TO UNDERSTAND JUST HOW FAR ANIMATION has progressed in 24 years, all you have to do is look at the career arc of Oahu resident Remington Scott. From a humble start in his Garden City, N.Y., attic (in the days predating Photo-shop and YouTube), to creating some of the most recognizable characters in today’s blockbuster films, Scott has been on a non-stop digital odyssey.

Scott is currently the computer graphic supervisor at Hawaii Animation Studios in downtown Honolulu, where one of his duties is training Hawaii’s next generation of film animators to work on major studio films. This is quite the accomplishment for the artist who created Gollum for The Lord of the Rings and the Sandman in Spider-Man 3: it wasn’t long ago that all he wanted to do was paint for a living.

Which might explain why Scott cites his strong foundation in classic art techniques – over a strong knowledge of computers (which is “just a tool,” says Scott) – that led to his success. In fact, he recommends that aspiring animators verse themselves in the finer points of art and art history.

A stroke of fortuitous timing yanked Scott from his perch in the two-dimensional world.

“I was very fortunate in high school to have worked on the first digitized home video game,” Scott says. That game was Micro League Wrestling, made for the Atari 520/1040 ST.

“There was a guy in my town who dropped out of school to program video games and he was looking for someone to be an artistic partner,” Scott adds. “Back then, computer games were extremely low-resolution. There were very few colors and pretty much everything was done by hand. Those were the olden days when two guys – we were working in his mother’s attic – could make a video game. These days, it takes corporations spending millions of dollars.”

Scott says his mentor figured out a way to digitize images and play them back in sequence so the effect was more like watching a movie than seeing awkward figures slog across a screen.

“Keep in mind, this was 1986 and the first digital cameras didn’t come out until 1991-’92, and the world didn’t get into digitizing movies until 1995-’96,” says he.

Scott soon became the director of Acclaim’s Biomechanics Capture Studio, the world’s first entertainment-oriented motion capture facility. Prior to that, motion capture technology existed in the realms of medicine and sports, used to analyze movement prior to surgeries or to improve golf swings and baseball pitches.

It was Scott’s skill at rendering 3-D humans that brought him to Hawaii in 1998 to work with director Hironobu Sakaguchi on Final Fantasy: The Spirit Within.

“It was the first film to utilize the technology to create realistic digital humans,” he says.

Scott headed to Los Angeles, with high hopes of returning to Hawaii. With the public’s growing appetite for more complex CGI films, he brought his skills to Peter Jackson’s The Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, the second and third Spider-Man films, Superman Returns and Beowulf.

It was during this time that Titanic director James Cameron stopped by the studio. Scott attests that Cameron commended him on his work creating the Lord of the Rings character, Gollum, which may have influenced Cameron’s Avatar.

When an opportunity to join Hawaii Animation Studios arose – whose owners are betting that geography won’t be a barrier to major studio feature films work – Scott jumped at the chance.

“My love here in Hawaii is being able to work with so many young, talented people,” he says. “It brings me back to when I first got mentored as a teen.”

As Island-life continues to embrace him, Scott was happy to have had one of his sculptures selected for a recent “Artists of Hawaii” show at the Honolulu Academy of Arts. However, the leaps and bounds of the animation world keep him firmly planted at work.

“What you’re going to see in the next generation are virtual characters in every part of your life, to the point they’re part of your family. We’ll be emotionally involved in ways we haven’t been before,” Scott adds. “We’ve been building the technology. Now we’re refining it. In that refinement will be entertainment, games, movies and experiences you’ve never had before.”

More information: www.remingtonscott.com

IN THE ARTS
Events Around The Islands

Moonlight Music In The Garden

Featuring music, dancing and dining under the stars. the Mcbryde Garden on Kauai is the location for this event, a spectacular backdrop for the third annual fundraiser. Check in at Southshore Visitor’s Center, across from Spouting Horn; transportation to Orchard Field in McBryde Garden (Lawai Valley) for dinner and festivities. Aug. 21. Contact Sandra Tedder at stedder@ntbg.org or call 1 (808) 634-5890.

Gallery Talk With Allyn Bromley

the former professor and head of the printmaking program at the university of hawaii at Manoa discusses her latest exhibit. “Finding latitude: the work of allyn bromley,” which will be on display through aug. 29, showcases the depth of her artistry throughout four decades of her career. The Contemporary Museum at Makiki Heights in Honolulu. Aug. 21. www.tcmhi.org. 1 (808) 237-5230.

Saui Photo Festival and Workshopm

world-class photographers converge on the valley isle for classroom lessons, hands-on shoots and photo competitions. the second annual event focuses on the artistry and techniques available through digital photography. Hyatt Regency Maui Resort and Spa in Kaanapali. Aug. 25-29. www.mauiphotofestival.com. 1 (808) 633-1339.

‘Ka Himeni Ana’

this competition celebrates its 26th year of highlighting hawaiian music’s “soft and sweet” nahenahe style. richard M. towill, an advocate of island music, began Ka himeni ana as a way to “sponsor undiscovered talent.” the competition has launched the careers of noted hawaiian music groups such as holunape, hookena and Kanilau. Hawaii Theatre Center, in downtown Honolulu. Sept. 10. www.hawaiitheatre.com 1 (808) 528-0506.