Tim Fortenberry

Effects and Lighting Technical director

Senior Realtime Effects Artist


Senior Effects and Lighting Technical Director with experience creating and designing Particle, Fluid and Rigid Simulations to create Photorealistic rendered elements of natural phenomena. Elements including water, smoke, fire, dust, splashes, debris, and rigid objects. Methods of common use are PLS, SPH and procedural geometry fracturing, and automatic event-based effects. Experience also in creature and set lighting and programming (C/C++, Python, RenderMan Shading) where appropriate.



Full volumetric fire and smoke simulations using Blackbody Radiation models for rendering and heat distribution as well as simplistic models depending on circumstance.


Techniques for splashing, sheeting, flowing, and deep ocean water used include PhysBAM PLS, SPH, particle and stringy effects, including underwater bubbles, foam simulations. and 2D displacement methods from shallow water simulations.


Misc. Effects

Glass, Leaves, Debris. Blood, Goo, Spit, instanced and procedural geometry. Particle and rigid body based methods to create organic structures to mimic natural movement.


Smoke effects using volumetric PhysBAM simulations rendered and simulated onto upres grids. As well as sprite, and 2D fluids based methods for smoke and atmospheric effects.


Lighting of CG characters and natural phenomena to match principal photography or to create digital environments.


Groups of digital creatures using agent based instanced geometry approaches of small swarming creatures (ants) as well as completely hair-covered creatures in hero roles.


343 Industries / Microsoft Corporation  

Senior FX Artist / Cinematics FX Lead


  • Design and Creation of photorealistic atmostpheric, energy, destruction and general environmental effects in a real-time engine for Halo4.
  • Technology adaptation from offline rendering, simulation, lighting and shading standards from film techniques into a real-time game engine.
  • Design and Scoping of highest quality performant effects for cinematic sequences in game.Design and Creation of generic effect libraries to be used as hero effects thoughout the engine.
  • Industrial Light and Magic

    Lead Effects and Lighting Technical Director, Sequence Supervisor


  • Setup and simplification of complex effects for use by artists with varying skill sets.
  • Design and Creation of widespread generics and hero effects.
  • Supervision Responsibilities for look of digital assets in shots in regards to lighting, scene integration and effects.
  • Industrial Light and Magic

    Effects and Lighting Technical Director


  • Lighting, compositing, and software development for CG elements of shots.
  • Simulation, lighting and compositing as required for the creation of photorealistic effects and creatures.
  • Lighting techniques included image based lighting, traditional lighting techniques as well as raytracing where appropriate for various creatures and effects.
  • Simulation techniques included PLS and SPH for water splashes and oceans, GPU based simulations for shallow water surfaces and fire, PhysBAM based smoke for smoke, volumetric fire and dust, and standard physics based particle rules for debris, dust and other minor effects.
  • Shader writing of custom RenderMan shaders for rendering procedurally created geometry as well as for hair, including creating cheap methods for rendering large groups of completely hairy creatures.
  • Industrial Light and Magic

    Pipeline Research and Development Engineer


  • Evaluated and redesigned generic shader set for RenderMan, mental ray, and ILM's proprietary renderer.
  • Responsible for the re-design of the rendering pipeline towards an internal solution with the ability to easily integrate any vendor software.
  • Designed and implemented a batch rendering / compositing system, scheduler, and appropriate monitoring tools, and programming interfaces.
  • Ported applications / scripts to the Linux, OSF1, and OSX platforms from IRIX.
  • Designed and implemented cross-platform software control and distribution system to manage and use arbitrary numbers of internal and external software across multiple operating systems.
  • Industrial Light and Magic

    Production Software Engineer


  • Developer and support role for internal and external software.
  • Created interfaces for batch rendering tools to handle logic of processes before rendering and after composites were done.
  • Created and maintained converter utilities between various 3D file formats. (Softimage, Maya, Discreet and others)
  • Developed and maintained internal graphics software for daily use in site-wide film productions.
  • Supported community of computer graphics artists of varying disciplines (rotoscope, technical directing, animation, viewpainting) and of varying technical ability.
  • Industrial Light and Magic

    Technical Digital Resource Assistant


  • Redesigned resource management tools to better interact with asset tracking system and with emphasis on automation.
  • Designed and implemented tool set for use for tracking and managing digital resources including shot allocation, thousands of individual frames.
  • Education

    University of California at Berkeley

  • Bachelor of Arts in Anthropology - Emphasis in Archaeology.
  • Concentrations in Computer Science, Discrete Mathematics and Computer Graphics.
  • Publications

  • "The Future of Gaming" Speaker - Jordan Gaming Summit 2013 - Amman, Jordan.
  • "It's Not Wise to Upset a Wookiee" SIGGRAPH 2005 Sketch, Co-Author Pat Conran.
  • Python Success Stories - "Industrial Light & Magic Runs on Python". O'Reilly & Associates
  • Credits

  • Halo 4 (2012)
  • Red Tails (2012)
  • Transformers: Dark of the Moon (2011)
  • Iron Man 2 (2009)
  • Avatar (2009)
  • Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen (2009)
  • Star Trek (2009)
  • Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2008)
  • The Spiderwick Chronicles (2008)
  • Evan Almighty (2007)
  • Pirates of the Caribbean: Dead Man's Chest (2006)
  • Poseidon (2006)
  • Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith (2005)
  • Van Helsing (2004)
  • Tim Fortenberry | Effects and Lighting Technical Director | Senior Realtime Effects Artist