The Computer Graphics Guy Behind FOX TV’s Bones


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The creator of the animation, David Watkinson, is the same man who is the graphics coordinator for the hit FOX TV show, Bones. He just happened to be on hiatus. So I was lucky to snag him for the job. Oh, he just happens to be my husband, too. So I got to put it on my “Honey, Do List.” smiley

David with Dr. Story Musgrave who is the only astronaut to have flown on all five space shuttles. By the way, David has worked on many space oriented films starting with Apollo 13 and including the first two Men in Black movies as well as Clint Eastwood's film, Space Cowboys. You can see a list of all 34 major motion pictures that have featured David's work on his website: Click here.

High ratings for Bones have garnered an eighth season along with high praise for the graphics from LA Times TV Critic, Mary McNamara. “Even the most episodic procedural can feel cinematic…Bones and Fringe have computer graphics that are just as much fun as those in Iron Man.” 

She goes on to say, “As anarchist Emma Goldman certainly would have said if she were a television critic: If I can’t watch Bones, I don’t want to be part of your revolution.” Click here to read the full article.

For the artist's info, click here.

Ms. McNamara in another article listed Bones as one of the TV shows she watches when she’s off the clock, wanting to relax. 

For the artist's info, click here.

David in his Bones crew cap.

Prestigious online tech ezine Associate Editor, Debra Kaufman, is apparently also a fan of Bones. And of David’s work. She did a whole article primarily about him! Click here to read the piece. 

Kudos to Ms. Kaufman for capturing quotes that explains my husband’s work creating content for all the computers on the show, including the very impressive eight foot long transparent monitor that hangs from the ceiling. “Most people think the content on these screens are done in post…But the scenes are all shot live with the actors interacting with the screens in real time.” 

Bones is also popular in Japan. When Japanese singing superstar,Seiko Matsuda made her debut on the show, the Ninja Baker became a part of her American entourage. Matsuda-san's English is excellent so I mostly translated for her (very nice) manager and make-up man. 

In the Creative Cow article Ms. Kaufman explains that what my husband is doing is akin to authoring an interactive kiosk. She sums it up with this quote from him, "I combine text, video, still images, 2D and 3D animations, and program them with JavaScript so that our people on the set can interact with the graphics to match what the actor is allegedly doing.”

Of course, the success of the graphics and the popularity of Bones are due to collaborative efforts within and between departments. And that takes a lot of time and energy. I have witnessed the tireless efforts of  the Bones crew, so over the years I have sent treats to the Fox studio for my husband's colleagues. Here’s a gluten-free rendition of the most often requested mini cheesecakes.

Computer Graphics Department gag photo from the Season 7 wrap party. From left to right: Mark Marcum, Jim Unsinn, Simon Knights, David Watkinson, Mike Stein, and Chris Waggoner.


The Chocolate Crust:

Preheat your oven to 350 degrees. Prepare the crust by crushing a box of gluten-free chocolate animal crackers or your favorite cookies in a food processor. Pour 1 1/2  cups of crumbs into a large mixing bowl. Melt ¼ cup of organic coconut spread and add it to the bowl along with 4 tablespoons of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Coconut Palm Sugar. Mix well. Press the combined cookies, coconut spread and sugar into the bottom of mini cupcake bakers lined with mini cupcake cases. I used a small ice cream scoop, which holds close to a heaping tablespoon of the crust combo.

Before adding the filling, generously sprinkle each of the crusts with chocolate chips. (About a half a bag.)


The Ninja Baker’s Gluten-Free Coconut Chocolate Cheesecake Minis with Espresso Cream

Yields approximately 48 minis.

The Coconut Cheesecake Filling:

In a clean bowl beat two packages of eight-ounce cream cheese with a handheld mixer until little waves appear. Add 1 cup of Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Coconut Palm Sugar. (Yes, it’s more expensive but it’s delicious. And a Fair Trade item.) Next, mix in ¼ cup coconut flour. (Bob’s Red Mill is great.) Then beat in 1 teaspoon of coconut extract. (Preferably organic.) Followed by two room temperature eggs. Beat them in one at a time to make sure they are fully incorporated. Using another clean mini ice cream scoop or large tablespoon; evenly distribute the filling into the crumb and chocolate chip lined cases. Bake for 18 minutes and/or until the tops are firm.

The Espresso Cream Topping:

A 16-ounce box of Healthy Top or similar gluten-free, dairy-free whipping cream serves as the base of the topping. Apparently the company recommends freezing the item. Refrigerating the item worked fine for me. Just like “regular” whipped cream though, I placed my KitchenAid bowl and beater in the freezer the night before. To the faux whipping cream add ½ cup of cooled espresso, ½ cup Wholesome Sweeteners Organic Powdered Sugar and 4 teaspoons coffee extract. Whip until soft peaks appear. Don’t expect it to look exactly like the dairy kind of whipped cream. But also don’t worry if you want to pipe the lovely stuff; the decorations turn out looking the same.

For the final elegant topper, grate Newman’s Own Organics Dark Espresso Chocolate on top. (A company committed to sustainable farming. And generous with coupons. Click here for your chocolate coupons.)


Next step? Enjoy! Just like all the hardworking members of the FOX TV Bones set.

Wishing you a special computer guy or gal in your life.

The Ninja Baker

Photo courtesy of our dance class friend, Don.




Uncle David has done some

Uncle David has done some amazing things and is quite talented! I appreciate all of his tips, as I begin to take a mini-dip in the realm of screenwriting! How lucky he is to have a wife to make his all these scrumptious desserts!