ADAM HOWARD is regarded as an accomplished visual magician, supervising and creating high end visual effects, animation and design work for the motion picture and television industry in both the USA and Australia. Adam was a Senior Artist at George Lucas’ acclaimed visual effects company Industrial Light & Magic where he contributed to 17 major motion pictures. Prior to working at ILM he won 4 Primetime EMMY Awards and received a total of 10 Emmy Award nominations for his work on all four of the Star Trek TV series. He won 11 International Monitor Awards for his work in television commercials and music videos and has been honored twice by the AICP for visual effects and animation. He was on the founding board of directors of the Visual Effects Society and is also a member of the Academy of Television Arts and Sciences and the Australian Academy of Cinema and Television Arts. In addition to his film and television work, Adam was Senior Visual Effects Supervisor for the state of the art ride experience Harry Potter and the Forbidden Journey at TheWizarding World of Harry Potter in Universal Studios, Orlando Florida. His most recent feature film projects as Visual Effects Supervisor are: Unknown, The Social Network, Twilight Saga: Breaking Dawn I & II, Tower Heist, Last Vegas and BIRDMAN.




27 thoughts on “NOV 4- ADAM HOWARD

  1. Erik Dumas says:

    Despite the technical difficulties, it was really interesting to hear from someone who’s been in the VFX business practically from the beginning. I thought it was especially cool to hear him talk about some of the more pioneering effects he worked on such as the head replacement from the flooded hallway scene in Titanic. I wish he had gone into more detail about how that was done. It was also neat to hear about the editing tricks/effects they used to make Birdman appear seamless. It was refreshing to see that a lot of those transitions were accomplished using practical effects.


  2. David Nessl says:

    I would have never guessed that the hallway flooding scene in Titanic was edited with head replacements. I just always thought Leonardo DiCaprio ran like a cotton headed ninny muggins in real life, and now I know that it wasn’t him hobbling through the halls of a sinking ship. I’m also surprised that Armageddon was created with miniatures and composites. I guess Adam Howard’s work speaks for itself when you take his VFX motto into consideration. That being, if you can’t tell it’s magic than it’s magic, or if you can’t tell its a visual effect than its successful…I think. This brings me back to the point I made early in the semester, saying that as long as we can tell its CG, it will always look bad.

    I’m in awe of all the work Adam Howard has done through the years. Having speakers like him make the tuition and enormous work hours in this program almost worth it–I think pizza, or Chinese food would even out the score. I do however wish that he could have made it to campus, but I understand that the VFX Supervisor for the film that won Best Picture in 2014 is a busy man.


  3. Sequoyah Madison says:

    Adam’s genuine gesture to thank the people who helped him reach his success has really inspired me to start a list of my own. I was floored when Adam admitted he stitched Kate and Leonardo’s heads on stunt double bodies. I carefully watched the clip four times as he showed the footage and still can barely believe it. There are stitches today that aren’t that well done and Titanic was released almost twenty years ago now! The key point from Adams lecture that I will ingrain in my head is that once you define something, people will take it as reality. For me this translates to you don’t have to try so hard to make things representational because once the character moves on screen it is given life – the hard part is to make that life convincing through movement.


  4. Evan Tedlock says:

    Adam is a true titan of the VFX industry. He had his hand in pioneering several techniques which have since become pillars in the field. I wish he could have been here in person to answer questions and more smoothly control his presentation. He seemed to linger a bit on influences and inspiration. His words of wisdom came early on, “Remember the people who help you on the way up”. Everyone gets a hand from someone at some point in their career and it’s easy to forget those people once you establish yourself. It actually makes me smile and serves to encourage me in my creative efforts if I pause for a moment and think back on my mentors and their kindnesses. The other thought which really connected with me was the bit about magic not being in the trick itself but rather in the reaction of astonishment. Apparatus, medium, style, output, or gimmicks will never replace the true essence of what we do, tell stories. Adam is not the first one to tell us that story is everything this semester, but he did put it most eloquently. Many thanks to him for taking time out of his busy schedule to speak with us.


