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Tweak Films

Tweak Films


Tweak Films was founded in 2001 and wrapped its final show six years later at the end of 2007. Through a combination of advanced graphics R&D and high-end visual effects production experience, Tweak built a reputation as the small shop that could take on the  challenging projects usually handled by the big shops.


The Tweak  team has spun off a new venture, Tweak Software, to build on the Tweak tradition of developing advanced software for visual effects artists.


Here is a little bit of Tweak Films history:


Chris Horvath

Jim Hourihan 

Richard Schlein


Additional Partners:

Mike Root

Scott Liedtka

Seth Rosenthal


  • 2004 Visual Effects Society, Best Single Visual Effect of the YearThe Day After Tomorrow - Tidal Wave

Tweak Films is the only small company to have received the Best Single Visual Effect of the Year award from the VES--the other recipients have been artists at Industrial Light and Magic (3 times), Digital Domain, and ESC.

  • 2003 Hong Kong Film Awards: Best Visual Effects: Hero

Some of our favorite feature film projects:




 Hero (2002)

Director: Zhang Yimou

VFX Supervisor: Ellen Poon


"Film lovers will luxuriate in the extraordinary imagery... Hero is a masterpiece." -Time


"The sets, costumes, and special effects are of astonishing beauty... Consider a scene where Nameless launches himself across the room in slow motion, through a cloud of suspended raindrops which scatter like jewels at his passage...although I knew special effects were being used, I was not particularly aware of them." -Roger Ebert


"Truly breathtaking visuals" - The Hollywood Reporter


We completed 45 shots in 2 sequences for the Oscar-nominated Hero. Our work on the chess room and arrow sequences earned Tweak a Hong Kong Film Award for Best Visual Effects. A big "Thank You" to Quentin Tarantino for helping to bring Hero to American audiences in its uncut form.




Day After Tomorrow

The Day After Tomorrow (2004)

Director: Roland Emmerich

VFX Supervisor: Karen Goulekas

"[The flooding scenes] are perhaps the most impressive in the picture. The frequent aerial views of water surging through the streets are eerie and dramatically convincing." -Variety

For The Day After Tomorrow we worked on five all-CG photorealistic shots for the NYC flood sequence. In addition to modeling, TD, and compositing work, we developed a specialized proprietary water solver as well as extending our existing dynamics software (developed for Return of the King) to include splash dynamics. We also used and extended our custom ocean dynamics software to handle stormy seas.





Lord of the Rings

The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King (2003)

Director: Peter Jackson

VFX Supervisor: Jim Rygiel

For Return of the King we provided Weta Digital with custom software to simulate the destruction of Barad-Dur and various ground cracking/destruction effects, a custom renderer for computing ambient occlusion on large data sets, and RenderMan shaders as well as TD and compositing personnel. You can read about some of our work in Return of the King article in Cinefex Magazine (Issue 96). Return of the King won an Oscar for Best Visual Effects.





Matrix Reloaded

The Matrix: Reloaded (2003)

Directors: Larry and Andy Wachowski

VFX Supervisor: John Gaeta

Tweak Films delivered a single all-CG shot for The Matrix: Reloaded. The shot is a surreal scene of a nightime cityscape viewed through shattering and melting glass. Ripples spread out over the glass surface from glowing molten hot-spots which grow until the whole view explodes into a fireball. Tweak relied on Crack our in-house geometry fracturing software which was also used on 'The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King' to crack and shatter the glass.






Matrix Revolutions

The Matrix: Revolutions (2003)

Directors: Larry and Andy Wachowski

VFX Supervisor: John Gaeta

For ESC Entertainment, we delivered elements for 21 shots on Revolutions siege sequence. These included lightning gun and EMP elements.









Invincible (2006)

Director: Ericson Core

VFX Supervisor: Craig Barron

Tweak Films teamed up with Matte World Digital to complete over 100 visual effects shots for Buena Vista Pictures's football film Invincible. In order to populate the football stadiums Tweak developed an image-based crowd replication pipeline based on our in-house simulation technology (C4). Tweak completed 50 digital crowd shots and also installed the crowd pipeline at Matte World who tackled additional crowd shots and other visual effects. Tweak's crowd pipeline gave the director complete freedom to design the look of the crowds by changing the mix and density of fans and choreographing their actions.

"Extra, extra points go to the filmmakers for shooting crowd scenes at Penn's Franklin Field. You can fake a lot in Hollywood, but you can't fake a Philly fan."

-Joseph Guinto mistakenly commenting on the digital crowds in Invincible



Superman Returns (2006)

Director: Bryan Singer

VFX Supervisor: Mark Stetson

Sony Pictures Imageworks turned to Tweak Films for our expertise in water simulation for a challenging sequence in Superman Returns. Tweak collaborated with the crew at Imageworks to complete the shots of the Daily Planet globe breaking loose and crushing a water tower on the roof of the Daily Planet building. Tweak made use of our proprietary water simulation tools to simulate water bursting out of the crushed tank and pouring over the roof of the building. Tweak delivered water elements to the Imageworks crew.






Monster House

Monster House (2006)

Director: Gil Kenan

VFX Supervisor: Jay Redd

Sony Pictures Imageworks turned to Tweak Films for help with a challenging water sequence in Monster House. A variety of realistic but cartoon-like water simulations were required for a sequence where the house spits the protagonists out into the yard along with a giant flood of water. Tweak completed the water simulations using in-house technology that was created originally for flooding New York City in The Day After Tomorrow. Tweak delivered water elements to the Imageworks crew.







xXx State of the Union (2005)

Director: Lee Tamahori

VFX Supervisor: Scott Farrar

Tweak Films collaborated with Industrial Light and Magic on xXx: The State of the Union. Tweak was asked to handle a challenging sequence with military tanks colliding on the deck of an aircraft carrier, spinning and disintegrating through the air and crashing into the water. Tweak relied on C-4, our in-house simulation and particle platform, to create the realistic collision and destruction of the of the tanks and to animate dust, debris, and body parts. We also used Dusty, our in-house volume and particle renderer to render realistic flames and plumes of smoke.