How to Become a Visual Effects Artist

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As the tastes that govern the entertainment industry changes, so do the growing needs for a talent pool to meet the demands of an audience that wants more bang for their buck, specifically in the area of large scale visual effects driven movies. In today’s market, visual effects have become more the norm than the exception in satisfying the appetite of today’s thrill seeking audiences. So, how do you become a visual effects artist?

Things You'll Need

  • Visual arts background
  • VFX education and training
  • Networking platform
  • Study the visual arts. All artists need training and even in the digital world they use many of the same terms such as light, shadow, volume, depth, weight and balance and can apply them in a craftsman like manner. Many VFX artists understand the basics of photography as well as the ability to tell a story visually.

  • Get your education. In any craft, education is essential and in the VFX field, going to school will give you not only the necessary tools to become competent in your field, but also provide you with a reel of work to shop around once you graduate. There you will learn storyboarding, visual development, imaging and retouching, CGI, rotoscoping, compositing, wire removal, match-moving, scripting, lighting, rigging, rendering and many other necessary skills to become a VFX artist.

  • Intern at a VFX studio. While in school, an excellent way to gain entrée into the professional world is to intern at a VFX house. The chances are, as with many internships, they are unpaid opportunities to learn from the professionals while you gain skills in the academic arena. Fortunately there is a desire to nurture young talent at the cost of free labor and earned school credits so contact your student services counselor to get placed in one of these programs.

  • Network. In any field you want to become acquainted with those who aspire to do the same thing as yourself, so surround yourself with like minded people. Also, there is the VES or Visual Effects Society, (see Resources). On the site you will find membership information, events and a job board or potential employment opportunities.

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