Full Sail Computer Animation grad Laurie Brugger is Head of Rigging at Framestore – the largest visual effects and computer animation studio in Europe –where she's helped create the memorable digital characters seen in films like Guardians of the Galaxy, Gravity, Where the Wild Things Are, Clash of the Titans, and Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part 1.
Rigging a digital character involves forming its skeleton and creating the points of articulation –the joints – on its body. Laurie's focus is on the face, where she works meticulously to make sure every eye, cheek, and mouth movement is as realistic as possible. It's in those subtle movements where a digital character's emotional depth can really come to life.
"When we get a new character in the first thing we do is start finding things we want to achieve with it and then looking for reference," says Laurie. "We study bodies, anatomy, faces, it's an organic process. So if they have a really rubbery face, we'll look at really rubbery actors."
In 2011, Laurie was honored with the Visual Effects Society Award for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture for her work creating Dobby, the loyal house elf in Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows Part I.
In 2015, her work creating the character “Rocket” in the wildly successful Guardians of the Galaxy garnered her another Visual Effects Society nomination for Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in a Photoreal/Live Action Feature Motion Picture.
"I went to the theater to see [the movie] and people started crying – I was shocked. I like that I got to get my fingers in there and make a contribution to what he looked like," says Laurie.
Guardians of the Galaxy, Paddington, Gravity, Captain America: The First Avenger, Clash of the Titans, Where the Wild Things Are, The Tale of Despereaux, Valiant, Visual Effects Society Award Winner for Outstanding Animated Character in a Live Action Feature Motion Picture 2011, Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows: Part 1: Dobby, Visual Effects Society Nominee for Outstanding Performance of an Animated Character in a Photoreal / Live Action Feature Motion Picture 2015, Guardians of the Galaxy: Rocket