Paul "P.V.C." Van Camp

Software Developer, VFX Animator, and Technical Director

Career Overview:

I have an extensive and diversified software background that includes the MEAN full-stack technology (i.e. MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and NodeJS) as well as software development with Python and C++. I am the author of a MEAN-stack uploading-queue for Sony that is being used to archive thousands of media files and I am the sole author of a multi-game mobile app created with Ionic along its associated web site: http://icepix.fun.

For decades I worked in the Visual Effects industry and in 2001 the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences issued me a Technical Achievement Award for my work on an image processing program called Nuke. They categorized my contribution as an "original accomplishment that contributed to the progress of the industry."

Screen credits:

Brainstorm, 2010, Poltergeist II, Big Trouble in Little China, Monster Squad, The Boy Who Could Fly, Solarbabies, Masters of The Universe, Dante's Peak, The Fifth Element, Titanic, Bicentennial Man, Hollow Man, Eight Legged Freaks, Loony Toons: Back In Action, Open Season, Librarian II (a Sci-fi channel movie), Journey To The Center of The Earth in 3D, Shark Night 3D, and Hotel Transylvania.

For a link to my www.imdb.com page click -> HERE <-

Bit of Movie Trivia:

My first film Brainstorm was the last theatrical feature for both its director, Douglas Trumball, and its leading lady, Natalee Wood. When Mrs. Wood died in a drowning accident the producters at MGM attempted to shut the production down but Mr. Trumball objected. He went on the air with the then-popular talk show host David Frost and accused MGM of ripping off insurance company Lloyds of London by collecting on the completion bond instead of finishing the film. Mr. Trumball's audacity got the film finished but it cost him his career as he never directed another feature film. He remains however one of the most important and under-appreciated pioneers of the VFX industry.

Education:

Bachelor's degree in Electronic Engineering from the State University of New York (S.U.N.Y.) at Stony Brook in 1979. Graduated in the top 5% with a GPA of 3.8. In '88 I acquired a camera assistant certificate from Arriflex and have since taken various courses in cinematography and screenwriting at UCLA Extension.

Skills:
  • Computer Languages: Javascript, Python, C++, SQL, HTML, CSS, MEL, Perl
  • Development Support: git, gdb, XCode, Dreamweaver, SVN, CVS, make, gmake
  • Services: MongoDB, MySQL, TCP/IP, SSH, FTP, Heroku, Cloudinary
  • Artist Tools: Maya, Houdini, Nuke, GIMP, Katana, Shotgun, Renderman Studio
  • Renderers: Renderman, Arnold, Mental Ray, Mantra, OpenGL
Author:

To see an interview with me on a local Orlando talk show click -> HERE <-


Independent: Software Developer       - March '17 - present

Am writing software for a motor control system for Fantasy Engineering. This system uses PIC series embedded microcontrollers from Microchip and a PC based interface written in C++ and QML using the QtCreate IDE.

Also created a multi-game smart-phone app for photo contests and icebreaker games at parties that uses the MEAN (MongoDB Express AngularJS NodeJS) Rest API and website to service the app. The phone app was created with Ionic and is available on Android as well as iPhone.


SCEA (aka Sony Playstation): Full Stack Developer       - May '15 to Feb '17 -

Created a Python and PyQt based tool used to categorize and upload media files to a cloud-based service known as Bynder. Also created an uploading queue for performing the uploading as a background task off a separate server. The uploading queue service was created with a MEAN stack (i.e. using MongoDB, Express, AngularJS, and NodeJS).


WEVR: Pipeline Guru          - Feb '14 to May '15 -

Led the creation of a proprietary media conversion pipeline for converting multiple video streams into 3D Panoramic movies to be played using Virtual Reality headsets. This pipeline used the Python computer language, Nuke image-processing tool, and the Deadline Renderfarm to achieve its goals.


Prime Focus World: Pipeline Supervisor          - May '13 to Nov '13 -

Led a development team of three programmers in the support and ongoing development of an international production pipeline that allowed artists, supervisors, and producers in multiple facilities to engage in tight collaboration while creating visual effects for major film productions. The company created effects for thousands of shots in the 2014 movies: Hercules: The Thracian Wars, Sin City: A Dame To Kill For, Non-stop, and Vampire Academy: Blood Sisters.


Sr. Water FX Technical Director          - Three Contracts Between Feburary '12 and May '13-

Rhythm & Hues:          - Nov '12 to April '13 -
Was a member of the water team for the film "Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters." As the title suggests there were large-scale water scenes involving fluid simulations, deformer based ocean waves, particle-system based foam, and volumetric fog, mist, and churn elements. Houdini was the primary animation tool and rendering was done with Mantra.

