Mount Doom maker shares skills in Beijing

By Sun Ye ( China Daily ) Updated: 2015-12-03 06:50:51

Mount Doom maker shares skills in Beijing

Hollywood blockbuster I, Robot. Photos provided to China Daily

Brian Samuels is the man behind Mount Doom's seething lava in The Lord of the Rings series, the crushing of robots in I, Robot and the crumbling of King Kong's jungle.

The special-effects artist, with more than 40 years experience, is among the best in his trade.

Samuels, now an associate lecturer at New Zealand's Media Design School, recently visited Beijing for the first time and held a training camp on visual effects at the Beijing Film Academy.

He welcomed talented Chinese to study and work with him and says that China has tremendous potential in this field.

While special effects or artificial visual and audio creations have evolved to become more magical over the past few decades, and a software called Houdini is widely used, Samuels says artists need more than software to create the sensational effects.

They also need imagination, meticulousness, and the ability to cope with restrictions of time, budgets and technology.

Born to artist parents in North Hollywood, Samuels became fascinated with special effects at the age of 7.

"Living in Hollywood, the movies are not things that happen somewhere else," he says. "After watching a movie, you would see the actor go out a grocery store.

"So since I was young, I know that the things on screen are art."

He started his career when laser shows were all the rage. He taught himself the trade and landed a job at the California Production Company.

He would later use garden soil to set a scene for a great snake's menacing attack.

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