Avatar’s Eye-Popping Effects Inspire New Careers

Lori Johnston | January 14, 2010

AvatarOver the weekend, I finally saw “Avatar,” which is unlike any other movie I’ve ever seen because of its stunning special digital effects, even more amazing when viewed in 3D.

James Cameron’s record-setting film is only boosting the careers of its stars, who spend part or all of the movie as blue-skinned aliens but it is inspiring in many ways, including some of which have nothing to do with the plot. Watching the film, you may leave wondering what it takes to put such eye-popping and can’t-bear-to-blink details into a movie. Not to mention how all of the top-notch technology came into play, and that it took an estimated $400 million production and marketing budget to create the film’s success.

If your dream is to land a job behind-the-scenes creating the next movie that generates as much buzz as “Avatar,” you’ll need to start looking into courses in special effects, animation, sound editing and other fields taught in film school. Animation and special effects careers will require courses and/or degree focuses in subjects such as 3D and technology-driven courses (which is part of the reason why “Avatar” has made so much at the box office). In fact, USA Today reports that the movie uses more than 2,500 digital effects, and 60 percent is computer-generated.Avatar

Think you’ve got what it takes to enter this world? First, start with these smart questions to ask as recommended by The CollegeBoard, when considering a school offering a major in animation and special effects:

  • Are labs and classrooms equipped with state-of-the-art technology?
  • Do professors have plenty of real-world experience?
  • Will the program help you find work after graduation?

In addition, you’ll want to think about if you’re willing to relocate. Many animation companies tend to be in the California area. That’s not to say you can’t work elsewhere, but it’s something to keep in mind should your career take off.

Ready to get started? Explore animation careers at CollegeSurfing, and start checking out programs near you.

-Lori Johnston

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