Many moons ago, I was fumbling around in 3ds Max for the first time, and finally located and clicked the “Render” button. I watched as the computer spat out frame after frame of a small animation in which ice cubes floated around in a cup of soda. The memory of that moment, twenty years ago now, has never faded. I’d taken a summer class at the Art Institute, in Dallas, and that simple animation was the start of a very, very long journey for me.

The ability to visualize and design characters and objects, and then to model, texture, rig, animate and render them, is profound and deep magic.