Carrie Smith

VFX Artist and Beauty Supervisor, Los Angeles

April 5, 2021


Ghost VFX is an award-winning visual effects house with innovative talent and technology that bring creative visions to life. Our dedicated teams around the globe make the impossible possible, fulfilling the demands of studios and independent creators alike. In our “Ghost VFX Spotlight” series, we showcase the team members behind the projects to find out what they’re passionate about, how they see the industry evolving, and their creative insights into the art and craft of visual effects.

Tell me a little about your background in VFX?

I’ve been in the business for about 12 years. I used to be a public-school teacher and literacy specialist. But I experienced burnout with that, so I taught myself how to comp by watching YouTube tutorials. Then, when I got good enough, I joined my friend’s very small company as a junior artist.

In your own words how would you describe what you do at Ghost VFX?

I’m in charge of all the beauty work here, which over the years has morphed from basic skin fixes to full-scale complex de-aging work and body reshaping in some cases. I’m one of the senior general comp artists, too. And I also create training materials and oversee education for the interns and less experienced artists to make sure they get the skills they need.

What part of the job are you most passionate about?

I enjoy being able to solve complex problems, especially when the client was worried that there wasn’t a way to fix something. I love being able to solve something for someone and knowing that they were stoked about the results. And I do enjoy training new people. It feels good to see someone’s confidence blossom, to see them get better and better at some really sophisticated stuff.

How have you adapted how you work during the pandemic?

I mean, you just find a way to get the job done. In my case, this means hitting the same quotas and deadlines with a toddler sticking hand puppets in my face. I’m very lucky that I have a space at home where I can focus, a great internet connection, and a supportive husband. There are certainly some new challenges, but I love getting to see my daughter whenever I want to and being so close to the fridge.

Any advice to women looking to break into VFX?

You belong here. Reach out to other women in the field (including me!), because I haven’t found one yet who wasn’t ready to hold the door open. Create solidarity with your cohort of incoming artists, women and men alike, and be generous sharing skills and support. You’ll find that those people sustain you for your entire career and become lifelong friends and creative partners.

Where do you see the VFX industry headed in the next 5 years? What excites you about the future?

I’ll just be thankful when everyone is vaccinated and we can start getting back to some semblance of normal without so much looming stress in our lives. While I personally have been lucky, I think this has been an incredibly devastating time for working people industry-wide, and it’s going to take a while to recover. Although on the plus side, I think we’ve figured out that a lot more remote work is possible, which is great. Beyond that, I’ve been dipping my feet into the waters of machine learning and its VFX applications. I think there are some really exciting things to be done with that technology. And I’ll continue to work with the company to diversify our workforce. I’m so proud that this company has pushed for inclusion on a lot of fronts, and I’m excited to do whatever I can to keep that going.