Former film set designer to showcase work at Masters Show

A woman who once designed stunt sets for Sylvester Stallone will showcase her CGI film at this year’s University of Dundee Masters Show.

Andrea McSwan had a successful career in TV and film but had always found animation fascinating. She hoped her career in Art Direction would help her on the MSc Animation & VFX at Dundee.

Andrea graduated from the Wimbledon School of Art in London with a degree in Theatre Design in 1990. This led to a BAFTA Postgraduate scholarship to train in set design at the National Film and Television School. It was during this time that she found herself signed up to work on the 1995 film Judge Dredd, starring Sylvester Stallone.

“I was an Art Department Assistant, so I was making a lot of tea.” said Andrea. “But I soon managed to put my skills to use and ended up drawing designs for the set, including a stunt door that Stallone had to run through. I also designed a goldfish tank and a flight manual which I still have.”

After working on Judge Dredd she moved to the small screen and was an Assistant Art Director for the 90s crime drama ‘Pie in the Sky.’ Her work caught the eye of Andrew Lloyd Weber who asked her to design a mural for his Irish castle. This led to interior design work for restaurants and health spas.

It was only when Andrea moved to Dundee to be with her husband Hamish that she decided to look into the Animation & VFX MSc at the Duncan of Jordanstone College of Art & Design.

“I was really interested in CGI and how I could transfer my set design skills into the field.” said Andrea. “Getting to grips with the technology has been a steep learning curve, but what it has revealed is that the thorough training I received in the beginning of my career is transferrable into CGI. I just have to force the computer to do what I once did by hand.”

Her film will premiere at the opening of the Masters Show 2017 on Friday, 18th August. THAW is an animation about a woman who is frozen in grief. The audience will observe her relationship with ice figures and as her grief passes they thaw and melt away.

The Masters Show will run until Sunday, 27th August. The exhibition is open from 10am-8pm on weekdays and from 10am-4pm at weekends.

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