Syd Dutton


Soon after graduation, Dutton’s interest broadened to include film making, and he moved to Los Angeles. Realizing he had to begin somewhere, Dutton got his start in the mail room at Universal Studios. While delivering mail, he had his first exposure to the art of matte painting through his daily visits to the studio of veteran matte painter Albert Whitlock. Fascinated by Whitlock’s almost impressionistic approach to realism, Dutton began nearly a decade in the department, beginning as Whitlock’s assistant matte artist.

A new world opened up to Dutton as Whitlock took him under his wing, not only teaching him the basics of painting photographically, but more importantly, how to give life to a painting.

Dutton worked on many films and television shows at Universal, including The Hindenburg which won an Academy Award for Visual Effects; Dune; and the television mini-series, A.D., which won an Emmy for Special Visual Effects.

After Whitlock’s retirement in 1984, Dutton, along with his colleague, Director of Photography Bill Taylor, decided to buy the department’s equipment and go out on their own. They formed Illusion Arts, and were joined by the same talented staff they had worked with at Universal Studios.

One of Illusion Arts’ first major assignments was creating special effects for the new version of the television series, The Twilight Zone. Today, this still remains one of Dutton’s fondest projects.

Illusion Arts closed at 2009.

Syd Dutton working on a painting for the film The age of Innocence (1993)



- The Bling Ring (2013) (visual effects)
-Premium Rush (2012) (matte painting consultant: Zoic Studios)
-Lawless (2012) (environments supervisor: Zoic Studios)
-Straw Dogs (2011) (matte painting supervisor)
-Too Big to Fail (2011) (TV Movie) (visual effects artist)
-Red Riding Hood (2011) (visual effects: Zoic Studios)
-How Do You Know (2010) (matte painting supervisor: Zoic Studios)
-Somewhere (2010) (visual effects supervisor)
-Transformers: War for Cybertron (2010) (Video Game) (matte painting: Zoic Studios)
-The Karate Kid (2010) (matte painting supervisor: Zoic Studios)
-Zombieland (2009) (matte painting supervisor: Zoic Studios)
-Public Enemies (2009) (visual effects supervisor: Illusion Arts)
-Defiance (2008) (visual effects: Illusion Arts, mass grave matte – as Sid Dutton)
-Milk (2008) (visual effects supervisor: Illusion Arts)
-The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor (2008) (visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Dewmocracy (2008) (Video Game) (visual effects)
-John Adams (2008) (TV Mini-Series) (matte artist – 7 episodes)
-Drillbit Taylor (visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-The Bucket List (2007) (visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Redline (2007) (visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Carlota´s web (2006) (additional visual effects)
-The Hoax(2006) (additional visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Miami Vice (2006) (visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-You, Me and Dupree 2006 (special visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-Nacho Libre (2006) (visual effects)
-The Fast and the Furious: Tokyo Drift (2006) (visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-The break-up (2006) special visual effects)
-Keeping Up with the Steins (2006) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts, Inc.)
-Eight Below (2006) (additional visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Annapolis (2006) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-The Chronicles of Narnia: The Lion, the Witch and the Wardrobe (2005) (additional matte paintings: Illusion Arts)
-Æon Flux (2005) (visual effects supervisor: Illusion Arts)
-Casanova (2005) (visual effects supervisor: Illusion Arts)
-Serenity (2005) (visual effects supervisor: Illusion Arts)
-Ladder 49 (2004) (special visual effects)
-The Village (2004) (visual effects supervisor)
-The Notebook (2004) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Van Helsing (2004) (matte painting supervisor)
-2 Fast 2 Furious (2003) (visual effects)
-Bruce Almighty (2003) (visual effects supervisor)
-Star Trek: Nemesis (2002) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-The Truth About Charlie (2002) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-xXx (2002) (visual effects supervisor)
-Blue Crush (2002) (visual effects)
-The Bourne Identity (2002) (visual effects)
-Undercover Brother (2002) (special visual effects)
-Unfaithful (2002) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-The Time Machine (2002) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-Gerry (2002) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-From Hell (2001) (visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-The Score (2001) (special visual effects)
-The Fast and the Furious (2001) (visual effects)
-Josie and the Pussycats (2001) (visual effects)
-The Gift (2000) (visual effects supervisor: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-Finding Forrester (2000) (additional visual effects: Illusion Art, Inc.)
-Ride with the Devil (1999/I) (special visual effects)
-Dudley Do-Right (1999) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Bowfinger (1999) (visual effects: Illusion Arts Inc.)
-Muppets from Space (1999) (special visual effects)
-Blast from the Past (1999) (special visual effects: Illusion Arts)
-Psycho (1998) (special visual effects)
-The Mask of Zorro (1998) (matte paintings: Illusion Arts Inc.)
- Six Days Seven Nights (1998) (storm visual effects)
- Jackal, The (1997) (special visual effects)
- Courage Under Fire (1996) (matte painting effects)
- Birdcage, The (1996) (special visual effects)
- Walk in the Clouds, A (1995) (special visual effects)
- Shadow, The (1994) (special visual effects)
- Robin Hood: Men in Tights (1993) (matte painter)
- Innocent Blood (1992) (special effects)
- For the Boys (1991) (special effects)
- Cape Fear (1991) (matte paintings) (special optical effects)
- NeverEnding Story II: The Next Chapter, The (1990) (matte painter)
- Frankenstein Unbound (1990) (visual effects)
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier (1989) (matte painter)
- Millennium (1989) (matte painting)
- Spaceballs(88)(Matte painter)
- Coming to America (1988) (special visual effects)
- Gate, The (1987) (matte supervisor)
- .Karate Kid, Part II, The (1986) (special visual effects)
- Psycho III (1986) (special effects)
- Dragnet(86)(Matte art)
- Red Sonja (1985) (matte department)
- Clue (1985) (Matte department)
- Real Genius (1985) (special visual effects)
- Dune(84)(matte artist)
- River, The (1984) (matte artist)
- Cat People (1982) (matte artist)
- Blues Brothers, The (1980) (additional matte painter)
- Buck Rogers(78)(matte artist)
- The Wiz(78)(matte art)