JROMC Oct. 30 Free Lecture Series Event Features Steve Preeg On Technology, Science Behind Visual Special Effects In Film

Steve Preeg/Courtesy photo


The J. Robert Oppenheimer Memorial Committee (JROMC) is pleased to announce the next event in our Oppenheimer Celebration free lecture series. Steve Preeg, Los Alamos native and winner of an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects, will share the technology and science behind sophisticated visual effects in film. The talk will be held at 7:30 p.m., Monday, Oct. 30 at the SALA Event Center, 2551 Central Ave., Los Alamos and is co-sponsored by the Los Alamos Public Schools Foundation.

Impactful visual effects (VFX), so ubiquitous in modern film and television, is a fascinating application of technical and artistic creativity. In this talk, we will look under the hood of how a VFX is done. There are technologies and processes that you may know about and others that you probably have no idea are used to create a VFX shot.  We will discuss examples and stories from some of the best-known VFX movies from the past 25 years.

Academy Award-winning Steve Preeg brings over 20 years of experience in visual effects. Some of his early projects were the development of character rigs and animation tools for Beauty and the Beast and Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, and King Kong

Steve began his career with a degree in Mechanical Engineering, but was always intrigued by computer graphics and modeling, and his professional path is an interesting merging of his artistic and technical interests. He is also a proud Hilltopper, Los Alamos High School Class of 1989.

A significant moment in Steve’s career came with the challenge of creating the eponymous character in The Curious Case of Benjamin Button. For this film, Steve was tasked to specifically create and maintain a physically and emotionally authentic computer-generated (CG) head and face that carries the performance of iconic actor Brad Pitt as he ages backward from 87 to 63 (physically) while maturing emotionally. This involved the creation and integration of the CG heads with three different body actors, while driving the character’s every move with Pitt’s performance and facial expressions. For this work, Steve received an Academy Award for Best Achievement in Visual Effects.

Most recently, Steve was Production VFX (visual effects) Supervisor on Chip ‘n Dale: Rescue Rangers, the life-action, animation hybrid comedy from Disney+ . He led a team on more than 1450 VFX shots, including the creation of Chip N’ Dale themselves.