This is a great little montage of how far we have come in special effects. Not only explosions and rendering backgrounds, but for digital inserting and taking away things in the scene, or even getting rid of wrinkles in an actor.
The best special effects are so subtle you never even knew they were special. My favorite example is the Black Swan. Natalie Portman did a lot of work to look the part of the Ballerina, absolutely, but there is simply no substitutes for 20 years of learning the profession of Ballet. There just isn’t. Now, the video below makes it out to look like a huge conspiracy, but it’s not, so ignore that. The fact is that they replaced the head with Natalie Portman’s. Amazing. And you would never know otherwise.
Visual Effects is always something I’ve wanted to venture into. I had some bad experiences with modeling in High School, however, and have been dissuaded since then. The art of visual effects is… complicated, to say the least. How do you make something look real that was never there? How do you even begin to imagine such things to such a level to convince people that it is, in fact, very real?
It’s probably the best and most fun part of movie magic. The career can be very lucrative, but in the worst case scenario, you will always have a job.
If you are willing to put in the long hours of not only work but learning the tools, check out designing visual effects for the big screen for sure.