View Full Version : Foundation Imaging -In memoriam

05-05-2012, 10:45 AM
One of the saddest day in the LW community is the day is the day FI closed shop.
It was for the longest time THE LW studio, and they changed forever how VFX are done for TV.

From Wikipedia:
"Foundation Imaging was a CGI visual effects studio, computer animation studio, and post-production editing facility that pioneered digital imaging for television programming using Newtek's LightWave 3D on Commodore Amiga based Video Toaster workstations. Founded by Paul Beigle-Bryant and Ron Thornton, they are best known for their work on the science fiction series Babylon 5. Their Emmy Award winning work on the pilot episode of Babylon 5 popularised the usage of Lightwave 3D on US TV shows for CGI visual effects, leading to it becoming an industry standard. After Babylon 5's third season, the company terminated its relationship with the show in order to contract with Paramount's Star Trek Voyager and Deep Space Nine (winning two more Emmys for their work on Voyager), as well as providing CG visuals for the Warner Brothers direct-to-video animated movies based on Batman:The Animated Series.

The company was dissolved after work on season one of Star Trek: Enterprise had been completed and the company assets were sold off in a public auction on December 17, 2002 by Brian Testo Associates, LLC. Key animators from the company, Adam "Mojo" Lebowitz and John Teska remain major figures in the visual effects field for their work on shows such as the rebooted Battlestar Galactica and Lost."


Ill post some reel from their fantastic portfolio on this thread.

05-05-2012, 10:50 AM
Some reels:

Buckaroo Banzai -

05-05-2012, 02:00 PM
So why did they close shop, Bad economy?

05-05-2012, 04:44 PM

I remember when their renderfarm was on a bid.

"Foundation Imaging houses 24 Amiga 2000s, 16 of which serve as dedicated rendering engines. Each of the 16 packs 32 megabytes of RAM, a Fusion 40 accelerator, and a Toaster"


05-05-2012, 05:36 PM
Theres lots of reasons the company went bellyup. I worked at Netter Digital which was probably the biggest competitor to Foundation at the time which was also a large LW house. It also went bankrupt first. Many of us went over to Foundation. Both places were great to work at. I think both places got a bit heavy with lots of employees and not enough work to sustain as many people as they had. I remember FI losing a job or two, not getting some jobs they watned to get and so forth. I also remember FI bringing in a new business partner with the promise of using his contacts to get more work. Unfortunately that never seemed to pan out either. I was there til close to the end and was also involved with Foundation Institute which was a school that FI started. Sad to see it all go.

05-05-2012, 08:02 PM
I see, certainly interesting to a guy who didn't get heavy into 3d till 2004. I felt kinda sad when TSR was bought by wizards and left wisconsin. Also when Gary Gygax died. http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gary_Gygax

Was bummed when Gencon left milwaukee too. =(. All those TSR and FASA artists that worked on those illustrations for 30+ years definitely left an impression on me. Then animation came into my life as a career possibility not too shortly after. Now it is my career choice.

05-05-2012, 08:11 PM
Netter ended up taking over Babylon 5 from Foundation which caused some bad feelings between both studios. Netter later on did Voltron 3d which was one of the first CGI TV series done with LW. Foundation went on to do Roughnecks and Netter worked on Max Steel and Dan Dare. Later both of those showed went entirely over to Foundation.

05-05-2012, 08:14 PM
Man, if I had a dream it would be to see more fully 3D TV episodes.

05-06-2012, 05:02 AM
Roughnecks was an awesome show, i have all 8 dvd's!
Dane Dare was also cool, i only wish i had all the shows and not just the few bundled onto the dvd.
Max steel was okay and similar to Action Man in many respects.

05-06-2012, 06:20 AM
I wish all the Dan Dare episodes had been on the DVD. I dont know why it was done that way. I believe Im listed on the DVD as technical director on that show. :)

05-06-2012, 03:37 PM
Here is another famous shot:
Star Trek Voyager - Timeless Crash Scene HD

05-06-2012, 03:51 PM
The scattering snow etc in that shot was done as a practical effect using salt and an air hose. :)

05-06-2012, 05:25 PM
The scattering snow etc in that shot was done as a practical effect using salt and an air hose. :)

great shot.

BTW was this one a FI sequence?

DS9: Sacrifice of Angels Fleet Battle

it is amazing work, even for today.