Cool Careers in Science

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Effects Artists



Cool Careers in Science

Effects Artists

H.W. Poole

Mason Crest Miami

Mason Crest PO Box 221876 Hollywood, FL 33022 (866) MCP-BOOK (toll free) www.masoncrest.com

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Table of Contents

Introduction . . . . . . . . . . . . . . .7 Chapter 1: What Do Visual Effects Artists Do? . 13 Chapter 2: Terms of the Trade . . . . . . . 31 Chapter 3: Preparing for the Field and Making a Living . . . . . . . . 43 Chapter 4: Key Skills and Methods of Exploration . 61

Chapter 5: The Future of Visual Effects Careers .77 Photo Credits . . . . . . . . . . . . . .92 Further Reading & Internet Resources . . . . 93 Index . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . . 94 Educational Video Links . . . . . . . . . . 96 Author Biography . . . . . . . . . . . . 96

Words to Understand: These words with their easy-to-understand definitions will increase reader’s understanding of the text while building vocabulary skills. Sidebars: This boxed material within the main text allows readers to build knowledge, gain insights, explore possibilities, and broaden their perspectives by weaving together additional information to provide realistic and holistic perspectives. Educational Videos: Readers can view videos by scanning our QR codes, providing them with additional educational content to supplement the text. Text-Dependent Questions: These questions send the reader back to the text for more careful attention to the evidence presented there. Research Projects: Readers are pointed toward areas of further inquiry connected to each chapter. Suggestions are provided for projects that encourage deeper research and analysis. Series Glossary of Key Terms: This back-of-the-book glossary contains terminology used throughout this series. Words found here increase the reader’s ability to read and comprehend higher-level books and articles in this field.



Careers in Science Offer Good Pay, the Opportunity to Help People, and Other Rewards

Where would we be without science? Well, we’d be without computers, smartphones, robots, and other cutting-edge technologies. Crimes would take longer to solve without modern forensic analysis techniques. We’d be stuck relying exclusively on environmentally unfriendly fossil fuels instead of using renewable energy. And life would be less fun, because we wouldn’t have drones, awe-inspiring and physics-defying roller coasters, and the computer and video games that we play for hours. Jobmarkets are sometimes strong and sometimes weak, but a career in science (which, for the purposes of this series, includes the related fields of technology and engineering) is almost a sure path to a comfortable living. The following paragraphs providemore information on why a career in science is a great choice. Good pay. People in science careers earn some of the highest salaries in the work world. The median annual salary for those in engineering careers in the United States is $80,170, according to the US Department of Labor (DOL). That is much higher than the median earnings ($38,640) for all careers. Additionally, those in life and physical science occupations earn $66,070, and information technology professionals earn $86,320. Science professionals who become managers or who launch their own businesses can earn anywhere from $150,000 to $300,000 or more.


Strong employment prospects. There are shortages of science workers throughout the world. In fact, engineering is the third most in-demand occupa tional field in the world. Technicians rank fourth, and computer and information technology professionals rank sixth. There’s a shortage of software engineers in more than twenty countries, including the United States, Canada, Mexico, Japan, and the United Kingdom. Other science careers where there are shortages of workers include electronics engineers (nineteen countries), electrical engineers (sixteen countries), data analysts (eleven countries), and hardware engineers (six countries). The DOL predicts that employment of computer and information technology professionals in the United States will grow by 12 percent during the next decade, which is much faster than the average for all careers. Career opportunities for those in life and physical science occupations will grow by 7 percent (faster than the average). The outlook is also good for engineering professionals. Employment is expected to grow by 4 percent during the next decade. The strongest opportunities will be found in the rebuilding of infrastructure, oil and gas extraction, renewable energy, and robotics. The DOL predicts that by 2028 there will be nearly 757,000 new jobs in the science, technology, engineering, and mathematics fields. Rewarding work environment and many career options. A career in science is fulfilling, because you get to use both your creative and practical sides to develop new technologies (or improve existing ones), solve problems, and make the world a better place. In the instance of 3-D printing, you get the chance to develop technology that will change the way products are manufactured in countless industries. There’s a common misconception that science workers

