Dan Novy (also known as NovySan) is a Research Scientist at the MIT Media Lab, where he works to decrease the alienation fostered by traditional passive media consumption; increase social interaction through transparent, interconnected and fluid media; and create enriched, active, and inspired immediate experiences. He is an Emmy- and Visual Effects Society Award-winning VFX technical supervisor, transmedia experience designer, and artist. He is the former chair of the Visual Effects Society's Technology Committee, former visiting scientist at Magic Leap, and co-instructor of the Media Lab's "Science Fiction-Inspired Prototyping" and "Indistinguishable From Magic" classes.
Dan's career path started in an unexpected place—the theater department at the University of Illinois, where he discovered 3D animation and modeling and virtual reality applications on his way to earning a BFA in Theatre, with a concentration in Acting and Directing, and an MA in Theatre History, with a double emphasis in the technical history of the theatre and shamanic ritual performance in pre-agrarian societies. (Ask him about Wet Money in the Restoration theatre, but don’t get him started on the rise of agriculture.) After graduation, he parlayed his independent studies with Video Toaster and the earliest incarnations of Lightwave into a career in visual effects.
Driven by curiosity as much as necessity, and spurred on by the frontier atmosphere of the early digital effects industry, he gained unique experience in the creation and supervision of 3D animation and modeling, 2D compositing and match-moving, fluid simulation, and physical fabrication of practical effects. Eschewing specialization, he also developed expertise in system and network administration, clustered storage solutions, database frontend development, project management, and pipeline and workflow management and development.
In addition to his continuing work in visual effects, he also branched out into the production of transmedia and IMmedia, in an effort to break through the limits of the mediated experience. This quest brought him to the MIT Media Lab, where he built a range of next-generation displays for his master's thesis, and demonstrated a successful prototype of Programmable Synthetic Hallucinations for his PhD, utilizing the bio-physiological mechanics of hallucination generated in the human brain to display virtual information directly in the visual field.