Digital Sandbox:          - August '12 -
Three week assignment to create spray and foam elements using Houdini. This was for the film "Chasing Mavericks."

Sony Imageworks:          - Feburary '12 to June '12 -
Was a member of the water team creating elements for Sony Picture's all CG movie "Hotel Transylvania". We used Naiad and/or Houdini to create physics-based CG water that splashes and moves in response to character animations. Katana was then used to integrate those elements for rendering in stereo with Arnold.


Reliance Media Works: Facility Pipeline Supervisor          - October '08 to January '12 -

Was responsible for creating a visual effects pipeline from the ground up for a new VFX studio. Created a MySQL-based asset manger for tracking and updating models, cameras, and other digital assets and created my own renderfarm manager and OS environment manager. Also supervised development of all other aspects of the pipeline including dailies, I/O management, color management, and renderfarm submission tools as well as plug-ins for Shake, Nuke, Maya, Naiad, and Arnold.

On "Shark Night 3D" I also acted as an Effects TD providing technical and rendering support for the creation of photorealistic water waves and splashes.


ImageMovers Digital: Sr. FX Technical Director          - October '07 to October '08 -

Was responsible for tool and look development for photorealistic fire in Disney’s all CG stereoscopic 3D feature film “A Christmas Carol” starring Jim Cary. Since a major character in the story is composed of fire, that fire had to be highly art-directable so as to reflect character emotions and to scare the audience. I created emission, cropping, and deformation tools for Maya fluids along with a volumetric shader for rendering the results within Renderman. The code involved Python (including pyQT), C++, and RSL (Renderman Shading Language.) Packages were Maya, Renderman, Renderman Studio, and some simple composites in Nuke.

The image to the left is of a fire created with Maya's fluid-sym displayed within Maya both natively and with an OpenGL preview window utility which I wrote. Also shown is the resulting Renderman-rendered image using my volumetric shader.


Meteor Studios: FX Animator          - November '06 to September '07 -

Developed tools and shaders as well as animations for CG atmosphere, dust, and damage effects for the film: Journey to the Center of the Earth in 3D. Developed a volumetric fluid plug-in for rendering Maya fluids within Renderman; developed footprint and dust tools for creating reactionary dust and debris along with collision based foot imprints; developed a geometry break-up plug-in for converting polygonal geometry into interlocking 3D Voronoi shapes. This was a “soup to nuts” assignment involving look development as well as animation, rendering, and preliminary lighting and compositing.

To view a page which describes tools that I created for the show click -> HERE <-

Primary packages: Maya, MTOR, Renderman, and Shake.


Electric Effects: FX and Crowd Animator          - March '06 to July '06 -

Did particle effects and crowd animation for hundreds of flying ghost creatures which appear in the Sci-fi channel movie Librarian II. I did the camera setups, previz animatics, ghost look-development, final ghost animations and renderings. The attached clip contains preliminary composites which use backgrounds which I rendered (but did not model or light.)

The packages used were Maya, Mental Ray, and Shake. This also involved Perl, Python, C-shell, and MEL scripting.


Sony Imageworks: Sr. Software Developer          - March '04 to March '06 -

Software development and support for asset tracking, motion capture data clean-up, and hardware based particle rendering. Also created a proprietary computer language for initializing and manipulating a particle system developed for Spiderman III.

To see a description of that language click -> HERE <-

This job primarily involved C++ software development along with some Perl and Python.


Warner Bros. Animation: CG Pipeline Supervisor          - Dec. '02 to Feb. '04 -

Created an effects pipeline from the ground up for Looney Tunes: Back In Action, Scooby Doo Two and future projects. This meant defining a standardized shot directory structure and creating software and documentation for environment initialization, navigation aliases, disk usage reports, software package version control, package based render queue submission, privileged directory construction, asset publishing, and a MySQL based assignment tracking database.

CG packages used were Maya, Mental Ray, Renderman, and Shake.
Computer languages: Perl, PHP, Python, pyQT, XHTML, MySQL, MEL, Linux C-shell, and C++.


Centropolis Effects: FX Animator and Department Lead         - Jan. '01 to Nov. '02 -

Added CG dust, smoke, and flying spider guts to sequences for the film Eight Legged Freaks and worked on look-development for the spaceship destruction sequences for the Matrix sequel.

Maya, Renderman, and Shake were the principle packages utilized.


To see my complete resume click -> HERE <-