November 12, 2008
Image Metrics Creates Video Game and Film Divisions to Focus on Unique Facial Animation Needs of Each Industry
Image Metrics, the leading provider of facial animation solutions for the entertainment industry, is aligning its operations into Video Game and Film and TV divisions to address the growing demand for its services in the two industries. Image Metrics' Kelvin Duckett has been promoted to become general manager of the film group. Former Havok sales executive Brian Waddle is joining Image Metrics as general manager of the games organization. In these newly created positions, Duckett and Waddle will work directly with CEO Mike Starkenburg to expand business operations in their respective markets.
"With leading visual effects companies and game developers outsourcing key production components to specialized experts like Image Metrics, demand for our facial animation solutions has been increasing in both the video game and film industries," said Mike Starkenburg, Image Metrics' chief executive officer. "As a result, Image Metrics is organizing its expertise and resources into two divisions to best serve the unique needs of each market. This will ensure we can continue to efficiently deliver outstanding animation and significant return on investment to our growing customer base."
Having guided Image Metrics in various roles over the past several years including a term as the COO, Kelvin Duckett will now lead the Film and TV division as General Manager, where he will oversee global sales to feature film and visual effects studios, post production houses and broadcast customers. Duckett brings with him more than 20 years of experience working in the film industry. He has built, run and sold highly technical service companies such as 525 Post Productions (Hollywood), Virgin Mexico (Mexico City), Rushes (London), MediaLab (Paris) and POP & Post Logic Studios (Los Angeles). Trained as an editor, Duckett has worked for the BBC, ITN and ABC News. He has also worked extensively as a visual FX specialist on high-end commercials and music videos.
With Duckett's guidance, Image Metrics has recently debuted a beta program for film studios interested in incorporating the performance transfer portion of its facial animation technology into their internal production pipelines. In addition to its upcoming film projects, Image Metrics also showcased its facial animation capabilities in film at the SIGGRAPH 2008 tradeshow with a photo-real demo of a character named "Emily" that became recognized worldwide as a new achievement in CG believability.
"Helping to establish Image Metrics as a key player in the entertainment industry has been incredibly rewarding and I am now looking forward to taking a more concentrated role in driving the Film and TV division forward," said Duckett. "The level of believability that Image Metrics' facial animation offers is helping directors tell stories otherwise not possible, while making sure their characters resonate with audiences. I am pleased to be leading this new division as we continue to produce truly outstanding facial animation for our film and broadcast clients."
Brian Waddle brings senior management expertise and a history of sales success to his role as General Manager of Video Games at Image Metrics. Before joining Image Metrics, Waddle was VP of Worldwide Sales & Marketing at Havok, where he oversaw global sales and marketing operations and channel development until the company's recent acquisition by Intel. Throughout his career, Waddle has served in a number of executive positions and has a proven track record of developing and executing global sales strategies, overseeing operations and expanding markets. Waddle also participated in the growth of a household name-brand consumer products company from a $200 million private entity to a $2.7 billion public corporation.
"At Havok, I experienced the difference great technology can make in helping game development teams turn good games into successful titles," said Waddle. "Image Metrics is a rising star with outstanding potential to innovate the game development industry. With many notable projects including Midnight Club LA, facial animation for the Rock Band 2 cinematic and Grand Theft Auto IV among its achievements in the past year, the Company is at an exciting stage in its evolution. I look forward to expanding our contributions to the games industry in my new role as General Manager of the division."
About Image Metrics
Image Metrics provides superior facial animation solutions to the interactive entertainment, film and television industries. Developed by a team of computer vision Ph.D.s, Image Metrics rapidly re-creates facial performances without markers or makeup, achieving levels of realism and fidelity that are unparalleled in computer graphics. Image Metrics' solutions enjoy widespread adoption by some of the best-known production studios in the entertainment world, including Digital Domain, Rockstar Games and Sony Computer Entertainment. Image Metrics has offices in Santa Monica, California and Manchester, U.K. Company investors include Saffron Hill Ventures.