(written from a Production point of view)
David Armstrong Stipes (born 1948) is a visual effects expert who has worked, predominantly as visual effects supervisor, on the Star Trek spin-off series, which entailed the last two seasons of Star Trek: The Next Generation, the last four seasons of Star Trek: Deep Space Nine, the first two seasons of Star Trek: Voyager, and the entire run of Enterprise.
David Stipes had, as an outside contractor, already made two early uncredited contributions to The Next Generation, first as a stop motion control artist, operating the neural parasite puppet, featured in the first season episode "Conspiracy", and subsequently as a photographer when he filmed the enlarged Borg cube model section for the self-regenerating sequence in the second season episode "Q Who". However, it was not until late 1992 that he was hired full-time by the Star Trek franchise as the fifth visual effects supervisor. That circumstance arose due to the fact that one of the alternating senior visual effects teams, that of Gary Hutzel and Robert Legato, was transferred at the conclusion of the fifth season to the new Star Trek production, Deep Space Nine. To fill the gap left by them for the remaining two seasons of The Next Generation, Stipes was hired while being teamed up with David Takemura, who was on that occasion promoted from the junior position of visual effects associate to the senior position of coordinator, for season six, while being teamed up with newcomer Joe Bauer for season seven, after Takemura transferred to Deep Space Nine.
Upon the conclusion of The Next Generation, the Stipes/Bauer team smoothly transferred to the new Voyager television series, on which it worked for most of its first two seasons. Near the end of season two of that series, David Stipes again transferred to another series, Deep Space Nine, starting to work for that production at the tail end of its season four, remaining there for the remainder of that series' run.
Stipes was one of the very first members of Star Treks production team to fully realize the potential of CGI and, being its strongest advocate, has been instrumental in the transition from miniature photography to CGI in the franchise, already supervising one of its earliest applications in the episode "Emergence". Stipes has cited overwhelmingly practical reasons for his stance, "When I started at Star Trek in 1992, by the third script I saw that I could not deliver what the writers were asking for using the established approach to the visual effects. The approach to the visual effects work was based upon models and motion control photography. We were limited by track lengths and sizes of the models. I began looking at the software available at the time. As I remember, the leading software was about $40,000 a module and you needed three or four different modules to possibly do any film quality work."  His name appeared on several set artwork throughout the series.
For the publication Star Trek: The Magazine, Stipes has authored a series of articles, explaining to its readership, the various aspects of the creation of visual effects.
Career outside Star Trek
Prior to his Star Trek work Stipes worked on science fiction television shows such as Buck Rogers in the 25th Century (1979), Galactica 1980 and V: The Final Battle (1984). His motion picture credits include Equinox (1970), Caveman (1981), Creepshow (1982), The Stuff (1985), Real Genius (1985), Night of the Creeps (1986), Deadly Weapon (1989), Arena (1989), Ernest Goes to Jail (1990), and The Lawnmower Man (1992). From 1981 through 1992, Stipes worked as an independent contractor while operating his own company, "David Stipes Productions", he ceased operating when he was hired full time on The Next Generation in 1993. The movie Night of the Creeps, on which he worked as visual effects supervisor, provided some unexpected after-the-fact Star Trek connections. Apart from having worked with Ron Thornton and Steve Burg, the studio model of the alien spacecraft, used in he movie, would three years later be loaned out to The Next Generation for use as the Cleponji in "Booby Trap". The model ended up in the possession of the Stipes family.
After his tenure on the Star Trek franchise David Stipes moved to Arizona to accept a position as a teacher at the Art Institute of Phoenix, only sporadically working for the motion picture industry during that time. Around 2010 he moved back to California and returned full time to the motion picture industry having worked since then on the spoof science fiction series Voyage Trekkers (2011), and the movies Blackout (2013) and Mantecoza (2014).
Star Trek credits
- "Conspiracy" - Stop Motion Control Artist (TNG Season 1, uncredited)
- "Realm of Fear" - Visual Effects Supervisor (Season 6)
- "Relics" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "True Q" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "A Fistful of Datas" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Chain of Command, Part I" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Ship in a Bottle" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Face of the Enemy" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Birthright, Part I" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Starship Mine" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "The Chase" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Suspicions" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Second Chances" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Descent" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Liaisons" - Visual Effects Supervisor (Season 7)
- "Gambit, Part I" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Phantasms" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Attached" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Inheritance" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "The Pegasus" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Sub Rosa" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Thine Own Self" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Eye of the Beholder" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Journey's End" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "Bloodlines" - Visual Effects Supervisor
- "All Good Things..." - Visual Effects Supervisor
Star Trek awards
Stipes received the following Emmy Award wins and nominations in the category Outstanding Individual Achievement in Special Visual Effects:
- 1994 Emmy Award win for TNG: "All Good Things...", shared with Dan Curry, Michael Backauskas, Scott Rader, Adam Howard, and Erik Nash
- 1995 Emmy Award win for VOY: "Caretaker", shared with Michael Backauskas, Joe Bauer, Edward L. Williams, Dan Curry, Joshua Cushner, Don B. Greenberg, Scott Rader, Adam Howard, Don Lee, John Parenteau, Joshua Rose, and Robert Stromberg
- 1999 Emmy Award nomination for DS9: "What You Leave Behind", shared with Robert Bonchune, David Lombardi, Kevin P. Bouchez, Adam Howard, Greg Rainoff, Adam Buckner, Arthur J. Codron, Judy Elkins, Dan Curry, Steve Fong, Don Greenberg, Paul Hill, Davy T. Nethercutt, Sherry Hitch, Gary Hutzel, Paul Maples, Gary Monak, and Larry Younger
- 2002 Emmy Award nomination for ENT: "Breaking the Ice", shared with Adam Buckner, John Gross, Steven Rogers, Paul Hill, Adam Howard, Greg Rainoff, Fred Pienkos, and Eddie Robison
International Monitor Awards
- 1998 International Monitor Award win in the category Film Originated Television Series - Electronic Visual Effects for DS9: "Call to Arms", shared with Dan Curry, Adam Buckner, Steve Fong, Kevin Bouchez, Davy Nethercutt, and Don Greenberg
Star Trek interviews
- VOY Season 1 special feature "Red Alert: Visual Effects - Season One", 1994
- Star Trek: Voyager - Inside the New Adventure, 1995
- "The Odo Morph Effect", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 11, March 2000, pp. 88-93 - Author
- "Motion Control on the Set", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 15, July 2000, pp. 54-58 - Author
- "Odo gets some new threads: Morphing Clothes", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 1, Issue 22, February 2001, pp. 93-95 - Author
- "Behind the Scenes: Elements for Enterprise", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 1, May 2002, pp. 84-87 - Author
- "Behind the Scenes: Animatics for Enterprise", Star Trek: The Magazine Volume 3, Issue 11, March 2003, pp. 66-69 - Author