(written from a Production point of view)
James "Jim" Reginald Rygiel (born 17 February 1955; age 59) was the Visual Effects Supervisor on Star Trek: Insurrection while in the employ of Blue Sky/VIFX. Hailing from Kenosha, Wisconsin, Rygiel started his career in the visual effects industry in 1980 when he joined computer animation company Pacific Electric Pictures. Since 1983, when Rygiel began working at Digital Productions, Rygiel has overseen the digital or visual effects for 25 feature films.
During his time at Digital Production, Rygiel supervised effects on a number of projects, including the films The Last Starfighter and 2010 (both released in 1984). From 1989 through 1998, he worked at Boss Film Studios, where he oversaw effects production on a number of films. He supervised the digital effects for such films as Ghost (1991, starring Whoopi Goldberg), Alien³ (1992), Batman Returns (1992), The Last of the Mohicans (1992), and Cliffhanger (1993). He then supervised visual effects for films like Outbreak (1995) and Starship Troopers (1997, starring Dina Meyer and Clancy Brown).
After Boss Film Studios closed down in 1998, Rygiel continued working as a Visual Effects Supervisor on films. Besides Star Trek: Insurrection, he also worked on Anna and the King (1999), 102 Dalmatians (2000), and as a digital effects creator on The Fast and the Furious (2001). He then supervised the visual effects for all three films of Peter Jackson's epic Lord of the Rings trilogy, The Fellowship of the Ring (2001), The Two Towers (2002), and The Return of the King (2003). Rygiel and others on the Lord of the Rings visual effects team (including Joe Letteri and Mark Stetson) received three consecutive Academy Award nominations for Best Visual Effects, one for each Lord of the Rings film; they won all three. Rygiel has earned a number of other awards for his work on Lord of the Rings, including the American Film Institute's first AFI Digital Effects Artist of the Year award.
More recently, Rygiel designed the visual effects for the Adam Sandler comedy Click and supervised the visual effects for the hit Ben Stiller fantasy film Night at the Museum. He was also the Second Unit Director on both of these films, as he was on Return of the King. He is currently set to serve as Senior Visual Effects Supervisor on The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Treader, due for theatrical release in 2009.