Ian Gooding oversees a team of artists and technicians who are behind the look of the film—from each of the detailed environments to the roster of characters—utilizing extensive research to achieve designs that best serve the directors’ vision. One of the biggest challenges, according to Gooding, was getting the right look for the waves breaking on shore. “It’s very different from what we get in California,” he says. “Many of the islands there have huge coral reefs in the lagoons, so the big swells that come across the Pacific break there. What you get on the shore is a little chop. We also had to consider factors like rainfall, the presence of volcanoes and even the type of rock that forms the sand.”
Gooding began his association with Walt Disney Animation Studios in 1990, when a student short film he had co-directed and produced, The Housekeeper, attracted the attention of the Studio’s head of effects. This led to a job offer as an effects animator on the Disney animated short The Prince and the Pauper.
Born in St. Andrew, Jamaica, Gooding was inspired by a childhood visit to Walt Disney World, the behind-the-scenes animation shows featured on the television anthology series **The Wonderful World of Disney,” and the “Star Wars” films. He enrolled in CalArts in 1986 to pursue his dream of creating visual effects for the movies, completing a four-year program in motion graphics and character animation.
While still in school, Gooding worked for Sandcastle Software, which created graphics and effects for video games released by Electronic Arts. During this time, he also painted backgrounds for animated commercials produced by West Indigo and Renegade. His other credits as an effects supervisor include the animated television series “Family Dog.”
At Disney, Gooding worked in visual development and did background keys on such films as Aladdin, The Lion King, Hercules, Mulan, Tarzan and Dinosaur. He served as associate art director on Treasure Planet, before making his debut as art director on the 1995 theatrical Mickey Mouse short Runaway Brain. A decade later, he received his first feature film credit as art director on Disney’s Chicken Little. Gooding served as art director on 2009’s The Princess and the Frog, and 2012’s Oscar®-nominated feature Wreck-It Ralph.
He resides in La Canada, Calif., where his interests include gardening, sculpting, pottery and watching movies.