CGI Special Effects Technician Job Description

The traditional Special Effects team consisting of pyrotechnicians for explosions and stuntmen for life-threatening actions has ushered movie making into the world of computer generated special effects that possess significantly more realism on the cinematic canvass.  Thanks to CGI Special Effects Technicians who make it possible for highly imaginative directors to realize their visions with unparalleled realism with scenes that would otherwise be too expensive to shoot.

CGI Special Effects Technician Duties and Responsibilities

  • Set-up the blue or green backdrop for actions to be captured on special digital cameras for compositing on the CGI Silicon Graphics Workstations
  • Operate the workstation to general MASSIVE (Multiple Agent Simulator System in Virtual Environment) to create large crowds from a small group shot in real time.
  • Create or re-use templated creatures designed on the special effects database
  • Re-animate deceased actor with digital cloning as required
  • Deploy and operate special cameras on the set as guided by the film director to enable the shots to be CGI-ready.


CGI Special Effects Technician Skills and Specifications

  • Must have high computer literacy in operating high technology animation workstations such as Silicon Graphics supercomputers for generating CGI effects.
  • Must have a good eye for compositing and developing computer scenes from libraries or from scratch using the appropriate software
  • Must have excellent verbal communication skills to articulate CGI work to film and art directors


CGI Special Effects Technician Education and Qualifications

  • A high school diploma is often sufficient for an entry level position but an associate degree or certificated vocation training in computer science and a creative talent is preferred.
  • A Bachelor of Arts degree in Theater Production or equivalent experience in animation and video production is an advantage.

CGI Special Effects Technician Salary

The median annual salary of multimedia artists, animators and CGI Special Effects wizards was $56,330 in 2008 with those employed in film studios and gaming industries receiving the highest median at $65,600 with the highest 10% reaching $100,400 while the lowest, typically reserved to interns of trainees was at $31,600.