Featured Alumni   |   News   |   Undergraduate

Doug Appleton, Designing a ‘Winter Soldier’

Watched Captain America: The Winter Soldier yet? If you stayed for the credits, you may have seen Perception listed for their work on the film.

Doug Appleton, AMD’10, has been working at Perception, a studio that specializes in motion graphics and visual effects for commercials and films, for almost four years. Perception recently finished work on the new film, Captain America: The Winter Soldier, to which Doug helped contribute over 100 shots. Doug and fellow members of Perception also created a montage of one of the sequences.

“My official title is Designer/Animator, but our core team is expected to wear many different hats,” Doug explained.

“That means on any given day, I could be coming up with a concept for an entire project, designing boards and style frames, animating someone else’s designs, leading a team of other designers and animators, or anything else that could possibly have to get done to complete a project,” he said.

Perception and Doug’s work for the film included designing the phone screens and other animated elements for cars and various displays, as well as creating a windshield H.U.D. and a 2+ minute montage.

My main contribution was designing and animating the character of Arnim Zola, who has been “digitized” from the original Captain America,” Doug said.

Doug said that Perception has created a new market for itself, using their experience in film to make real UI designs look cinematic and then using that UI experience to make film design feel real. In addition to Captain America, Perception has many featured projects, such as Men in Black, Iron Man, and Hulk.

“It’s this perfect circle that allows us to be on calls where, in serious conversation, we talk about Captain America and Nick Fury and then the next day we’re talking to companies like Microsoft and Samsung,” Doug said.

Reflecting back on influential internships in college, Doug praised his second co-op, which was at Buck TV in Los Angeles.

“I worked side by side with the artists at Buck as an actual member of the team—I learned how I could work quickly and efficiently. At school it would take weeks to make a simple animation but at Buck we were doing full 30 second spots in the same amount of time. I had always enjoyed animation, but it wasn’t until Buck that I knew I was on the right track,” Doug said.

When asked what advice he has for current students in Animation at the College of Arts, Media and Design who hope to get into visual effects, Doug had a simple and easy to-do: Stay during the credits of movies and take note of the listed studios.

“If you want to work on your favorite movies, then you need to know what studios are working on them,” he said.

Department of Art + Design offers Animation major and minor programs.

Written by Julie Ryu, Comm Studies, S’15