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|Occupation||Visual effects supervisor|
Rygiel was born in Kenosha, Wisconsin.
Rygiel attended St. Joseph Catholic High School in Kenosha, Wisconsin. He holds a Bachelor of Fine Arts from the University of Wisconsin–Milwaukee. In 1980, he received a Master of Fine Arts degree from Otis Parsons School of Design (now called Otis College of Art and Design).
Starting his career in 1980, Jim joined Pacific Electric Pictures, one of the earliest companies to employ computer animation for the advertising and film markets.
In 1983, Jim's work took him to Digital Productions where he began work on The Last Starfighter (1984), a film notable for its pioneering use of digital imaging in place of models. While at Digital Productions, Jim's commercial work was nominated for numerous awards, winning a prestigious CLIO award for the introduction of the Sony Walkman.
From 1987 to 1989, Jim supervised numerous projects while at visual effects companies Pacific Data Images (PDI) and Metrolight.
In 1989, Jim was asked to form and head a computer animation department at Boss Film Studios. This department of one grew to over 75 animators and 100 support staff within a little more than a year, winning several awards, including a CLIO Award for the Geo Prism automobile commercial. While at Boss, Jim supervised many feature films, both as Digital Effects Supervisor and Visual Effects Supervisor.
His credits there include Starship Troopers, Species, Outbreak, Air Force One, The Scout, The Last Action Hero, Cliffhanger, Batman Returns, Alien III, and Ghost.
In 2002, Jim received the American Film Institute's first AFI Digital Effects Artist of the Year award, the Academy Award and the British Academy of Film and Television Arts award for Best Visual Effects for his work on The Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring. Jim is a member of the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences as well as the Academy of Television Arts & Sciences, and The British Academy of Film and Television Arts.