London International Animation Festival 2023

Animation Industry Event 6: CGI - 20 Years into the Future

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LIAF presents the 2023 UK Animation Industry Event – 6 panels giving insider access to some of the hottest topics of the year. We’ve gathered together some of the most passionate, honest and insightful experts from a wide range of different areas and backgrounds who are ready to cover all manner of vital topics to give you much food for thought.

Animation doesn’t stand still; and debates and discussions with animators and creative experts are the best way to get in touch with what’s happening. This year we’ll be looking into the minds of some of the most creative forces currently working in the field of the animated documentary, discussing the intrinsic role of the Animation Producer and how do you get to become one, finding out whether animation can be a viable and satisfying career for people who are neurodiverse, looking back at the meteoric growth of the UK animation industry over the last 20 years and looking forward to how the next 20 years might develop in CGI, 3D and general technology.

The panels will be chaired by Saint John Walker, Dean/Director of Industry Engagement at Escape Studios and Julian Scott, animation consultant at Film London.

For anyone currently working in the film and animation industry, thinking of working in the industry or just plain curious, these 6 talks are indispensable. They are free to everyone and take place live and online on our streaming platform over the 2 days of December 2 and 3.

Animation Industry Event 6: CGI - 20 Years into the Future 

LIAF is 20 years old! 20 years ago isn’t actually very long - early versions of Maya, After Effects, ToonBoom, Adobe Animate, Nuke and Flash were all around in their earlier incarnations. But over the last 20 years the CGI landscape has been littered with firsts regarding photorealism, storytelling (the growth in animated features) and convergence of new media.

So we asked some influential animators to get out their crystal balls to predict how things might develop in the next 20 years in terms of how animation gets made. What do they think will happen to CGI and 3D, and general technology? What are the new bottlenecks holding back increasingly compelling animation? How do they see AI or cheaper faster software supporting artists? What can they hope from 3D CGI Animation practice in the near future? If the last 20 years was the foundation of popular 3D CGI animation, what will the next 20 mean?


Moderator: Saint John Walker, Dean/Director of Industry Engagement at Escape Studios

Saint works with key companies in UK and international animation and VFX sectors, often leading on new technology training for industry such as Unreal Engine, Virtual Production and generative AI. He is the author of the Core Skills of VFX Handbook and has designed and run courses and conference panels across the UK and Europe. He has been LIAF’s industry panel coordinator and chair for a decade and is a Fellow of the Royal Society of Arts. At Escape Studios he has chaired panel discussions for the annual VFX Festival, and has taken part in many Access:VFX activities online and in person.


Hasraf ‘HaZ’ Dulull  

HaZ Duull started his career in VFX before transitioning to directing & producing feature films (The Beyond, & 2036 Origin Unknown, both licensed to Netflix) and series (Disney’s Fast Layne), before founding production company HaZimation, along with co-founder Paula Crickard producing animated feature films, series and video games based on their propriety pipeline utilising Unreal Engine. The company has recently completed RIFT (animated feature film) and is in production on their next animated feature film (based on the game IP: Mutant Year Zero) at their newly launched Belfast office. As well as original PC / Console video games which includes a spin off game to RIFT called Max Beyond (signed with Microsoft ID@Xbox), and most recently released an original UEFN game – Moontopia, available on PC and consoles via Fortnite.

Andy McNamara

As Head of CG for Cinesite’s London studio, Andy’s experience in leadership, talent management and mentoring are ideally placed. He oversees the large team of talented artists and TD’s which have delivered recent shows including Thor: Love and Thunder, Black Panther: Wakanda Forever and The Witcher’s third season.

With over 30 years experience in the field of CGI and VFX, Andy has held senior, supervisor and management positions within the BBC, Prime Focus and Rushes amongst others and has won a number of awards and nominations. His expertise ranges from film to commercials, VR and immersive.

Steve Aplin

Steve is an Animation Director and also serves as the Head of Animation at Industrial Light & Magic (ILM), London. He has been a member of the VFX industry since 1996, earning his first film credit on the original Men in Black. Since then he has worked on numerous projects as an animator, and supervised the animation work on films such as Star Wars: The Last Jedi, and Disney's live-action Aladdin. Most recently he completed work on the groundbreaking immersive ABBA concert, Abba Voyage, where he helped to push ILM’s digital human and facial performance pipeline to the next level, combining and building upon the original band member's motion and that of their younger stand-ins for a seamlessly photoreal performance.

Gabriel Shalom

Gabriel Shalom is a multidisciplinary creative leader with experience as an artist, media theorist and futurist. He has lectured extensively on Hypercubism, his theory of object-oriented temporal aesthetics, at institutions such as Bauhaus University Weimar, KUVA Helsinki, Sorbonne Paris, and the Frankfurter Kunstverein. Over the last year he has begun a new ontological project of describing the unique aesthetics of the generative AI era under the umbrella of Synthetic Compressionism. He brings a theoretical lens to an industry context, tracking trends and insights that have both practical and narrative applications for the VFX industry. In addition to his speaking and writing, he consults as a strategic creative partner to production companies, studios, and research institutions.