(written from a Production point of view)
Craig L. Barron (born 6 April 1961; age 58) is a motion picture visual effects (VFX) specialist who has contributed to five Star Trek feature films. As a member of Industrial Light & Magic's (ILM) matte department, Barron worked as a matte photographer on Star Trek II: The Wrath of Khan, Star Trek III: The Search for Spock, and Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home.
After founding his own Matte World company in 1988, Barron has, as its VFX supervisor, in this capacity subsequently contributed to two more Star Trek films, Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country and Star Trek: First Contact.
While employed at ILM – which he had joined at the age of 18 in 1979, at the time the youngest employee at that company – he, besides the Star Trek productions, had also worked on such films as Star Wars: Episode V – The Empire Strikes Back, Raiders of the Lost Ark, E.T. the Extra-Terrestrial, Poltergeist, The Goonies, Cocoon, The Witches of Eastwick, and Willow.
After eight years with ILM, Barron co-founded in 1988 a VFX company, with Krystyna Demkowicz and ILM colleague Michael Pangrazio, called Matte World (renamed Matte World Digital in 1992) where he held the title of Visual Effects Supervisor. The first film Barron worked on in his own company was Martin Scorsese's The Last Temptation of Christ in 1989. Subsequent films include Gremlins 2: The New Batch, Robin Hood: Prince of Thieves, Dracula, Demolition Man, Clear and Present Danger, Casino, Independence Day, Con Air, Titanic 1997, alongside several other former Star Trek VFX staffers ), The Truman Show, Armageddon, X-Men, The Mummy Returns, The Ring, The Last Samurai, and Zodiac.
In 1993, Barron earned an Academy Award nomination for his work on Batman Returns. He shared the nomination with the film's Visual Effects Supervisor, Mike Fink, and the Visual Effects Supervisor of Boss Film Studios, John Bruno. In 2009, Barron won an Academy Award for his visual effects work on Paramount Pictures' The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which he shared with Burt Dalton.
In August 2012, Barron was forced to close down his company, being sole CEO of by then, due to increased overseas competition.
Together with free-lance author Mark Cotta Vaz, Barron has co-authored the 2002 reference book, The Invisible Art: The Legends of Movie Matte Painting, which chronicles the history of matte painting.