REAL Conversations on Reality Computing – Tim Webber, VFX Master

Tim Webber is an Academy Award-winning Visual Effects Supervisor who has worked on some of the most iconic films of the last decade including the visually arresting film Gravity. After Tim Webber joined Framestore, he rapidly became the driving force behind the company’s push into digital film and television, developing Framestore’s virtual camera and motion rig systems.

Since second unit directing on the Hallmark production of Merlin in 1998, Tim has been guiding the company in new directions while supervising some of the most technically and artistically challenging projects – most recently Alfonso Cuarón’s space adventure, Gravity, for which he won an Oscar and a BAFTA, a British Academy Award. The groundbreaking techniques involved in the film were wholly realized by Tim and the Framestore team.

Other highlights in Tim’s film career include, the CG baby in Alfonso Cuarón’s Children of Men, Two-Face Harvey Dent in Christopher Nolan’s The Dark Knight, Spike Jonze’s highly original CG characters in Where the Wild Things Are, James Cameron’s incredible Avatar, and the Medusa in Louis Leterrier’s Clash of the Titans.

In 2014 he was named in the London Sunday Times' 100 Makers of the 21st Century list, was awarded the RPS Progress Medal for his work on the film and was part of Ad Age's Creativity 50.


In anticipation of his upcoming talk at the REAL 2015 event in San Francisco, we asked Tim a few questions about the future of 3D technology.  Here’s what he said:

Where do you think 3D technology will be in 2 years? 5 years? 10 years?

Predicting the future is hard enough, but getting the year correct is extra hard so I am going to munge it all into one.

My first answer is one word: ubiquitous.  That's an exaggeration but there will certainly be more and more technology creeping into every corner of our lives.  Combine the increasing power of computer generated (CG) rendering, the fact that it gets cheaper, the advent of virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR) glasses and more flexible screens (literally and figuratively), there are going to be more and more CG images in our lives.

Very gradually over the ten year period we will start to see increasing strides made in the final big challenge for CG – believable virtual humans – virtual humans are possible now to an extent but there are many levels of CG human and certainly many levels left to conquer.  But we chip away at those levels every year. 

What is the biggest opportunity for 3D technology?

It will be very interesting to see where VR and proper AR take us.  Both are obviously reliant on CG images and could open up all sorts of new forms of entertainment and storytelling that don't really exist yet.  Or maybe it won't.  The technology is certainly beginning to get there, but creating the content is a whole new field.  There is a lot of experimenting to be done – we don't know where we will end up yet.

What will you be talking about at REAL?

I'm going to be talking the making of film Gravity. I was the Visual Effects Supervisor on Gravity.  And I'll be looking forward from Gravity to how the techniques we developed for that film may be used on future projects, both in film and the wider area of CG images in particular how virtual images are leaving the screen and coming more and more into the real world.

To hear Tim speak in person, join us at REAL 2015.

The Oscar-winning movie Gravity. Image courtesy of Warner Bros. Pictures and Framestore.

Paddington. Image courtesy of Heyday Film, Studio Canal and Framestore.

Guardians of the Galaxy (nominated for Best Visual Effects this year). Guardians of the Galaxy image courtesy of Marvel Studios and Framestore.