When Waltham native Ty Robillard was first hired to do visual effects for music video director Matt Alonzo, he had no idea he would be doing something very special.

“I was so excited about the project that I didn’t expect to set a record,” Robillard said.

Robillard, who was 17, realized he was really young to do professional-level visual effects work. While a member of online VFX communities, he never heard of anyone his age working as a professional. He decided to apply for a Guinness World Record.

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After a lengthy evaluation process, the Guinness World Record organization said in February that at 17 years and 108 days old, Robillard was the youngest person in history to direct visual effects for a major studio or company. .

“It took six months for the initiative to be approved by Guinness. I had to provide them with a ton of evidence and documents; it took another year and a half submitting witness statements and speaking with the director. They had been looking for a long time,” Robillard said. “In February, I finally got the email confirming that I had been named the record holder, and they sent the plaque to my house.”

hobby turned career

Robillard first got into special effects work by filming and editing footage on his computer for friends and small local clients. He once realized that he needed to add a special effect to a project and put lightning effects on existing footage.

“It obviously didn’t look good because I was so new to it, but I really liked it,” Robillard said. “I accidentally discovered the world of visual effects, and over time I gave up on everything else and realized that I only wanted to do this.”

Robillard creates effects with computer programs and software designed to create realistic images in live video. Techniques may vary, but they all consider everything that goes into visual imagery, including shape, color, movement, and texture.

Robillard taught himself many techniques and skills by experimenting with different software and following instructional videos on YouTube. Over time, his skills improved and his reputation within the video production industry grew. Eventually, he was contacted by Alonzo, who used Robillard’s company, Lighthouse Productions, to create the visual effects for a music video for rapper Dizzy Wright, who set the world record for Robillard.

Warning: The music video contains foul language.

While the music video with Alonzo was the project he was most proud of, Robilliard called another project his favorite: a trailer for a fan-made Spiderman movie. His challenge was to create the spider web coming out of a web-shooter. In the trailer, the web comes out and Spiderman pinches it as if it were a guitar string.

“I was able to figure out how to simulate how to make this cord move like a tightrope or a guitar string,” Robillard said. “Anyone who saw the trailer actually had no idea I worked on it, and that includes a lot of the sharp-eyed filmmakers. When the director told people I worked on it, people even asked me what I did in the video, and that’s actually the biggest compliment you can ever get. As one of my teachers said, if we do our job well, no one will know anything about the everything.

Robillard graduated from Waltham High School in 2021 and now attends Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, majoring in visual effects. He plans to work professionally in music videos and commercials, but his long-term goal is to work on a Star Wars movie.

“It could be a movie, a TV show, anything, it would be my dream,” Robillard said.

Robillard’s work can be viewed at tyrobillard.wixsite.com/tyrobillardvfx or on his Instagram account (@ty_robillard).

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