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Foundation Imaging

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Real World article
(written from a Production point of view)
Foundation Imaging logo

Foundation Imaging, set up in 1992 in Valencia, California, and headed by founders Ron Thornton and Paul Bryant, produced visual effects for several Star Trek productions, as well as other genre productions, most notably Babylon 5, for which they provided groundbreaking VFX. In the process they were partly responsible for the fact that the software they used, LightWave 3D (then called Video Toaster Suite, a hardware-software combination) became an industry standard for the next decade. For that show, which was the first to be exclusively done in CGI, Foundation had to come up with both believable and cost effective CG imagery in which they succeeded convincingly. Babylon 5 was the definitive breakthrough for CGI in television productions and heralded the end of the traditional model miniature photography (or at least its predominance).

Foundation Imaging founders
The Founders, Ron Thornton{L} and Paul Bryant

Foundation started its association with Star Trek for second season's VOY: "Basics, Part I" when Dan Curry charged the company with creating the Hanonian land eel. John Teska's creation was such that Curry became convinced that Foundation was up to the task. From VOY: "The Swarm" onward Foundation became the regular CGI supplier for Star Trek: Voyager. (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 6, p. 46) The intention was that the CGI workload for televised Star Trek was to be divided between Foundation for Voyager and Digital Muse for Star Trek: Deep Space Nine. In practice however, the workload became such, especially in later seasons, that both companies were called upon to help each other out for specifically tasking episodes, resulting that both did CGI work for either series.

The move over to Star Trek prompted some of the original employees, headed by Babylon 5 executive producer Douglas Netter, to split off from Foundation to form the new company Netter Digital Entertainment (NDE), which became from 1995 onward the sole supplier of CGI for the Babylon 5 franchise.

Foundation Imaging closed its doors shortly after the end of season one of Enterprise and sold its assets in an auction on 12 December 2002 (as may be seen at Brian Testo Associates, LLC website). Their website, foundation-i.com, is no longer functional, and visitors to the site are redirected to a domain name holding company. A number of employees moved over to then recently formed Eden FX.

One of the studio's final projects was the late Robert Wise's director's cut of Star Trek: The Motion Picture.

Staff

Foundation Imaging employees
The team of Foundation

Credits

Further reading

External link

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