Areito Echevarria is an Academy Award winning artist and researcher with over 21 years of Visual Effects experience. His passion is for storytelling and world building approached through the lens of computational design.
As a Senior Lecturer in the School of Design Innovation at Victoria University of Wellington, he specializes in procedural content generation and generative systems for cinema, games and virtual worlds. Areito’s research explores the intersections between creativity and computation, and examines ways in which the artist’s intent can be encoding into procedural systems to generate form, function, meaning and emotional response.
His current research deals with motion capture and generative deep learning approaches to synthesizing animation and human motion. It explores methods for generating physically plausible, emotionally engaging human performances for real-time, interactive experiences.
As a Visual Effects artist, Areito was Head of the FX Department at Weta Digital where he supervised a team of FX artists, animators and software developers. Prior to that he held roles as Compositing Supervisor at Weta Digital, Framestore, The Mill, and Iloura.
Areito has three Visual Effects Society Awards nominations for outstanding FX Animation and Compositing. His feature film experience includes work on films such as War for the Planet of the Apes, Godzilla, The Hobbit Trilogy, Avatar and Black Hawk Down. In 2014, Areito was awarded the Scientific and Technical Academy Award for his work inventing Deep Compositing, an imaging technology that fundamentally changed the nature of compositing workflows in the feature film industry.
Areito is currently working on Minimum Mass, an interactive narrative experience for Virtual Reality. His work on Minimum Mass is at the intersection of creativity and technology, serving as both a writer and technical designer. This work led him to be selected as a 2018 Sundance New Frontier Story Lab Fellow, and Turner Fellow.
Statement of Supervisory Interests
Areito is a member of the Virtual Worlds Lab and is currently looking to supervise students with interests in:
· Interactive narratives for Virtual and Augmented Reality.
· Procedural systems, procedural content generation.
· Technical art and design for virtual worlds.
· FX animation, technical animation.
· Computational creativity, computational design, creative coding.