UWTSD graduates part of Oscar-winning team


UWTSD Film and Digital Media graduates Daniel Williams, Ryan Morgan and Jens Hansen say their time at the University proved a perfect launch-pad for an exciting career in the specialised industry. All three graduates are now working for MPC (Moving Picture Company) which is one of the world's leading post production facilities creating high-end digital visual effects for the television and feature film industries where they were part of a team awarded an Oscar for their amazing work on Jungle Book.

Three students with Oscar

Daniel said: “I enrolled at UWTSD as soon as I found out they had the course available.  I had a passion for the artistic side of VFX rather than the technical at first, but after some time on the course and working on a few projects with peers, I realised that the technical side of things is what I want to do. During my time at UWTSD, I was able to dive into a lot of the more technical parts of VFX like shader writing and tool development, all with guidance from the tutors on what I should be studying next, helping keep me up to date on what the current state of the industry is as well as what technology is currently being used.

“Nowadays I work on the Shading team at MPC London.  I was hired as a Developer shortly after finishing University to work on The Jungle Book, and since then moved on to work on films like Passengers, Ghost in the Shell, Pirates of the Caribbean, and now, The Lion King.  Our main role is to work with the Lighting and Look Dev departments where things can move very fast.  We develop shaders and tools for our artists to work with, as well as picking up any issue that may arise from any of the sites around the globe that make up MPC.  Every day brings something new to the table, and you couldn't find a better group of people to work with!

“I also must thank my old tutor Rob Jones, who was one of the tutors I had throughout my whole time at UWTSD who offered a lot of help and guidance throughout my time on the course, and also setup the interview for the position I currently hold at MPC!”

Ryan, who graduated from the University's 3D Computer Animation Degree Course in 2014, is now a successful visual effects artist. He also worked on the character "Groot" for the Marvel movie "Guardians of the Galaxy."

Ryan joined the Modelling & Texturing department at MPC in London straight after graduating from UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art. The team at MPC, which also included fellow UWTSD Film and Media graduate Jens Hansen and Ryan Williams, were awarded an Oscar for the stunning Visual Effects in Jungle Book earlier this year.

Ryan has also worked as Modelling and Texturing Director on recent blockbusters Passengers, Fantastic 4 and Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them. He is now working on upcoming movies Disney's Lion King, Alien:Covenant and The Dark Tower. He credits his success with the time spent at UWTSD, where he was supported and mentored by his tutor Al Kang. Writing to update his tutor Al Kang about his progress, Ryan said: “I can't explain how happy I am. I've put years of hard work into my portfolio, but I definitely wouldn't be where I am right now without your guidance during my time at Swansea. The day you took me aside and told me of my potential was the beginning of a domino effect that has led me to where I am today. 

“Too many schools show students how to do things, but not enough teach them how to think. I want you to know that because of the mind-set you gave me, I've succeeded in reaching my dream, and I couldn't have hoped for a better tutor, in every sense of the word….Thanks again.

“'My job at MPC involves creating digital sculptures of animals and monsters. From details in the skin, to the different muscles and facial expressions that they make. The 3D models are then given to another artist who will add the colour, hair, animation etc.”

Montage of Oscar-winners

Jens, graduated in 2015 from the University's BSc (Hons) Visual Effects degree course, and is now working as technical director specialising in rendering at MPC. Jens works closely with a vast team of visual effects artists to help to realise the visual worlds of many recent blockbusters such as  Ghost in the Shell, Fantastic Beats, X-Men Apocalypse to name but a few.

He said: "I enrolled at UWTSD with a strong passion for film-making and developed an equally strong passion for the technical aspect of VFX (Visual Effects) during the course. My time at the university gave me the chance to explore my interests and develop my abilities through varied coursework and collaboration with my peers. I believe the experience was integral to my personal and professional development leading to my career in VFX.

"I now work as a Render TD at the Moving Picture Company where my role consists of developing internal tools used by a global team on most of the major films we work on. I also support lighting artists with rendering and pipeline issues making sure we are able to produce the images that go into the films."

Jens joined MPC in London 18 months ago after graduating from the University’s highly successful Visual Effects programme which has been placing graduates in the VFX industry for over a decade. The VFX programme at UWTSD provides students with a perfect blend of VFX artist wizardry alongside technical problem-solving skills giving students a combination of highly sort after skills and knowledge. Jens was a particularly gifted student and during his time at UWTSD and today he is putting ‘renaissance mind’ to good use in helping to realise the visions of today’s leading film directors.

Professor Ian Walsh, Dean of Swansea College of Art at UWTSD said: “All the lecturers and professional staff at UWTSD’s Swansea College of Art are delighted at Ryan Jens and Daniel’s success. It’s one of the best parts of the job to see our graduates flourish in their chosen careers. Their Oscar winning success is a credit to their hard work and a tribute to the lecturers who supported them during their studies here in Swansea.”

In January, this year, Ryan took part in a two-day animation industry event put on by the School of Film and Digital Media, which offered students the opportunity to participate in talks and workshops from industry professionals from all over the world.

Further Information

Rebecca Davies

Swyddog Gweithredol Cysylltiadau â’r Wasg a’r Cyfryngau

Executive Press and Media Relations Officer

Cyfathrebu Corfforaethol a Chysylltiadau Cyhoeddus

Corporate Communications and PR

Tel: 01792 483695
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Email: Rebecca.Davies@uwtsd.ac.uk