  5. Joseph Etemadi says:

    It was really great to have the opportunity to hear directly from such a recognized master of VFX. I appreciated Mr. Howard taking the time to share his life story about his experiences in the entertainment industry with our class. It was cool to learn of his influences and upbringing as a child, and how he started on his journey in the entertainment industry. It was also great to hear of the Emmy’s Mr. Howard has achieved, and how he was able to find his place in the world of art through visual effects. A big thank you to everyone for coordinating the seminar.


  6. Katie Smith says:

    I wasn’t able to make seminar this night, and am so disappointed to have missed it. I’m looking forward to rewatching ‘Titanic’ and keeping an eye out for the hallway scene you all are talking about. I’ve watched that movie so many times (it came out when I was in 7th grade… I’ll never let go, Jack!) and I never noticed anything such as their heads being stitched on. I’m glad to be able to read the comments here and talk to my classmates about the lecture, to hear what advice and wisdom Adam gave. He seems like a very stand-up guy, who remembers those who have helped him and that a beauty of this field is about creating magic and telling stories.


  7. Okike Franklin says:

    I wasn’t expecting a Skype seminar to be this good. It was good to hear from an extraordinary artist who defined a lot of VFX today. I found his talk interesting in all but one thing I took out from the seminar was his method of giving credit to whom credit is due. You hardly see an artist of his caliber give credit to those who put them there and I find that trait rare and dying.


  8. Yingzong Xin says:

    Adam’s success lies in his unique understanding of the film and contributions, charming place Adam’s work is that he let the technology and the perfect combination of movies, through the understanding of a variety of materials perfect application in the cinema do a stunning effect. In particular, he describes his experiences in the only time the Titanic, so I very much admire,


  9. Kun Xia says:

    Adam Howard
    Adam Howard’s presentation was really inspiring, Adam is a pioneer in the visual effects industry. Supervising and creating high end visual effects, animation and design work for the motion picture and television industry. Adam is regarded as an accomplished visual magician. It is interesting to know Adam has a short time experience as child star on Tokyo television. It’s amazing to see how many movies Adam worked with and how much effort he put in those works. According to Mr. Howard, Also surprise to know there are 50 visual-effects shots in Jurassic Park, while there are 1,200 visual-effects shots in the new Pee-Wee Herman movie. Really appreciate his presentation.


  10. It was my first time to have speech through skype and that was awesome than I expected! Adam Howard outline clearly about the industry of visual effects. And I also respected for his practical experiences so that is the reason why he can describe everything in a great detail which I’ve never know before. For instance, In the hallway flooding scene in the Titanic, Leonardo Dicaprio’s head was edited with replacement! To some degree, he really showed magical aspect of animating films. Cinema will represent reality in the black box, however, animation will take things out of black box to edit reality into real imagination. From his presentation, I can truly figure out two different directions of cinema and animation which cannot exist without each other.


  11. Hyeon Jeong Cho says:

    Mentioning the people who helped and inspired him first was very inspiring. As a person before an artist, it is very important to remember thankful people in life.
    Listening the path of a pioneer life of the industry was very interesting, especially the VFX works that he’s done are still hard to believe that is the graphic. Such an astonishing works.
    However, I’d like to mention that taking seminar via skype was little bit hard to concentrate or full participated in it. Bud I do appreciate him that squeezed some time to give a presentation despite of his busy schedule.


  12. Yu Yu says:

    Adam Howard mentioned an interesting story happened when he was a child. He was asked what’s the difference between tricks and magic in a magician shop, and learned the magic is about the performance at that time. And it’s what he is doing in the movies. There are so many amazing visual effects he had done. From the time people don’t believe computer can make beautiful art to now, the technique are changing, but as a visual magician, the sprite of performance are the same.

    Some short scene took a long time to finish. Such as the one in Titanic that running away from water, was only 10 seconds long, but took them 2 months to finish. All the people work on movies should take themselves as the ones who make magic, not just tricks. So that the performance, the story can always come first, and make the film more perfect in the end.


  13. Amir Arzanian says:

    It was an interesting seminar. I didn’t know Mr.Howard before and it was quit surprising how famous he is in visual effect industry. His story was very inspirational specially the part that he came from Australia to USA and how hard it was for him to get a new job but he resisted and he became successful. His works was really superb, I wish he could explain more about the techniques he used. I liked to see footages from making of the movies he worked on. Although he did not explain much about technical part of his project, his biography was interesting enough.
    I checked the Titanic movie again with scene he told us and his work was amazing I could not recognize anything.


