Deluxe has named long-time media technology executive Craig Zerouni as the head of technology, Deluxe Visual Effects (VFX). In this role Zerouni will focus on continuing to unify software development and systems architecture across Deluxe’s Method studios in Los Angeles, Vancouver, New York, and India, and its Iloura studios in Sydney and Melbourne, as well as Deluxe VR, based in Los Angeles, in an attempt to integrate and expand global production capacity.
Based in Los Angeles and reporting to Deluxe VFX and VR, president and GM, Ed Ulbrich, Zerouni will lead VFX and VR R&D and software development teams and systems worldwide, working closely with technology teams across Deluxe’s Creative division to benefit from and contribute to the pool of IP, knowledge, and resources across the global Deluxe technology organisation.
Ulbrich said, “Our VFX work serves both the features world, which is increasingly global, and the advertising community, which is increasingly local. Behind the curtain at Method, Iloura, and Deluxe in general, we have been working to integrate our studios to give clients the ability to tap into integrated global capacity, technology and talent anywhere in the world, while offering a high-quality local experience. Craig’s experience leading global technology organisations and distributed development teams, and building and integrating pipelines is right in line with our focus. He has done amazing work improving workflow and optimising systems at VFX and animation companies of all sizes, and he’s a great team leader.”
Zerouni has been working in media technology and production for nearly three decades, joining Deluxe most recently from DreamWorks, where he was director of technology at its Bengaluru, India facility, overseeing all technology. Prior to that he spent nine years at Digital Domain, where he was first head of R&D responsible for software strategy and teams in five locations across three countries, then senior director of technology overseeing all aspects of technology including software, systems, production technology, technical directors and media systems. He has also directed engineering, products and teams at software / tech companies Silicon Grail, Side Effects Software, and Critical Path, and was a co-founder of pioneering London computer animation company CFX. Zerouni’s work has contributed to features including TRON: Legacy, Iron Man 3, Maleficent, X-Men: Days of Future Past, Ender’s Game and others, and more than 400 commercials, TV idents and titles. He is a member of BAFTA, ACM/SIGGRAPH, IEEE, the Visual Effects Society, has served on the AMPAS Digital Imaging Technology Subcommittee, and is the author of the technical reference book “Houdini on the Spot.”
Zerouni said, “I’m excited to come on board with Deluxe right at this time – the company is expanding and integrating its VFX studios around the world and what comes through strongly is a commitment to growth and innovation. There’s a great opportunity to harness all of the worldwide VFX talent and technology skill sets across these companies to support clients on an even bigger, broader scale.”
Artists from Iloura have been recognised with Academy Award nominations for ‘Visual Effects’ two years running, for Mad Max: Fury Road and Deepwater Horizon, and earned the 2016 VFX Emmy Award for work on Game of Thrones. Recent work from Method Studios includes VFX Academy Award-nominated Doctor Strange, along with Fantastic Beasts and Where to Find Them, Captain America: Civil War, and award-winning commercials. Method is currently in production on Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Knights of the Round Table: King Arthur and other features and advertising projects.