LOS ANGELES - Tasha Carlson remembers opening a VHS copy of "Titanic" as a little girl one Christmas morning.
"I watched it until the tape wore out," said Carlson, a 2008 Panama High School graduate.
Little did she know that one day she would help give James Cameron's blockbuster film a 3-D makeover.
Tasha Carlson, a 2008 Panama High School graduate, now lives in Los Angeles, where she recently completed work on the 3-D version of “Titanic.”
Now living in Los Angeles, Carlson's career led her to the film that meant so much to her growing up.
She studied computer animation at Full Sail University in Winter Park, Fla., graduating last year. Forty-one of the university's graduates worked on 10 of this year's Oscar-winning films.
Carlson, who focused on shading and lighting at Full Sail, used her degree to land a job at Stereo D, a digital stereoscopic effects company. She has been with Stereo D, part of Deluxe Entertainment Services, for nine months, working on 2-D/3-D conversion. The company has done work on "Avatar," "Jackass 3D," "Thor," "Gulliver's Travels" and several other films.
"It's a pretty awesome opportunity," Carlson said of working for Stereo D. "It's great to have 'Titanic' on my resume."
Near the end of the conversion process, Carlson and 300 others worked on "Titanic" 10-14 hours a day, seven days a week at times.
Their hard work paid off 100 years after the Titanic met its icy grave. The film grossed an estimated $61.2 million worldwide on its opening weekend, according to an msnbc.com report.
"I think there really is a really big market for 3-D films right now," Carlson said. "Especially with 'Titanic,' it just makes it a more enjoyable experience for a film that was already as enjoyable as 'Titanic' was."
The original film earned more than $1.8 billion at the box office, the second-highest all time for any film. Cameron's "Avatar" holds the top spot.
Overall, her first real-world job has provided Carlson with a good experience. She felt "overwhelmed in a good way" when Stereo D hired her and hasn't looked back since.
Carlson plans to continue in the 2-D/3-D conversion field for now. She would ultimately like to work as a shading and lighting artist for a company such as Disney or Pixar.
The Ashville native who once wore out the family VCR with "Titanic" doesn't plan to leave Los Angeles anytime soon.
"I think I'd like to stay out here, probably forever," Carlson said. "Everything you want is out here. You've just got to go for it."