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M'sian VFX Artist Who Learned Her Skills From YouTube Now Nominated For Prestigious Award

Aina Mariah taught herself special effects video editing during lockdown!

Cover image via Aina Mariah (Instagram)

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Aina Mariah has been making waves across social media with her innovative and mind-bending videos using visual effects (VFX)

The 30-year-old Shah Alam native has raked in millions of views for her one-of-a-kind videos that set her apart from other creators.

Working as a full-time video editor at SAYS Seismik, Aina has been creating movie magic behind-the-scenes for many years.

But now, she's stepping out to claim her spot in the limelight as a creator in her own right, and headlines her own series called #AinaTricks. In this series, she focuses on three themes: transitions, illusions, and special effects. 

Watch how she brings it all together with a before and after look at one of her most popular VFX videos featuring Sofyank:

What's incredible about Aina's journey into VFX is that she is completely self-taught

During lockdowns in 2021, while the rest of us learned how to bake bread, make Dalgona coffee, and grow houseplants, Aina dived into YouTube tutorials to teach herself how to create visual effects through trial and error.

"I came across visual effects as one of the trends in social media. Decided to try it and posted it on my social platforms, and I experienced a significant increase in views," Aina explains in an exclusive interview with SAYS.

"This realisation opened my eyes to the scarcity of VFX content within Malaysia's content creation landscape, and the lack of female representation in the local VFX community," she adds.

Since then, Aina's art has grown leaps and bounds, thanks to her breakout video where she literally leaps and bounds like Spider-Man

With 3.4 million views on TikTok alone, her Spider-Man video garnered international attention, catapulting Aina into the limelight as a VFX star.

Watch the video that skyrocketed her career:

@ainamariah Boleh masuk audition Spider-Man tak? #vfx #insta360 #insta360x3 Bang Bang - K'NAAN

In just three short years, Aina has managed to build her brand and become the female face of special effects content in Malaysia.

From collaborating with celebrities, influencers, and other VFX leaders in the industry, to getting invited to speak publicly at events such as the eUsahawan & Gig Fest under MDEC, Aina has built a strong following and generated an income from her passion.

Aina and digital minister Gobind Singh Deo at the eUsahawan & Gig Fest.

Image via Aina Mariah (Provided to SAYS)

Working with a slew of different brands, Aina often creates sponsored content for clients that are not only great ways to advertise products and services, but also entertaining for her audience to watch.

Check out how Aina creates branded content:

Her latest video, a unique take on the viral Alamak Raya Lagi! trend, has racked up 3.3 million views on Instagram!

But being a self-taught VFX specialist comes with its own set of struggles as Aina relies heavily on online tutorials to learn her trade

"Sometimes, I find myself spending more time editing the video than necessary. It can be frustrating when things don't turn out as expected, but I see it as a way to learn and get better through mistakes," she shares.

Aina collabs on a VFX video with TikTok Award nominee Aunty Purple.

Image via Aina Mariah (Provided to SAYS)

Aina breaks down her strategy for those interested in following her footsteps:

- Find your niche and be unique to create a brand image that sets you apart from others. This helps in distinguishing yourself among other creators.

- Post your work online to showcase your capabilities. If you don't share your content, people will not be aware of your skills and talents.

- Collaborate with local influencers on passion projects to increase your exposure. Additionally, also network with other online creators in your field to build connections through feedback and interactions (comment on their posts and slide into their DMs).

"To develop your unique style, begin creating videos based on your inspirations and video references.

"By consistently following what inspires you, you will gradually discover and cultivate your distinctive signature," Aina advises.

Aina and Sofyank reviewing video footage together.

Image via Aina Mariah (Provided to SAYS)

Now, Aina has been nominated for the Rising Star award at the d Awards 2024

Image via d Awards

Organised by the Malaysian Digital Association, the d Awards recognises and honours the talents, agencies, brands, publishers, and digital service providers that embrace and pioneer the use of digital technologies.

You can vote for Aina to take home the Rising Star award here!

Can't get enough of Aina's work? Follow her on Instagram and TikTok.

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