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Vision Art Design & Animation, Inc., often referred to as VisionArt Design & Animation or simply VisionArt, was a visual effects company, founded on 10 September 1985 by business partners David L. Rose and Todd Hess [1], which has created computer-generated imagery (CGI) for use in Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, Star Trek: Voyager and Star Trek: First Contact. The company was initially located in Santa Ana, California, before moving to their own property (acquired by the founders as part of a real estate investment), 3025 W. Olympic Blvd., Santa Monica, California, in 1992, were it remained until its closure. Prior to 1992, the company predominantly worked on commission base on commercials and other promotion materials for manufacturers of consumer products, before being contracted for Deep Space Nine, which was their first major effects work, in the motion picture industry, and which necessitated their move to larger accommodations in Santa Monica.

They worked on the Changeling morph effect, scrutinized by Dennis Blakey first seen in "Emissary", winning him an Emmy Award. They also worked on Odo's transformation into a spinning top in "Shadowplay", the Changeling sea in "The Search, Part I" and "The Search, Part II", Odo's morph in "The Abandoned", the morphs in "Heart of Stone", Odo's "melting" in "Distant Voices" and several Changeling effects in "The Adversary", including the popular neck breaking scene involving Dennis Madalone. The Changeling morphs, were predominantly worked upon by Carl Hooper, after original designer and creator Blakey left VisionArt, halfway through the first season of Deep Space Nine.

Defiant Starship Down

VisionArt's CGI Defiant

For the new DS9 title sequence which first appeared in the fourth season episode "The Way of the Warrior", VisionArt had built and rendered the USS Defiant and the Danube-class, such as the USS Mekong (both by Daniel Kramer and Carl Hooper), which both appear before the Deep Space Nine title as computer-generated models, proving to be also convenient, production-wise, for when it was necessary to see those ships go to warp. The CGI shot of the Defiant going to warp was already for the first time used in the previous season episode "Defiant". The episode earned Executive Vice-President Joshua Rose (son of founder David) an Emmy Award nomination. Other effects Vision Art worked on in that season included the artificial wormhole in "Rejoined" and the gas giant scenes in "Starship Down", where the Defiant, the Jem'Hadar fighter, the atmospheric probe and the cloud effects were all computer-generated. [X]wbm (Star Trek: Deep Space Nine Companion). A further major contribution was the fifth season first CGI version of the Jem'Hadar battle cruiser built by Tony Sansalone.

For First Contact, VisionArt constructed the T'Plana-Hath-type CGI model. The company specifically petitioned the studio to be involved with the production, coming hot on the heels of their very first major movie project, Independence Day. Taking a chance, their wish was granted, but not before a guarantee was wrestled from the company as Josh Rose recalled, "Peter Lauritson made us promise that this would be the best-looking ship we'd ever done. He told us this sequence would depict the beginning of the "Star Trek" franchise; and so it would be among the most important moments in the film." (Cinefex, issue 69, p. 118). Using as reference John Eaves' study model, painted by Robert Tom and photographed by Rose for texture mapping, the model was built by Kramer and Hooper.

The company also helped out with some of the computer animation for Voyager's pilot episode "Caretaker", this time earning Josh Rose an Emmy Award in the category "Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects".

VisionArt also worked on popular films such as Independence Day (1996), Men in Black, Godzilla (1998), Doctor Dolittle (1998), and Deep Blue Sea (1999). VisionArt entered into a joint venture with newly formed Digital Muse in 1996 (Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 6, p. 48), but both companies closed their doors in 2000 as Digital Muse fell prey to a hostile take-over. While most of Muse's employees moved over to Eden FX to continue working on Star Trek, none of VisionArt did. The most likely explanation for this was, that by this time the television franchise had streamlined and enhanced production efficiency, by continuing with LightWave 3D software using CGI vendors only. Throughout its existence, the software platform of choice for VisionArt had been the, non-interchangeable, "Prisms" and "Ice" software packages, from SideFx Software. [X]wbm

Upon the closure of VisionArt, an effort was made by the original founders to restart the company on the same location as Santa Monica Studios, LLC. [2] (not to be confused with the successful computer games company of the same name owned by Sony), with Josh Rose again slated to serve as Executive Vice-President [3], but that company never got off the ground, currently only renting out the real estate on the property. [4]

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