(written from a Production point of view)
Cari L. Thomas (born 22 May 1964; age 56) is a visual effects (VFX) artist who started out in the Star Trek franchise in 1989, working as (assistant) scenic artist in Michael Okuda's scenic art department on Star Trek V: The Final Frontier and Star Trek: The Next Generation, seasons three through five. In 1993, she transferred to the VFX department, promoted to VFX associate, when the spin-off series Star Trek: Deep Space Nine went into production, as VFX Producer Dan Curry specified at the time, "Joining the DEEP SPACE NINE Visual Effects crew this year will be Sue Jones and Judy Elkins, and Cari Thomas as Visual Associate." (Cinefantastique, Vol 23,#5, p. 62) Though hired in this junior VFX position, Thomas was given the opportunity to flex her muscled as a senior VFX coordinator on the alternating even numbered episodes of that series' first season from the eighth episode, "Dax", onward, without being permanently elevated, though credited, into that position. Together with her VFX Supervisor Robert Legato, Thomas left the franchise upon the conclusion of the first season, both to join Digital Domain.
A Starfleet captain, seen on set artwork in The Next Generation's episode "Violations", was named after her. Years later, in 2012, she received an additional, after-the-fact, acknowledgment when a "Cari Thomas Raymond" was retconned onto a computer display, seen in the remastered Next Generation episode, "The Neutral Zone", ironically an episode originally produced at a time when she was not yet working for the franchise.
Career outside Star Trek
Prior to her work on Star Trek franchise, Thomas' first motion picture involvement was her uncredited work on the television series Max Headroom. Following her tenure on the franchise, Thomas worked for Digital Domain as visual effects coordinator on the thriller Color of Night (1994) and the fantasy drama Interview with the Vampire: The Vampire Chronicles (1994). As visual effects producer for Digital Domain, she worked on projects such as the science fiction drama Apollo 13 (1995), the biopic Michael Collins (1996), James Cameron's blockbuster Titanic (1997), the drama Kundun (1997), and the science fiction film Armageddon (1998).
Thomas' credits as visual effects producer include the drama Cast Away (2000), the fantasy film Harry Potter and the Sorcerer's Stone (2001), the action sequel Bad Boys II (2003), the sport drama Seabiscuit (2003), the fantasy adventure Peter Pan (2003), Steven Spielberg's science fiction remake War of the Worlds (2005), the thriller Eagle Eye (2008), the fantasy adventure Gulliver's Travels (2010), and the superhero reboot The Amazing Spider-Man (2012).
Star Trek credits
- As (Assistant) Scenic Artist:
- Star Trek films
- Star Trek V: The Final Frontier – Scenic Artist
- Season 3 – Assistant Scenic Artist (26 episodes, "Evolution" – "The Best of Both Worlds")
- Season 4 – Assistant Scenic Artist (14 episodes, "The Best of Both Worlds, Part II" – "Clues")/Scenic Artist (12 episodes, "First Contact" – "Redemption")
- Season 5 – Scenic Artist (26 episodes, "Redemption II" – "Time's Arrow")
- Star Trek films
- As Visual Effects Associate: