As a child, Jaime Jasso was a fan of the original Star Wars trilogy and his love of science fiction and fantasy cinema helped him to decide which career he wanted to pursue.
Now, Jaime has more than 20 years of experience in visual effects for movies and video games. His career was also inspired by films such as Blade Runner and Alien, while his favorite directors from his youth were James Cameron, Ridley Scott, and Steven Spielberg.
This is the story of how he became one of the most prestigious matte painters in the world, worked on Marvel and Star Wars mega productions, and was a member of the VXF team that won the Oscar for the movie Avatar.
Inspiration and love for cinema
“For me, going to the movies was like being transported to another world and stepping out of reality. To live another life, at least for a couple of hours; that feeling is what I want to project now with what I do,” says Jasso in an interview with Tec Review.
But getting to Hollywood required a lot of patience and constantly working on his passion from when he was a child: drawing.
In the late 1990s, Jaime began working for a video production company and at advertising agencies to do commercials in Guadalajara, where he discovered that he had an untapped talent for visual effects, animation, and 3D illustration.
At the beginning of the year 2000, he realized that there weren’t many software and hardware tools in Mexico. On a visit to San Francisco, he bought his first drawing tablet, a Wacom Intuos, which he worked with on the movie The Ring. This opened the door for him to work with “major league artists.”
The challenge of working in Hollywood
Although he has worked on horror and science fiction productions, Jasso is amazed he’s had the opportunity to work with the movie legends he grew up with.
“Working on a film like Star Wars is very demanding and stressful because the level of quality required is the highest in the world. The pressure is the worst I’ve ever experienced because your results and performance must be up there with the best. But it’s worth it in the end,” said the Mexican artist.
For the three Star Wars films that he’s worked on, he was responsible for matte painting and creating the concept art for settings like the planets on which the stories take place.
Winning an Oscar
The movie Avatar by James Cameron won three Oscars, one of which was for Best Visual Effects, the team that Jasso was on.
“It’s surreal and you don’t believe it. I’m still as excited as I was at the beginning because many of the things that I dreamed of as a child really have come true. That is to say that people like my work and the satisfaction of knowing this has given me more strength to do things,” says Jasso.
What advice do you give to students and recent graduates?
The Mexican points out that the new generations have the advantage of having much more software, hardware, online and free learning tools, but that they must also work harder due to competition.
“I recommend that they don’t get impatient because these things take time. Artists aren’t made overnight even though we have all the resources we need in our computers. That’s not how art works. It’s a process that takes a long time to mature and in which we have to develop an appreciation for design that sets us apart from the competition,” said Jasso.
The artist will give a talk on September 3 at 6:30 p.m. with tips on how to develop this type of art. He will also talk about his career at the Wacom Academy virtually and free of charge.
“It’s important to take advantage of these opportunities for direct contact with artists because it’s something that didn’t exist before and it’s a good learning resource,” he explains.