  14. Jing Huang says:

    Adam’s presentation is pretty nice. I like some parts of it. Adam is a pioneer in the visual effects industry, supervising and creating high end visual effects, animation and design work for the motion picture and television industry. It is also interesting that he has a period of experience at Tokyo. That amazing when Adam put these life experience into his own art works. Regarding of his experience, I have just think of my own life, I just think some parts of my own life can also be created as a story animation. That will be amazing!
    Thanks again for Adam’s presentation.


  15. Shang Song says:

    He was a great VFX artist, and he was involved in a lot of work that I have seen since I was young. His work experience allows us to see how the perfect combination of technology and art. My friends have a lot of work in China to participate in VFX, they do not love their work, because many of the special effects of China’s film project is not enough money, nor is it enough passion and creativity, which is disappointing. I hope that China and the United States of VFX can have more cooperation, especially like Adam the VFX master, he can consider to make the leadership of some film in China. Sincere advice.


  16. Min Shi says:

    I’m so exciting since I checked the background of today’s guest, because Bird man is my favorite one, just thinking about the long shots the filmmakers manipulated, the shots from stage to narrow alley, the shots from broadway to the backstage. That is why I’m so exciting about today’s guest, Adam.

    It was so amazing to see that he shared his life story and his experiences in the entertainment industry.I really appreciate that he was will to show us the footages from making of the movies that he worked on.


  17. Jinyue Wan says:

    Adam Howard is very successful in the film industry. The film he has worked on is the several most famous movies in recent years. I really admire his professional attitude, he is a expert of visual effect. As a student who want to join the film industry in future, I really want to know the people like Adam Howard, he just told me what is the standard in the film industry, what kind of level I should get if I want to become one of the best.

    Bird Man, Titanic are all have very high quality on all aspect, including visual effect. Especially Titanic is a film in 1997, as I know, the film maker used a big water pool to mimic the ocean, and made a very delicate model for the sheet. It must spent a lot of money and time to let the big scene come true and have a bunch of professional people work on it. I really thanks for Adam Howard can come to show his work.


  18. xiruiliu says:

    Adam Howard did a lot of fabulous works in his career life. I am really admire him that he can have such high reputation of his job.

    Also, he is really a master to making the visual effects of a lot of hot movies. One of his master work is in the Titanic movie that scene is the head replacement from the flooded hallway , it is really a magic world to make it come true.

    Also, I like his attitude to showing his works to us, he is so confident to explain the VFX industry to us and leading us know some rules of the movie industry. Besides, he is really a kind person and sharing his experience and life path to us. I learned the wisdom of life from him and his experience is encourage me to face my own problem in my life.


  19. Zhaoyu Zhou says:

    Really appreciate to see Adam is here. He is a master in VFX in the entertainment industry, who has contributed in many block-buster movies. It is also useful and inspirational for us to listen to his story and experience as a true leader in VFX in business from beginning to now. By listening to his story, we can also know the development of VFX in movies these years, which is amazing. Many thanks for Adam to come to speak to us.


  20. Tuo Kan says:

    Adam is like a super star in visual effect industry. He’s work credits are everywhere in these a-list films. Unfortunately he can not be able to be here, just having a Skype moment with us. But he said he’s working somewhere away from here. That is understandable.

    And also I really like these people when they are very successful, they can tell their story very calm down, even there are so many highlight moment in their career. There are so many up and downs.


  21. Joe Stucky says:

    Adam Howard gave a great Skype type presentation to us. The reach of his experience in FX is quite remarkable. He was able to talk to us about quite a few of the films he had worked on. Also taking us through his early days of interest in FX, early LA apartment, and work experiences was refreshing.

    It was to bad we could not have set up a true Skype conference with him for him to see us and hear our responses. However Eric was able to relay questions to him anyway. It would have been great to see Adam in person, but when you are busy that is how it is.

    Thank you


  22. Aya Kashima says:

    Even though it was a Skype presentation because of his busy schedule, but I enjoyed his lecture. I appreciate for sharing his personal story in addition to his amazing career. I was curious about how he got into movie industry and build his way to be a top visual effect artist. I could feel that he proud of his job and enjoy a lot in film production, which encourage me to find my career in movie industry. I wish he could come to USC to give a lecture next time.


