Arts, Education and Law's 2020 Outstanding Young Alumnus

Bachelor of Animation

Matthew Hanger is a multi-award-winning visual effects artist, currently employed as the Senior FX Technical Director at Industrial Light & Magic in Canada.

He is an experienced Houdini FX Artist and Generalist, driven by a passion for storytelling, the creation of spectacular digital imagery and nurturing the next generation of animators.

Matthew enjoyed early career success, securing a 3D Artist position with Cutting Edge shortly after graduation. Here he slowly worked up to the role of CG Lead on the film 'Guardians of the Tomb'. It was the largest Chinese-Australian co-production of a horror film to date and starred Kelsey Grammer, Bingbing Li and Shane Jacobson. In this role, Matthew led his artistic team to realise the Director's vision and help shape the look of the film effects. This set his foundation for an international career, beginning in Brisbane, Australia and leading to Sydney, Australia and onto Vancouver, Canada.

"I love being given the chance to balance both technical and creative skillset, to constantly challenge myself and improve my skills through each project.

"I enjoy working in a fast-paced team environment, especially when there is a focus on solving difficult problems," Matthew said.

Although not an actor, his visual effects and film work would be surprisingly familiar to many. Matthew has worked on internationally famous feature films for Sony Pictures Imageworks including Jumanji: The Next Level (2019), Spider-Man: Far From Home (2019) and Spider-Man: Into the Spiderverse (2018).

During this time he received the Sony Pictures Applause Awards twice, for outstanding performance and lasting contribution to Sony Pictures Entertainment. He went on to also be awarded the SPI award for 'Outstanding FX in a Shot'. This is a studio wide, peer voted award that recognizes the most impressive technical and creative feats in FX. 

Prior to this, Matthew worked on The Lego Movie series: Ninjago Movie (2017) and Batman Movie (2017). His most recent work can be seen in the feature film 'Free Guy' (2020).

Using the knowledge he has gained in his career, Matthew has a vested interest in supporting and empowering the next generation of animators, with a focus on the Australian community. After relocating to Vancouver, Canada, Matthew became actively involved in two local organisations who focus on connecting local industry and students (Vancouver Houdini Users Group and Vancouver Animation Network).

His dedication in this area led him to be invited to join the Visual Effects Society (VES), an international society of industry veterans and leaders in their craft. Admission is only granted after approval by the board and recommendation from at least two current members in good standing.

His passion in this area also led him to establish his own education company Basepath. The company's aim is to foster connections between quality educators and students in the Animation, Games and VFX industries. Basepath provides an affordable online teaching network that focuses on live one-on-one classes to consistently ensure an environment that stimulates personal growth.

In recognition of his career achievements and support of his local and international professional communities, Matthew has been named the Arts, Education and Law's Outstanding Young Alumnus for 2020.

Reflecting on his career to date, Matthew credits his time at Griffith as being the essential foundation he required. In appreciation, he continues to give back to his University by offering ongoing guidance to many Film School students and graduates, speaking at various University alumni events and taking part in online guest lectures to discuss life after graduation and strategies to enter the workforce. He is also featured in the 2019 Griffith University Visual and Creative Arts study guide.

"When you spend so much time working hard to improve your skills, sometimes it's great to stop, take a breather and look back to see how far you've come.

"My degree offered the theoretical and practical skills essential to a career in the animation and visual effects industries," he said. 

Matthew has recently progressed his career once again, assuming the role of Senior FX Technical Director at Industrial Light & Magic in Canada. Founded by George Lucas in 1975 to create the special effects for his space epic Star Wars, Industrial Light and Magic is one of the leading effects companies in the world, with locations in San Francisco, Vancouver, London and Singapore.

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