“It’s a good feeling when you look out at the industry to see your previous team members doing well. Knowing that I played an active role in supporting talented people to reach their full potential, it’s super rewarding.”
– Stanley Dellimore, Global Head of CG
Stanley has over two decades of experience as a Global Head of CG, overseeing shows such as The Lord of The Rings (2022), Ms. Marvel, Thor: Love and Thunder, Top Gun: Maverick and Loki.
As Global Head of CG at DNEG, Stanley oversees our global VFX pipeline with a focus on aligning global processes with our local Heads of CG and Workflow Architects group, among others.
Tell us what brought you into the world of VFX and Animation…
I come from a design and architecture background. First starting out in that world, it was all about drawing skills, but then came the advent of 3D. I began working heavily with computers and 3D-modeling, and became fluent at it! This is before the time of Studio Max and AutoCAD. I then segued into an Animation Program in Toronto that was founded by Softimage Alias and SideFX (back in pre-Maya days). The program itself was in the same building that they shot Degrassi High. I completed that program and enjoyed it a lot.
How did your journey start? Any career highlight(s) so far?
My first animation project was Sitting Ducks and after that I worked at IMAX and a few smaller projects. Then I joined C.O.R.E. and landed my first big show, a Disney feature animated film called The Wild. After that, I worked at Mainframe Vancouver for a little bit before MPC offered me a position in London to help build their studio. They had just gotten their first big show, The Chronicles of Narnia: Prince Caspian. In terms of career highlights, helping to build MPC from the ground up has a special place in my heart. I was there for twelve years! There was no pipeline, no layout or department structure when they brought me onboard. Not many people get the chance to build something from scratch — and of course, the icing on the cake is getting the Academy Award for The Jungle Book!
After MPC, I worked at Method as Global Head of CG and now here I am at DNEG! I’ve worked around the world — in Toronto, Vancouver, Montreal and London.
What do you like the most about your job?
Once again, it’s the whole idea of building something. My architectural background means I enjoy breaking large things down into small parts, and then putting it back together. I think this translates into a knack for bringing people together and moving pieces around to achieve an end result. I realized at an early stage in my career that a lot of people looked to me for answers and guidance.
The VFX industry is full of people with raw creativity, but to harness that power you need to be able to apply that creativity in a specific direction. At this stage in my career, I’m really focused on how best to meld the project management side of things with the creative side.
What is your proudest moment to date?
As Head of a Department for a long time, I’ve had the privilege of watching many members of my team go on to achieve great things — In fact, at one point all of DNEG’s Heads of Layout were on my team! It’s a good feeling when you look out at the industry to see your previous team members doing well. Knowing that I played an active role in supporting talented people to reach their full potential, it’s super rewarding.
What’s one thing that is always on your desk when you work?
Pen and paper. It’s so important to write things down! We cycle through so many ideas daily, it’s important to take notes and remember context. Forget computers, if you’re an artist, you need to go back to conceptualizing in its most basic form. I always go back to those roots with pen and paper. It’s just different from taking notes on a computer, doing that is so mechanical. When you’re writing there’s a rhythm.
Why did you choose to get involved in The Rookie Awards?
Alwyn and Andrew first pitched The Rookie Awards to me back in our MPC days, when we all worked together. I was always impressed with how early on they recognized the importance of training the next generation of VFX artists — and how they saw that the industry was about to explode. When I started in this industry, things like The Rookie Awards weren’t available to aspiring creatives. Even today, with WFH, everything is changing dramatically. So many more things are possible now, and I think The Rookie Awards is doing a great job in harnessing that possibility to help support the next generation of artists. They have some great ideas and I want to support that.
What are you most looking forward to about the Rookie Awards?
I’m looking forward to helping the artists who have entrusted me with their career. If you asked me 5 years ago for advice about starting in the industry, I’d have said “Specialize! Specialize! Specialize!”. But now, with RealTime and RealTime workflows, there’s been a huge paradigm shift. Today it’s more important to be well-rounded, to get back to what’s really at the heart of being an artist — storytelling — and to be flexible with the tools you use to tell your story.
Of course, some of the graduates coming out of schools today are so impressive. I look at their work and wish I could’ve created cool stuff like that when I was starting out! The larger the industry grows and the more technology evolves, the higher the bar continues to be raised. I’m looking forward to seeing what the next generation of artists can do, and I’m looking forward to supporting them.
Do you remember being a rookie in the industry? What advice would you give to someone wanting to pursue a career in the industry or who is just starting a career in VFX?
Find what you’re interested in, and then build up your experience doing it. I spent a few years in the beginning of my career on feature animation, but I’m more passionate about photo-realistic VFX and projects with ‘more grown-up’ subject matter, so to say. I wish I had hit the ground running with work that reflected these interests from the beginning.
Finish this sentence: DNEG is…