Made In Sussex: Bigman The CGI Geeks


He’s worked on the Harry Potter films, designed characters in top selling PS2 and PS3 games, and he’s worked with the likes of Disneytoon Studios, Sony and Pixar. Now, CGI expert and self-professed geek Tom Painter is working from Brighton to help all sized businesses bring their brands to life.

“I’ve always been passionate about art and maths, or more specifically the crossover bit in the middle, where algorithms and processes create beautiful imagery,” Tom explained. “In the ‘80s our school got the BBC home computer and I was immediately hooked. My mum and dad got me a ZX Spectrum and I used to program simple little games and pictures from the age of eight.”

TOM bigmanTom left his home in Yorkshire when he was 19 to travel the world, and it was during this time wandering the globe that he met his future wife and decided to move to London with her.

“London is perhaps the creative capital of the world, and in the CGI industry it is second only to California in terms of the amount of artists. I worked at MPC in London on the Harry Potter films but, being a Yorkshire lad, I found London life a little bit too rude and impersonal and I missed having easy access to large green spaces.”

In 2010, Tom and his business partner Rob Anderson decided to leave the big smog and set up their own boutique CGI studio in Brighton.

“I had a great time travelling the world moving between games and movie studios when I was younger, but after a while it became apparent that those industries are inherently unstable, and that I could expect to constantly move around throughout my life. I wanted to have a family and to be able to settle in one place without fear of having to move to the next job, so my solution was to work for myself.

“For us, Brighton is a perfect combination of all the things we love. We have the South Downs national park so close, a cosmopolitan and bohemian culture, a sense of community, we are close enough to London to visit for inspiration and to have clients there – and of course there’s the beach!

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“We decided to name the company Bigman. We wanted a name that was simple and unpretentious without any high concept. Something bold, punchy and easy to remember.”

Tom and Rob began offering their services to companies of all sizes, creating a range of concepts, characters and 3D designs for big-name brands such as M&S and Vodafone, as well as smaller ventures like Gadget Buddy and Systagenix.

“We tailor your illustrations and animation to distill everything that is important about the clinets’ brand into simple and clear images,” Tom explained. “We can inject humour or fun into otherwise dry or boring subject matter so that your audience is engaged. We can visualise things that would be impossible to show with photography, like products that haven’t been manufactured yet, or cells inside the human body, and we can idealise concepts to remove any clutter or off-putting elements.

“Having a more diversified client base across many industries such as medical, financial, games, advertsing, makes things a less bumpy as the economy has its ups and downs, having lots of smaller jobs rather than one large film or game allows me to put my eggs in more baskets.”

You can find out more about what Tom and Rob do at