Feb. 25, 2014
Contact: Steve Rottinghaus, Baker University public relations director, (785) 594-8330,
Baker alumnus part of visual effects team nominated for Academy Award
Baldwin City, Kan. — Awe-struck by the creative imagery and energy in "Star Wars," "E.T." and "Jurassic Park" during his childhood trips to the movie theaters, Baker University alumnus Patrick Tubach developed a passion for film.
On Sunday, March 2, the 1996 Baker graduate and three other members of an Industrial Light and Magic team who worked on J.J. Abrams' "Star Trek Into Darkness" will attend the 86th Academy Awards at Dolby Theater in Los Angeles as an Oscar nominee for Best Visual Effects. An associate visual effects supervisor at the motion picture visual effects company Industrial Light and Magic, Tubach served as the co-visual effects supervisor in the production of the science fiction action film. Tubach, Roger Guyett, Ben Grossman and Burt Dalton will be competing against teams from "Gravity," "The Hobbit: The Desolation of Smaug," Iron Man 3," and the "Lone Ranger" for the iconic gold statue.
"There is no losing once you are nominated," said Tubach, originally from Simbsury, Conn., and the son of 1964 Baker graduate Paul Tubach. "I work with a tremendously talented group of artists in San Francisco and Singapore and it is the daily back and forth with the artists about how to improve shots, solve problems and come up with mind-blowing images that makes the work truly special. J.J. Abrams creates these amazing films and I had lot of faith J.J. was making another great movie. We weren't really thinking about the Academy Awards when we worked on this movie."
Founded in 1975 by George Lucas of "Star Wars" franchise fame, ILM has created some of the most memorable visual effects in film history and has won 15 Academy Awards. Although he has been a part of other ILM projects that were nominated for an Oscar, Tubach's name had not been mentioned as an Academy Award nominee until "Star Trek Into Darkness."
In his supervisory role on the film, Tubach worked with the director, producers and other department heads to create the visual effects. On the set, he analyzed what was being shot to help create the best possible visual result once the film went into post-production. Tubach, who has worked 15 years with ILM, spent about half the shoot time on set in Los Angeles and the other half back at his San Francisco office "getting prepped and ramped up" for post-production. Once the shooting wrapped, the team took on all the primary design duties for the film and worked on modeling and texturing all the assets — ships, buildings, weapons and digital characters — and prepping effects techniques, including creating fire, lava and explosions. Then they started rigging the assets to move by animating, lighting, rendering and compositing them into shots.
Tubach personally spent most of his time helping out on the look of red jungle planet Nibiru, the interior of the Nibiru volcano, the black ship Vengeance and future San Francisco.
"Working with our art director to conceptualize future San Francisco was a real thrill given that I am a resident of the area," he said.
Tubach's wife, Tavis, will join him on the red carpet before taking their seat on the ground floor at Dolby Theater. Tubach's family, including his three children, Avery, 10, Sam, 7, and Allie, 5, are excited about the honor.
"All they say is that, 'My dad makes movies,'" Tubach noted. "When my oldest daughter found out I was going to the Academy Awards, the first thing she asked was, "Who are you going to wear?'"
Tubach has served in various artistic and management roles at ILM since 1999. He started as a compositor, combining visual elements from separate sources in single images to create the illusion that all these elements are parts of the same scene. Then he transitioned to lead compositor, compositing supervisor and 2D department supervisor before his current role.
Always a movie buff, Tubach remembers being inspired in high school by a teacher during an independent study class based on film. The teacher encouraged him to produce short films in the style of John Ford and Stanley Kubrick.
"That's the kind of things teachers do for you and they didn't have to do that," Tubach said. "That fueled my passion to get into filmmaking. That teacher made a huge difference."
Tubach also remembered the difference Baker communication professors Richard Bayha and Harold Cordry made during his four years on the Baldwin City campus, where he worked as a disc jockey for KNBU Radio and was a writer for the Baker Orange newspaper.
"He was very encouraging," Tubach recalled of Bayha. "He wanted us to work with the resources we had to create cool projects like music videos and know how to create a linear story and make a good presentation package."
Cordry helped develop Tubach's writing style.
"He helped me understand the journalism side and what it meant to write for a particular audience," Tubach said. "Writing skills never go out of style."
Tubach thought he was headed for a career in journalism before connecting with Cinesite in Los Angeles at a time when the digital effects industry was exploding.
"I enjoy writing and I feel have a penchant for it," Tubach said. "Studying mass communications at Baker exposed me to a lot of different things. My interest in film and movies never waned. You take that first job out of college and see where that leads. Once you get that foot in the door, you have to keep it there. I am glad I stayed with that career path."
He is currently working on "Transformers 4 Age of Extinction." Tubach takes pride in enhancing a movie through creative visual effects.
"To make a movie, it has to be more than visuals," he explained. "You can never be 100 percent satisfied unless there is there some backbone to the story. Your goal is to move the whole story forward through visual effects. There is such a heavy creative aspect to visual effects. We use our imagination to dream up all this stuff that the filmmakers hopefully find cool and want to put into their movie."
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