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Digital Domain is a visual effects and animation company based in Venice, Los Angeles, Californiamarker. The company is known for creating state-of-the-art digital imagery for feature films, television advertising, interactive visual media and the video game industry. Digital Domain also provides technical software solutions for the visual effects and animation industry.


The company began producing visual effects in 1993, its first three films being True Lies, Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles, and Color of Night in 1994. It has produced effects for more than 60 films including Titanic, Apollo 13, What Dreams May Come, The Fifth Element, How the Grinch Stole Christmas!, Armageddon, Star Trek: Nemesis and The Day After Tomorrow. More recent films include I, Robot, Flags of Our Fathers, Pirates of the Caribbean: At World's End, Transformers, Speed Racer, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button and most recently, Star Trek, Transformers: Revenge of the Fallen, G.I. Joe: The Rise of Cobra, and 2012.Digital Domain was started by ex-ILM General Manager Scott Ross after he left the Lucasfilm organization. Ross wrote the business plan, and was then contacted by director James Cameron who had heard through the grapevine that Ross was starting a new visual effects company to directly compete with ILM. Cameron suggested that his long-time friend and associate Stan Winston join the company as its third founder. The company had IBM as its initial investor. Then, in 1996, Ross hired investment banker Lehman Brothers to bring in new capital partners. Cox Enterprises then acquired a 33% ownership in Digital Domain. In 1998, after the box office success of Titanicmarker, James Cameron and Stan Winston severed their working relationship with Digital Domain, and resigned from its Board of Directors.

In February 2002, in furtherance of CEO/founder Scott Ross's efforts to have the company produce its own feature films, Digital Domain entered into a three-picture deal with writers Ted Elliott and Terry Rossio, and their production company, Scheherazade Productions. The following year marked the release of Secondhand Lions, Digital Domain's first feature-length film production. The picture was produced for New Line Cinema by Digital Domain's Scott Ross, and David Kirschner and Corey Sienega of David Kirschner Productions.

In October 2002, Digital Domain launched a subsidiary, D2 Software, to market and distribute its Academy Award-winning compositing software, Nuke. The move was partially motivated by Apple'smarker acquisition of a similar program, Shake.

In May 2006, Digital Domain was purchased by an affiliate of Wyndcrest Holdings, LLC, an investment firm whose principals include Wyndcrest founder John Textor, director Michael Bay, former Microsoft executive Carl Stork, former NFL player and sports television commentator Dan Marino, and Jonathan Teaford.

In September 2006, it was announced that Digital Domain had hired a trio of top senior executives from ILM. Mark Miller (a 22-year veteran of ILM, most recently VP of production and marketing) was initially named President, Cliff Plumer (Chief technical officer of Lucasfilm Ltd., the parent company of ILM) was named CTO, and Kim Libreri (a visual effects supervisor at ILM) joined Digital Domain as VP, Advanced Strategy. In November 2007, Mark Miller was promoted to CEO, replacing Carl Stork who had been serving as CEO in an interim capacity since the Wyndcrest acquisition.


Digital Domain's business units have been recognized with awards from many top industry organizations.

As of March 2009, Digital Domain has won seven Academy Awards: three for Best Visual Effects (Titanic, What Dreams May Come, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button); and four for Scientific and Technical Achievement for its proprietary technology—i.e., for Track (proprietary tracking software), for Nuke (proprietary compositing software), for Storm (proprietary volumetric renderer), and for its proprietary fluid simulation system.

The company has also been nominated for three other Academy Awards for Best Visual Effects (Apollo 13, True Lies, I, Robot). In addition, its excellence in digital imagery and animation has earned Digital Domain multiple British Academy (BAFTA) Awards, and Prix Ars Electronica and Prix Pixel INA awards.

Digital Domain's Commercials division provides digital imagery and animation for television commercials, working with top commercial directors. To date, it has been awarded 34 Clio Awards, 22 AICP awards, 8 Cannes Lion Awards and numerous other advertising honors. The Commercials division has also produced multiple music videos working with artists that include The Rolling Stones, Faith Hill, Creed, Janet Jackson, Busta Rhymes, Björk, Celine Dion, Michael Jackson and Nine Inch Nails, and has earned Grammy and MTV "Music Video of the Year" Awards.


Further reading

  • Bizony, Piers. (2001) Digital Domain: the leading edge of visual effects, London: Aurum. ISBN 1-85410-707-0

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