Ron Thornton BIO

President/Co-Founder Foundation Imaging Emmy Award-winning special effects artist Ron Thornton is President and Co-Founder of Foundation Imaging, a leading computer animation/special effects company based in Valencia, California. For most of the past 20 years, Thornton has been creating numerous trend-setting visual effects for the entertainment industry.

A native of London, England, Thornton began his entertainment career working for BBC Television, where he created props and miniatures for shows such as the highly popular "Dr. Who," "Blakes 7" and "Tripods." In 1984, Thornton emigrated to the United States, and began working for David Stipes Productions. It was under the tutelage of Stipes (now the Special Effects Supervisor for Paramount Television's "Star Trek: Deep Space Nine") that Thornton gained valuable experience as an effects cameraman working on Martha Coolidge's comedy feature film, "Real Genius."

Thornton went on to create miniatures for several additional movies, including "Commando" with Arnold Schwarzenegger, the Mel Brooks comedy "Space Balls," "Critters" with Billy Zane and Dee Wallace Stone, and "Robot Jox." Thornton also provided miniatures and did camera work for "Amazon Women on the Moon" and "Night of the Creeps." In 1987, Thornton was introduced to the Amiga Computer while supervising miniatures in Canada for the syndicated children's television program "Captain Power and the Soldiers of the Future."While working on "Captain Power," he began to experiment using ground-breaking 3-D computer graphics which would pre-visualize FX shots.

In 1990, Thornton and Foundation Imaging's Director of Operations and Co-Founder, Paul Beigle-Bryant, began discussing the possibility of creating a digital effects facility utilizing the latest advances in desk-top computer technologies. The men were friends who had originally met in England in 1983, and had worked on several projects together. The duo began hatching plans to create an entire special effects business. Thornton sold all of his camera equipment and motion control systems to invest in the new computer systems which would be needed for such an undertaking.

It was mid-1991 when Thornton was approached by the producers of "Captain Power" to bid on miniatures for a sci-fi project they were developing, "Babylon 5." At that time, Thornton had been working with innovative rock music and multimedia artist Todd Rundgren on a short computer-animated film. The work with Rundgren led Thornton to suggest using computers for the effects on "Babylon 5." Thornton and Beigle-Bryant created a one-minute video of proposed visual effects for "Babylon 5," which would become instrumental in selling the show to Warner Bros. Television in July, 1992.

Upon pick-up of the new series, Thornton and Beigle-Bryant formed Foundation Imaging to continue creating the visuals for "Babylon 5." For four years, Thornton served as Special Effects Designer on "Babylon 5." He has also worked on Paramount's "Viper" and CBS' "Skeleton Warriors." In 1993, Thornton and Beigle-Bryant won an Emmy Award for "Outstanding Achievement in Special Visual Effects" for their work on the pilot of "Babylon 5." A year later, they won an "International Monitor" Award for their pilot episode of the CBS series "Viper." Two very extraordinary accomplishments for a visual effects company using desk-top computers! In 1994, Thornton conceived an innovative new television show for children, entitled "Hypernauts." Thornton's idea was to involve extensive use of computer imaging and storylines that would stimulate and excite child viewers. The series, which chronicled the futuristic adventures of three young cadets on a journey of imagination and self-discovery, ran for several months on ABC TV. Thornton, age 41, lives with his wife, Karen, in Valencia, California.

 

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