A Career In VFX: What Jobs Can You Get?

Have you ever sat through the credits for the post-credit scene in any of the Marvel movies? Did you notice when a literal wall of names covered the entire screen? All of them were VFX artists. It is not one team but teams of teams coming together to create the visual effects needed in a single movie.

Dive deeper into them, and you’ll notice not just FX artists, but 3D modelers, CG artists, and more. The visual effects industry includes a whole alphabet soup of jobs. So, if you’re thinking of building a career in VFX, this post will help you understand them better.

 

What is VFX?

VFX or visual effects, manipulate images to generate a specific effect. If you’ve seen Baahubali then the bullfight shot in the movie was all VFX. Or if you’ve watched Dr Strange, then the portals used in the film were also VFX.

Visual effects are not limited to movies in India. These computer-generated effects are now used everywhere. Switch on the TV, and you’ll probably watch an ad, or show with hidden VFX in it. Video games are another industry that relies on them heavily.

 

Jobs available in the VFX industry

There are a variety of jobs you can choose from in this sector, from lighting artists to modelers, from layout artists to compositors. Since we’ve already talked about the top 6 careers in VFX before, here we keep the focus on other roles.

However, keep in mind that irrespective of which part of the VFX pipeline you pick, you will still need a certificate from the best VFX institute to jumpstart your career. 

1.       Previsualization Artists

Better known as previz artists, this VFX job focuses on elements like shot timing and camera animation. The skills needed for this role are generalist. From composting to modelling to editing, you would need to know everything that falls within visual effects.

2.       Concept Artist

The job of a concept artist is to turn a brief into an artwork. Called concept art, it becomes the guideline for the rest of the team to do their work. Typically, it is a 2D image, but concept artists still need to know 3D software like ZBrush or Maya with a solid grasp of colour, lighting and image composition.

3.       Texture Artist

The job of a texture artist is to make the final render look good. They do so by applying shaders to the model. Since modelling and texturing are linked, VFX studios often combine the jobs. For instance, the same character artist may be asked to create the model and textures of a character.

4.       Rigging Artist

Rigging artists take care of the technical aspects. They take a model and then build the skeleton of it. This VX job requires knowledge of how a character or object moves. Only then can a rigging artist make the skeleton believable.

5.       Rendering Artist

Renderers are also part of the technical side of VFX. They compute everything to ensure that the final rendering looks and acts the way it should. If the rendering doesn’t give the expected results, the rendering artist has to troubleshoot it.

6.       Roto Artist

Roto artists create the mattes that compositors work with, which is why most compositors begin as roto artists. The skills necessary to build a career as a roto artist are composition, colour and photography.

7.       Matchmoving Artist

Matchmoving artists work in both 2D and 3D. They help lay the computer-generated elements on top of the live action plate. They also make sure everything lines up correctly.

8.       Matte Painter

A matte painter takes the work of the concept artist and transforms it into a photorealistic environment that acts as the backdrop of the scene being shot. Matte painting includes compositing, image manipulation, digital painting and more.

9.       FX Artist

Explosions, portals, smoke, clouds, water, dust, fire – designing and creating these effects are the job of an FX artist. These artists work together with lighting and rendering artists to ensure that even the shadows and reflections in a frame look right.

Within the VFX umbrella come plenty of other positions. Like a VFX editor who is the go-to person between the film production team and the VFX studio. There are VFX supervisors who oversee the entire visual effects team and VFX Producers who stay on set, manage shots and answer any questions posed by the production team.

Similarly, CG supervisors are responsible for the entire CG team, and CG producers take care of all the 3D elements while a movie, TV or show is being shot. For a more in-depth picture of the different teams that make up VFX, go to this page. It describes in detail all the roles and jobs in visual effects.

 

What skills do you need to build a career in VFX?

The world of VFX requires a mix of technical and artistic skills. For the latter, you should have a sound understanding of the 12 principles of animation. For the former, you need to excel at:

  • Nuke
  • Maya
  • 3Ds Max
  • Houdini
  • Prototyping
  • Photoshop
  • After Effects
  • Arnold Renderer
  • Adobe Premiere Pro CC

These are not the only tools you must know to be a visual effects artist. But they are a good start. The smart choice is to rely on the best VFX institute in Kolkata to teach you all the essential skills and software. 

Like any other field, VFX also demands some personality traits like creativity, attention to detail and great visual awareness. This is necessary because all the roles in visual effects are interdependent and demand a lot of collaboration.

 

How much do VFX artists earn?

The salary of VFX artists varies based on numerous factors. First, what is your skill level? Second, how much experience do you have? Third, what part of the VFX pipeline do you specialise in? But freshers, who have just completed a course from one of the best VFX institutes, can earn between INR 15000 to INR 20000 per month.

As you gain experience, the salary jumps, reaching a couple of lakhs per month. Because the demand in the VFX industry is so high, you don’t have to look for a full-time job. You can take on freelance projects. Freelancers get paid a bit more, but they do lack the stability of permanent employment.

 

Get started on your career in VFX

Landing a VFX job is not hard. There are plenty of opportunities out there. That said, there are two golden rules you must follow. One, you need to have a VFX course certification. Two, you must have an outstanding demo reel that shows off what part of VFX you are good at. Doesn’t matter if it’s rotoscoping, rigging, or animation. The key is to flaunt it in the showreel.

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