Two things pop up in people’s minds whenever the name “Hollywood” is mentioned. The first is the Hollywood sign, formerly the Hollywoodland Sign, big and looming over Mount Lee, overlooking Hollywood, Los Angeles, California. Hollywood is spelled out in 45-ft tall, 350 feet long letters. The second thing that immediately follows the sign, is – acting, of course.
But the question that comes to mind is this: Do you need to be an actor to make it big in Hollywood? Are there no other people in the industry?
With the evolution of technology, more and more careers are opening up that weren’t there before. One of them is the field of visual effects and animation. Although animation has been around for decades, it has recently gone through a major evolution and the entertainment industry is taking full advantage of it. Take any of the upcoming or recently released films and you’ll see just how popular this field is.
Mostly when people think about animators, the visual they get is of a person wearing thick, horn-rimmed glasses, sitting behind a computer for hours upon hours. They have no idea how far from the truth they are. Here’s what happened at the set of the movie Frozen:
To create the perfect look for the movie, Giaimo, the Art Director, researched the entire region of Scandinavia and visited the Danish-themed city of Solvang which is near Los Angeles. But eventually, he settled on Norway because those were the visuals he was looking for. Disney then took its animators team on three research field trips to Jackson Hole, Wyoming, so the team could observe and experience walking, running, and falling in the snow in different types of clothes that the characters would be wearing. Who knew animators got to have so much fun, right?
LETTING TECH INTO OUR LIVES
Technology has now become ubiquitous in our everyday lives. From the moment we wake up to the moment we close our eyes at night, it is all around us. One of the ways you can achieve your goal of going to Hollywood is to embrace technology, especially visual effects and animation. Knowing this, we thought we would compile a list of people who have used visual effects and animation to make their mark on Hollywood.
Hailing from a small village called Isakhail, in the Mianwali District in Punjab, Pakistan, this young lady recently made a lot of waves in Pakistan as the youngest VFX artist in Hollywood. At a young age of 28, she has already amassed an impressive number of titles under her belt like Sweeney Todd, Godzilla, 10,000 B.C., The Chronicles of Narnia: The Voyage of the Dawn Trader, X-Men: Days of Future Past, and Gravity.
According to Laraib, she had always been interested in drawing. So much so, that people used to tease her as being a ‘mute’ because she didn’t talk at all, instead preferring to remain in a corner with her pencils and drawing pads.
While she was doing Civil and Architectural Engineering, she got interested in VFX. She enrolled in a diploma course for VFX. As soon as the course ended, she started getting offers for small jobs and projects, and the rest, as they say, is history.
Now, who would have thought that programmers would one day be working in Hollywood? Most of us have always thought that programmers are supposed to be in Silicon Valley, and actors and actresses are supposed to be in Hollywood. But now, thanks to technology making its way into all walks of life, the boundaries have blurred. Now even programmers are making it big in Hollywood.
The same is the case with Novaira Masood. Most of you will never have heard of her but have definitely seen her work. Want us to jog your memory? Who here has seen the now-famous Disney Villainess Maleficent? Got your attention right? We’re pretty sure there’s hardly anyone on this planet who doesn’t know who Angelina Jolie is. Well, Novaira Masood and her team were behind the stunning and pioneering work that went into the making of Maleficent.
Apart from Maleficent, Novaira and her team have also worked on films like A Christmas Carol, Mars needs Moms, Thor, Transformers 3, and Jack the Giant Slayer.
Although she has worked in different areas of VFX, her specialty is performance capture software. This is a technique used to capture human body movements and facial features data to apply on animated characters so that they look realistic and lifelike. This is the technique that was used on the fairies in Maleficent. Although she and her team used the same facial system that they used for Tron and Jack the Giant Slayer, they had to update and improve it a lot according to the needs of Maleficent.
MIR ZAFAR ALI
Mir Zafar Ali is another individual who has used his expertise as a visual effects artist to propel him into the limelight. He was one of the team that won the acclaimed Academy Award for the best visual effects for the film The Golden Compass in 2007. In 2012, his team won the Academy Award for best visual effects for Life of Pi and then again in 2014, his team got the Academy Award for the highly acclaimed and insanely popular Frozen. Don’t hate him for his success, learn to Let It Go! (See what we did there?)
Other films that he has worked on are Percy Jackson: Sea of Monsters, Hop, Land of the Lost, The Incredible Hulk, Spider-Man 3, Open Season, Stealth, and The Day After Tomorrow.
So here you go folks, real-life examples for you. So the next time you sit in front of the screen, instead of watching funny cat videos, enroll yourself in a course and start learning. Who knows, you might be one of the lucky ones working for a video animation company or a software company that gets the responsibility of making Thor look larger than life, or Peter Parker look cool and sleek in his new suit given to him by the late, great Tony Stark.