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Rex Grignon

Rex Grignon Wins Award for Outstanding College Graduates

December 09, 2013

Rex Grignon, a 1984 graduate of Sheridan’s Computer Animation program, was presented with the 2013 Premier’s Award in the Creative Arts and Design category on November 18 in Toronto.

As Head of Character Animation at DreamWorks for over 17 years, Rex Grignon has been a pioneer in the field of computer animation. He has led the animation team on five blockbuster DreamWorks films including Shrek and the Madagascar series all of which have earned more than $2B at the box office. Rex was responsible for the design and delivery of all animation on the films, supervising as many as 80 animators across three studio locations. His work on Shrek helped earn it the inaugural Academy Award for Best Animated Feature in 2002.

Prior to joining DreamWorks, Rex was a lead animator at Pacific Data Images (PDI) from 1988 – 1995, where he co-founded their Character Animation Group. In 1995, he joined Pixar Animation Studios to animate on their groundbreaking feature film, Toy Story.

When DreamWorks purchased PDI in 1996, Rex was asked by Steven Spielberg and Jeffrey Katzenberg to return and “finish what you started” by growing their Character Animation Group into a feature-film character animation department. That group now comprises more than 150 animators.

Rex launched his career in animation when the industry was just beginning its transition to a computer graphics-based art form, and he’s had an enormous influence on the re-imagination of animated films. While some may see the animated film-making process as akin to a factory production line, Rex sees it as an artist-driven process. “It’s all about communication, and inspiring artists to be creative. Animators are keen observers of human nature, and it’s those skills that bring characters to life.”

Rex’s influence extends beyond the confines of DreamWorks. He has taught at conferences, colleges and universities around the world. His ties to Sheridan remain strong, and he has offered his time and advice over the years. While in Toronto for the awards ceremony, Rex was a guest lecturer at Sheridan and Corus Entertainment, home to many alumni.

“Sheridan gave me the tools and confidence to make a career in this field. I am extremely honoured and humbled to receive this award. It means so much to stay connected to Sheridan all these years after graduation,” said Grignon.

Presented annually to six recipients, the Premier’s Awards celebrate the outstanding contributions Ontario college graduates make to the province and throughout the world. 

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