  23. Yijie Li says:

    Adam Howard has a interesting track of going into the film industry as a visual artist. I am glad that he can always fit into the film industry and maintain his valuable thoughts in his job. His credit on “Birdman”, “Titanic” or other gorgeous film prove his dominant ability.

    I admire his point of “if you can’t tell its a visual effect than its successful”, he is definitely those rare types of VFX artist that bring “stereo” art to movie rather than the pale particle weaken the audience’s attention to the film. That should tells why Adam Howard keep his step advance the period and being the master of his field.


  24. Junyi Xiao says:

    Adam Howard’s lecture is wonderful. He mentioned an interesting story happened when he was a child. It was good to hear from an extraordinary artist who defined a lot of VFX today. According to Mr. Howard, Also surprise to know there are 50 visual-effects shots in Jurassic Park, while there are 1,200 visual-effects shots in the new Pee-Wee Herman movie.

    Thanks Adam for such a wonderful lecture.


  25. Ruchia Masuko says:

    This was my first time I had a skype lecture, which I feel that I live in future.
    I was so happy that He told stories while he grew up in Japan.
    “Astro Boy” is a TV show I used to watch when I was little, too!
    As they say, VFX is something that has controversial in film that if they thought the VFX in very well done, or able to recognised, then it doesn’t make the VFX successful.
    Like the movie Titanic, which is more of drama than action, VFX must be very difficult use in the film. But the films Adam Howard had worked on, I actually didn’t think they even have a VFX in it. I remember when I was a little, when I saw Titanic, everything in the film looked so real and I was really scared, so my parents tried to explain that they are VFX which I couldn’t believe it. I really wish to see more films like them.


  26. Megan Simon says:

    I think I was geeking out the most when Kevin Mack gave us his lecture. It was incredible to have a peek into how hard people in the industry work to create these amazing things. I found Kevin Mack’s story really inspiring because he made such major leaps throughout his life in pursuit of his dreams. What incredible opportunity he had as a young man working for the ABC. I think the first major leap Kevin Mack made was convincing the ABC to buy equipment so he could begin making digital paintings and computer graphics. I personally love all digital painting and computer graphics, so hearing from one of the first people working with drawing in this form was incredible.

    Another major inspiration of mine has always been Star Wars and Star Trek. I have always wanted to be a person who contributed to these stories, as they have inspired me in some of the most difficult times in my life. To think that Kevin Mack moved all the way here from australia with no real proof he could succeed. But he knew what he wanted to do and who he wanted to work for. He quickly found himself working on TNG, which blew my mind. Also the thing I found hilarious to hear was his discussion about the fan uproar over the Defiant in Deep Space Nine being animated different than how Kevin Mack animated it. That is such a cool thing and also a bit terrifying to think of people taking your work so seriously.

    Kevin Mack also got to work on star wars, which is an amazing accomplishment. I will probably think of his lecture every time I see a hologram. Now he works with Jonathan Frakes, and I hope the two get to work together in the next star trek series. Besides my geeking out, what I found really inspiring was how dedicated Kevin Mack is to his passions. His path wasn’t defined before him, yet he carved his own way. He had no way of knowing if the computer graphics would take over the industry like he did – yet he trusted his guy instinct insisting his boss buy it and he spent his time learning it and mastering it. Even after proving all doubts in him wrong with working on star wars, star trek, birdman and more – he still works hard. Despite all these amazing accomplishments he hasn’t given up on his passion and continues putting in all the hours without hesitance to create amazing works. He had even been awake many hours working before even talking to us and willingly spoke to us and answered our questions. That kind of work ethic is incredibly inspiring, and it obviously paid off. I hope to emulate this in my studies and also my career in the future.


    • Megan Simon says:

      I had two tabs open when I wrote this and I confused Adam Howard’s name with Kevin Mack. I remembered Adam Howard’s lecture and face clearly. I am really sorry. :< It was a big mistake.


Leave a Reply

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: Logo

You are commenting using your account. Log Out /  Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out /  Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out /  Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out /  Change )


Connecting to %s

%d bloggers like this: