David Zwierzchaczewski highlights the latest film technology special effects during his residency at Peregian Digital Hub.
David Zwierzchaczewski highlights the latest film technology special effects during his residency at Peregian Digital Hub.

X-Men effects guru brings Hollywood magic to Coast students

A special effects wizard who grew up wanting to draw Spider-Man is showing Coast students how to take magic to the big screen.

David Zwierzchaczewski learnt his skills on the internet to become a special effects artist for Hollywood blockbusters like X-Men Dark Phoenix and the Thor movies.

Mr Zwierzchaczewski, 47, whose last role was a digital guru with American software corporation Autodesk, is winding up a hectic stint of creative mentoring at the Peregian Digital Hub.

He said he had been impressed by the calibre of creatives on the Coast.

High alert for safety of school kids as trucks roll through town

Noosa pleads for action as erosion threatens dunes

"I already feel like I've got more out of it than I've been able to give," Mr Zwierzchaczewski said.

"I've had a chance to meet with so many creatives I've actually extended out my artist in residency because I've got so many meetings."

His wife has enjoyed their extended stay here as well, so much so they are now house hunting locally.

"We're super excited about moving up to the region," he said.

He has been able to give some insight into what it takes to reach the very top of the special effects game and stay there.

"When I was at school I kind of knew what I wanted to do, I had a very driven focus," Mr Zwierzchaczewski said.

"I remember when I was at school telling my guidance officer I wanted to draw Spider-Man comic books and eventually I got to work on those superhero films.

"When I was still studying animation, I got my first job as a visual affects artist in the mid '90s and that's when I got introduced to computer generated effects."

He has helped develop Sega's Total War video game franchise, was lead creative for Rock Star Games producing LA Noire and more recently added his talents to the X-Men Dark Phoenix and Thor movies.

"As long as I'm animating, I'm happy," Mr Zwierzchaczewski

"Back in the early 2000s I was one of the first to get involved with motion capture technology - I think that's why Autodesk approached me to become their technical specialist.

Special effects guru David Zwierzchaczewski chats with Coast students during his mentoring residency at the Peregian Digital Hub.
Special effects guru David Zwierzchaczewski chats with Coast students during his mentoring residency at the Peregian Digital Hub.

"One of the reason's I've come up here to the digital hub is to talk about this convergence that's happening with technology," he said.

The latest technical wizardry is virtual production.

It has taken all the incredibly labour-intensive drawbacks out of the award-winning effects which brought Gollum to life in Lord of the Rings.

"Virtual production allows that to happen in-camera in real time," he said.

Mr Zwierzchaczewski said the COVID-19 shutdown of Hollywood had been a bonanza for Australia's film industry because it was seen as a safe place to film, had a favourable exchange rate and world class technology.

Part of Mr Zwierzchaczewski's time at the hub has been spent sitting in with school kids who are doing robotics and 3D printing.

"I was just blown away by what these kids were doing, it was so inspirational," he said.

Mr Zwierzchaczewski said he was taking a short break until Easter but had been asked to work on a couple of major productions and was considering big offers to join technology companies.