials.
Beowulf (2007) (CG supervisor / R&D)
Ghost Rider (2007) (CG supervisor / R&D)
Superman Returns (2006) (digital effects supervisor / R&D)
Elektra (digital effects supervisor / R&D)
Chronicles of Riddick, The (2004) (digital effects supervisor)
Cat in the Hat, The (2003) (digital effects supervisor / R&D)
Gigli (2003) (digital artist / R&D)
X2 (2003) (digital artist / TD)
Daredevil (2003) (digital effects supervisor / R&D)
Sum of All Fears, The (2002) (cg supervisor of conventional effects)
Cats & Dogs (2001) (digital effects supervisor / R&D)
Red Planet (2000) (digital effects lead / R&D)
6th Day, The (2000) (digital effects supervisor / R&D)
Battlefield Earth: A Saga of the Year 3000 (2000) (digital artist / R&D)
Little Nicky (2000) (special effects)
What Planet Are You From? (2000) (technical director / R&D)
Stuart Little (1999) (technical director)
Mystery Men (1999) (technical director / R&D)
End of Days (1999) (technical director / R&D)
Star Trek: Insurrection (1998) (sequence supervisor / R&D)
Blade (1998) (technical director / R&D)
Armageddon (1998) (technical director / R&D)
"Lexx: The Dark Zone" (1997) (director of animation / R&D)
§T2 3-D: Battle Across Time (1996) (R&D supervisor)
Apollo 13 (1995) (digital artist)
Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994) (digital artist)
Color of Night (1994) (technical director)
True Lies (1994) (digital artist)
November 1993 to Present
Research and Development
Working towards developing several key concepts and designing future reaching tools for the design of living digital constructs. Areas of research encompass the technologies required to simulate life from the standpoints of Physics, Ecology, Sociology, Psychology, Neurobiology, and Motivational Dynamics. These areas include Neural Network simulations, Fuzzy Learning Systems, Genetic Algorithms, and other parallel methods of automated function optimization. Concepts and methods have been developed towards the application of systems found in biological life.
Have studied environmental forces to efficiently encapsulate and represent models for application in virtual environments for inhabitation by virtual life forms. These forces include those of plate tectonics, atmospheric effects (including local/global weather systems), planetary magnetic and tidal effects, oceanographic effects, erosional effects, and diurnal effects. The relationship between a creature and its environment has been studied, and emphasis has been given to understanding various systems of life, and their mutual interaction.
Studies have also included many varieties of physical simulation, efficient compression, and representation.
September 1985 to April 1990:
Bachelor of Mathematics,
University of Waterloo,
Waterloo, Ontario, Canada
Completed a four-year study of non-specialist mathematics with emphasis placed on the mathematics of Computer Graphics systems, Graph Theory, Combinatorial Analysis, and Symbolic Logic. Additional courses include several in Film History, English, German, and Cultural Anthropology.
The Following are projects which have been carried on independent of paid work. Some are extensions of work which was done for a production, but then reimplemented for my own purposes later.
Plants - Developed an implementation for the Lindenmayer language of recursive branching for the description of plants, commonly referred to as L-Systems. This was prior to any such software being commercially available.
Walks-Downhill - An early and simple example of adaptive behaviour responding to environmental variability.
H.A.R.D. - The reimplementation of the Human Animation Research and Development project, which added much functionality, and several optimizations.
Morphogenesis - A language and interface for the compact (genetic) description of creatures, including Skeletal, Muscular, Neural, and Dermal adhesion specifications.
Fire - A thermodynamic simulation incorporating a hybrid Finite Element System, and Particle System, with attribute transference, and volume expansion/splitting.
Caustics - A simple rendering solution to generate Caustic refraction elements in a scene using a particle system in an early example of what later became known as “photon mapping”.
Cloud Tank - An advanced volume rendering system incorporating custom rapidly-integrable volume elements for a high level of visual accuracy with minimal computational expense.
Crowd - An agent-based crowd simulation package using hierarchical trees of intention to manage a system of articulated characters.
Forest - A biological simulation experiment involving a mixture of L-Systems, particle systems, and environmental controls to represent the generational growth of a forest in a valley.
Eden - A broad effort to bring many other simulations together into a simulated eco-system, including generational plant growth, herbivorous and carnivorous agents with genetic variation/recombination, and a detailed rendering system.
Computer Vision - An advanced system for real-time parsing of stereo video streams into a depth representation for commercial application.