Animation Faculty and Alumni Premiere New Films

Two animated films premiering this year feature the work of Arts and Technology faculty and alumni: Disney Pixar’s Toy Story of Terror and Reel FX studio’s Free Birds.

ATEC Faculty Sheds Light on Pixar Film

Toy Story of Terror

ABC, Disney Channel, and Disney XD recently premiered the new Disney Pixar’s Toy Story of Terror Halloween special featuring the lighting work of Arts and Technology professor Kyoung Lee Swearingen.

What starts out as a fun road trip for the Toy Story gang takes an unexpected turn for the worse when the trip detours to a roadside motel. After one of the toys goes missing, the others find themselves caught up in a mysterious sequence of events that must be solved.

The cast includes Tom Hanks, Joan Cusack, Carl Weathers, Timothy Dalton, Don Rickles, Wallace Shawn and Kristen Schaal.

Toy Story of Terror was so much fun to work on because of the amazing crew,” said Swearingen. “Collaboration is always the key to success behind Pixar’s films, and I am hoping to deliver more of that spirit to ATEC.”Swearingen joined the Arts and Technology fall 2013  and teaches lighting and composition courses.

Prior to joining UT Dallas, Kyoung worked as a technical director of lighting for major films from Pixar such as Brave (2012), Cars 2 (2011), Up (2009), Wall-e (2008) and Ratatouille (2007).

ATEC Students Take Turkeys Off the Menu

On Friday, Nov. 1 the animated film Free Birds in opens in theaters. The film features two buddy turkeys, Reggie and Jake (voiced by Owen Wilson and Woody Harrelson), who travel back in time to the first Thanksgiving to take turkey off the menu.


Created by Dallas-based Reel FX studio, the film features the work of over 15 ATEC alumni in various animation departments including lighting, modeling, shading, rigging, animation, and rendering.

Associate professor of 3D computer animation Todd Fechter also contributed to the film creating set and prop models.

The same group of alumni have begun work on the animated feature film The Book of Life executive produced by Guillermo del Toro and set to be released in 2014.