Greg Nicotero and Howard Berger receiving a BAFTA award for their make up effects work.

You may not be familiar with the name KNB EFX, but as one of the leading special effects studios in Hollywood and with over 700 feature film and television credits to their name, it’s likely you’ve seen a glimpse of their makeup magic at one point or another. Howard Berger and Greg Nicotero met one another while working on set of the film Day of the Dead in 1984 and continued a working partnership throughout several studios in Hollywood until creating their own in 1988. It’s no surprise that these two talented artists would unite their passion for iconic movie monsters and make their mark by working under some of the most celebrated legends in the industry.

Greg Nicotero began his career in makeup artistry when he met George Romero, his undead counterpart while helping out on set of his film Day of the Dead in Pittsburgh, Pennsylvania. During that time, he met effects legend Tom Savini whom eventually became his makeup mentor and helped him to hone his craft, while providing valuable set experience. Howard Berger began his career similarly, when he met his makeup idol Stan Winston at the tender age of thirteen. Stan took him under his wing and promised him job at his shop if he focused on his education and maintained good grades in school.  By age eighteen, Howard had completed school and Stan kept his promise and hired him to work on set of both Predator and Aliens.

Their dedication to the film industry and movie magic is apparent in some of the most recognizable makeup effects that have graced their resume in the past twenty four years and continues to amaze the masses with their revolutionary techniques and whimsical imagination. Some of their most memorable work can be seen in such films as Sin City, Inglorious Basterds, Casino Royale, The Chronicles of Narnia, Spawn, Transformers, Minority Report, and even television shows like The Walking Dead, X-Files, Deadwood, Breaking Bad and The Pacific.

KNB EFX Group INC co-founder Greg Nicotero on set of The Walking Dead

I was instantly fascinated by the incredible detail and masterful techniques used to create the zombies in The Walking Dead which led me to do some research on the artists behind it all. I also had the pleasure of hearing Howard Berger speak at IMATS last year where he offered a plethora of wisdom about starting out in the industry and the importance of set etiquette. It was fascinating to hear his perspective on the industry and extremely insightful to anyone who wants to have a career in makeup artistry. I urge you to check out their website where you can find out more about their past work and upcoming projects.

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