Leadership and Goal-setting with DNEG Lead Modeler David Cunningham

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DNEG Lead Hard Surface Modeler David Cunningham (Snowpiercer, Enola Holmes, Moonfall) chats to Maxine about how he got into 3D modeling, the bold steps he took to advance his career, and how a coaching session altered his path dramatically. Plus, find out how he came to be known as “the train guy.”

moonfall-film-stillStill from the film Moonfall, which David worked on recently at DNeg (Image: Lionsgate). watch the VFX breakdown.

David worked in various fields, including marketing and engineering before switching to VFX in 2019. His unconventional career path shows that there are many ways into the VFX industry and that transferrable skills and knowledge can come from the most unlikely places.

In David's case, while working in the Rail and Automotive industry, he modeled trains for educational videos for Network Rail. Fast-forward a few years, David applied his in-depth knowledge of trains and cars to make mechanically accurate engineering components for shows like Snowpiercer season 2, Alienist season 2, Enola Holmes, and The Harder They Fall (see train breakdown). David's work does go beyond trains, David's created numerous hero 3D assets while at Mr. X and Double Negative.

David's impressive showreel (featuring lots of trains!)

These days David works at DNEG Montreal, where he is also a DNEG Career Coach, helping give other artists perspective and the tools to reach their goals. He believes coaching has played a very important part in his career; it not only strengthens his leadership skills but also helps people see and achieve the goals they want too.

To find out more about David's work, check out his portfolio, or follow him on LinkedIn and ArtStation.

walter-short-film-david-cunninghamDavid's car "Walter", modeled in 3DS Max, rendered in VRay, and textured in Substance Painter. This car will be the main character in an upcoming short he is making.

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Tags: 3D Modeling

Meet the hosts

Meet the hosts of the CG Spectrum Podcast!

MAXINE SCHNEPF: From Producing to HR, Maxine's worked on 40+ blockbuster films at studios like Mr X, Deluxe Animation and Technicolor VFX. Now as CG Spectrum's Career Development Manager, Maxine helps students get industry-ready. Her credits include: Blade Runner 2049, War for the Planet of the Apes, Spider-Man: Homecoming, Guardians of the Galaxy Vol. 2, Doctor Strange, Star Trek Beyond and three Star Wars films.