8 Cool Careers in Science: Visual Effects Artists

Science workers spend time in the field, testing, troubleshooting, and trying out their inventions or discoveries.

spend most of their time in dreary, windowless laboratories or research facilities. While they do spend lots of time in those places, they also spend time in the field, testing, troubleshooting, and trying out their inventions or discoveries. Some science professionals launch their own businesses, which can be both fun and very rewarding. Job opportunities are available throughout the United States and the world. Science professionals play such an important role in our modern world that there are job openings almost anywhere, although many positions are found in big cities.



Is a Career in Science Right for Me? Test your interest. How many of these statements do you agree with?

___ My favorite class in school is science. ___ I also enjoy computer science classes. ___ I like to learn about scientific breakthroughs. ___ I like to design and build things. ___ I like to solve puzzles.

___ I enjoy doing science experiments. ___ I am curious about how things work. ___ I am creative and have a good imagination. ___ I like to build electronics and other things that require electricity. ___ I like to take things apart and see how they work. ___ I am good at math and physics. If many of the statements above describe you, then you should consider a career in the sciences. Check out this book on a career as a visual effects artist, and other books in the series, to learn more about occupational paths in the sciences and related fields. Good luck with your career exploration!


Cool Careers in Science: Visual Effects Artists

If you’re interested in a career that combines science and creativity, consider becoming a visual effects artist.


Words To Understand

disallow: to reject generalist: someone who can work on many different aspects of something (contrast with specialist) specialist: someone who is an expert on one very particular aspect of something static: unmoving


Chapter 1

What Do Visual Effects Artists Do? What Are Visual Effects? When most people hear the term visual effects (VFX), they picture spectacular scenes in summer blockbusters—like when the Avengers faced down Thanos in an all-out battle for the future of the universe in Endgame (2019). And it’s true, whether you’re talking about superheroes or spaceships or dragons, big-budget movies are absolutely dripping with VFX. But there is a lot more to the VFX field than making the Hulk appear big and green. Films and TV shows that look perfectly realistic may, in fact, have a surprising amount of VFX going on behind the scenes. It might seem as though characters are riding on horseback or performing in a crowded arena or simply driving down a highway at sunset . . . but all of those backgrounds may well have been created by VFX artists. Meanwhile, other industries are coming to depend more and more on computer-generated imagery (CGI). Video games, for instance, couldn’t exist without the contribution of VFX


artists. Advertisers, likewise, are hiring more and more VFX artists to make their advertisements more exciting. Put simply, VFX creation is the creation and/or manipulation of moving images through computer software. In the field’s early days, VFX artists were “jack of all trades” types—whatever effects a particular film or show needed, a small team would figure out how to make them happen. Things are very different now. Due to the complex and highly specialized software involved in modern VFX creation, the jobs are also highly specialized. That means there are a surprising number of career paths open to people who can combine computer skills with visual creativity. Who Hires Visual Effects Artists? The majority of VFX artists work for independent companies (sometimes called “studios” or “shops”) that are hired to create specific effects for partic ular projects. That means the same VFX company might work on films, TV shows, commercials, games, and more. Some of these VFX studios are large, multinational companies. To take just one example, Method Studios has done high-profile work on everything from the Marvel and John Wick franchises to TV shows like Game of Thrones and Stranger Things , to TV ads for the NBA. Method Studios has offices in four American cities plus two in Canada, one in Australia, and one in India. But there are also lots of smaller VFX shops that may have only a handful of employees. VFX artists have highly specialized technical skills that can be applied to a number of different fields. Some of those fields, such as filmmaking, are probably obvious to you, but as you’ll see, others may be surprising.


Cool Careers in Science: Visual Effects Artists

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