A homegrown talent, Keegen joined Image Engine in 2012 to work on Elysium. Since then he has contributed to Fast & Furious 6, White House Down, Point Break, Deadpool, The Last Witch Hunter and The X-Files. Having recently contributed to Independence Day Resurgence as Compositing Supervisor, Keegen shares how he got into the industry and why he chose to work at Image Engine.
Can you tell us a little about how you became interested in and then got into visual effects?
In high school I had a great art teacher who pushed me to sculpt. Sculpting quickly became a passion but I loved films and wanted to make them. My art teacher lent me his camera and I started shooting my first stop motion shorts. After two shorts I made a three-minute stop motion film, which was placed in the Vancouver International Film Festival in 1996.
When I graduated from high school my grandparents sent me to a summer course at VanArts for traditional animation. I found it to be quite time consuming and decided that adding in the computer component is the way to go. I enrolled in Vancouver Film School and the rest is history.
What were the early years in your career like?
My first job was at Rainmaker on Air Bud. After that came Good Boy! where I started working in full 3D renders. I started to really love 3D at this point. From there I moved on to I, Robot and then Elektra. I, Robot was my first big movie.
What made you choose to work at Image Engine?
I chose Image Engine because they have the ability to be a big shop working on blockbusters, and yet still have the culture and the vibe of a boutique studio. Plus I love working with super high quality 3D and some of the best 3D in Vancouver comes out of Image Engine. They just put love and care into it. The pipeline, the look development and the assets team are also amazing.
What have been your proudest achievements while working here?
I’d have to say Elysium and Fast & Furious 6 are some of the work I’m happiest with.
What does your role as Compositing Supervisor entail?
It involves quite a bit from determining the scope of work and how long shots will take, to coordinating with the various departments, assigning shots to the best-suited compositors, mentoring artists and helping them refine their skills, performing quality control on all the shots and keeping a good working knowledge of what the client’s expectations are and exceeding them while staying within budget, and much more…
What do you wish you’d known when you first started out in the industry? What would you have done differently?
Nothing really. I don’t think we are the people we are today without trying and failing. We learn and grow from our mistakes and are a better person/artist for it.
Finally, what do you like to do in your spare time?
Besides the standard Vancouver sports like snowboarding, hiking and biking I also love sculpting, airbrushing, playing airsoft and shooting sports including target shooting!