John's career began in the spring of 1979 when left the Cal Arts Character Animation program to work as an effects animator at ILM in Marin County. Happily up to his neck in work, he stayed awake for over 2 years straight with copious amounts of coffee in order to contribute to the animation of visual effects for The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark and Dragonslayer.

Disney's Tron started up production, recruiting him for a position in which he designed and animated effects to simulate computer animation. He stayed after completion to assist the start of other projects until the coffee ran out.

In an effort to pursue the new technologies, John went to MAGI Synthavision, one of the pioneering early computer animation houses. But the coffee wasn't very good and this stay was short term. Leaving in April of 1983, he opened Available Light Ltd. with fellow animator, Katherine Kean.

Available Light was a proving ground for new methods and techniques for effects animation and was immediately pressed into service handling overflow work for the major effects houses. This enabled the fledgling company to earn credit on such pictures as GhostBusters, Who Framed Roger Rabbit? and Willow. Clients included Apogee, Boss, Lucas Film and Disney.

As the company grew, it's reputation for creative solutions, efficiency and cost effectiveness brought in projects directly from the studios. These included the films Ghost, Tales From The Crypt, Mortal Kombat, Stargate, My Favorite Martian, and Miss Congeniality.

In the year 2000, after a successful 18 year run, he made the decision to close the doors of Available Light as a production facility. Unplugging the coffee pot for the last time, he hit the road as an independent effects supervisor and designer.

Projects as an independent have included X-Men, and Hart's War. He now finds new and interesting places to buy his coffee while on the road.


©2007 John Van Vliet. All Rights Reserved.