Animation Director
James Wheless

Jamy Wheless

Jamy Wheless began his artistic practice in the early years of grammar school, initially inspired by the iconic characters of Marvel comic books. Growing up, he often dedicated hours to perfecting action-packed illustrations, during which he established his passion for art--and has never looked back. After graduating with a degree in Visual Arts from Auburn University in 1987, he worked as a freelance illustrator in Atlanta, Georgia, which led to assignments in storyboarding and traditional animation.

With the release of Jurassic Park, Jamy then turned his traditional artistic talents towards computer animation. He sharpened his digital skills and in 1995 caught the eye of George Lucas’ Industrial Light & Magic when his first short film, Avery, premiered at SIGGRAPH. In 1996, he was hired by ILM to work on commercials as a technical director and character animator. In 2000, Jamy became a member of ILM’s feature production team, where he was a lead animator responsible for the character development and performances of the first digital Yoda for the Star Wars prequels as well as Davy Jones for the Pirates of the Caribbean films amongst many others.

Jamy later became one of the co-founders of Lightstream Animation Studios and currently runs his new company, IGNITE Animation Studios. As CEO and Animation Director, he leads the team as they continue to bring captivating stories and inspiring characters to life for feature films, television, and augmented reality projects. He recently co-directed the Oscar-nominated short film "The Pig on the Hill".

Film Credits

“The Pig on the Hill” director “The Moon & the Sun”, creature design/animation director “Miles Across The Sea” animation director “Transformers” ILM animation “Pirates – Dead Man’s Chest” ILM lead animator “Narnia-Lion, Witch, & the Wardrobe” ILM lead animator “Star Wars – Episode III” ILM lead animator “Peter Pan” ILM lead animator “Hulk” ILM associate animation supervisor “Star Wars – Episode II” ILM lead animator “ET – Special edition” ILM lead animator “Star Wars – Episode I” ILM lead animator

Skills & Titles

Animation Director, Producer


2021 WILL VINTON Best Animation Short Film Award - McMinnville Film Festival director 2003 VES nomination “Outstanding Character Performance HULK” ILM animation supervisor 2001 CLIO AWARD “PEPSI Marfalump Playacting Commercial” ILM animation supervisor 2000 CLIO AWARD “PEPSI Marfalump Playacting Commercial” ILM animation supervisor