Engineering and Computer Science graduate
Degree leads to dream job at Weta Digital
Victoria University Engineering and Computer Science graduate, Christopher Dean is living the dream in the coolest little film capital in the world, spending his time creating fire, water and smoke—and even contributing to Peter Jackson’s legacy with his name in the credits of The Hobbit: The Battle of the Five Armies.
Christopher completed postgraduate study in Computer Graphics at Victoria and is now working full-time as Technical Director of the FX Department at Wellington’s Weta Digital, producing visual effects for film.
“An FX Technical Director animates physical phenomena, both real and imaginary. The result has to look awesome while still being believable, so I need knowledge of art, design, physics, mathematics and programming—all of which I learnt at Victoria”.
Christopher found that the combination of a technical and artistic background was perfect for the film industry.
“I love animation and effects for film, as motion fascinates me, both aesthetically and scientifically. This field is perfect for me, especially as my Master’s thesis was based on new ways of editing film for character animation.”
While studying, Christopher was supported by the Victoria Graduate Award and the Master’s by Thesis Award. During his first year he was also one of a handful of students selected for a three-month internship at Weta Digital. It was there he made valuable contacts who later offered him a full-time position.
“Wellington’s film industry is buzzing. I love the work—it involves collaborating with brilliant people and thinking critically and creatively every day.”
Christopher has advice for new students thinking of getting into Computer Graphics.
“Make friends with your classmates and connect with as many people in the industry as you can. You never know what opportunities might come out of it!
“Don’t be afraid of the technical aspects of computer graphics. I came to it from an Arts background, but the programme did a great job of presenting the maths and computer science as extra toolboxes that, once you get used to them, give you an endless world of creative possibilities.”
So what does the future hold for Christopher?
“Apparently, lots of explosions! There is so much to explore in this industry, so I’d like to stay in Wellington and really entrench myself in my new career."