The VFX (visual effects) industry looks for more than an animation education and a decent portfolio. Technical skills learned at school must be added to softer, business-world skills and then combined into a stellar application, portfolio and that showcases individual creativity.
We’re going to look at what some of those technical skills are, but before we do let’s first look at what VFX is exactly.
What is VFX?
VFX uses digital technology to combine Computer Generated Imagery (CGI) with moving images from a camera. It is very a creative industry that produces some of the effects you’ll end up seeing on the big screen in Hollywood’s popular blockbusters. Knowing CGI production techniques also gives you the potential to develop careers in video games, virtual reality (VR), augmented reality (AR), architectural visualization, product design, and in medicine, where anatomical CGI is helping to innovate new treatments.
Whether you’re a current VFX student, graduate, or someone who’s looking to start their education in the field, you'll need to know the industry standard. Here are some of the tips our professional recommend to keep you ahead of the game.
A mentor or teacher with VFX experience is crucial in this industry.
Whether you’re a current VFX student, graduate, or someone who’s looking to start their education in the field, it’s important to know what employers in the in VFX industry A mentor can help you develop a trained eye and technical expertise to gain a deeper appreciation of light and color to make images appear more real. Understanding the history and the specifics of the visual effects industry helps by lending more resources, perspective and substance to your technical ability.
Your technical ability and an eagerness to stay on current industry news and events.
Prior to visual effects education, having the ability to draw and showcasing skills in photography can help with this. Also, the study of biology and physics can also be helpful when nailing down anatomy, mechanics and movement. Advanced study in these subjects is only important for certain VFX roles. The more specialized you are in the type of VFX you want to get in, the more sought-after you will be in your area of expertise. In other words, if you are fascinated with modeling facial expressions, dig into the different types of modeling techniques specifically for the face.
Awareness of contemporary culture is also important to visualize ideas and to stay on top of what is going on in the industry. No one is interested in old news. Keeping a finger on the pulse of trends on pop culture and current events in a variety of industries, such as: film, animation, graphic novels, comics and video games, can provide a background for anyone interested in pursuing a career in VFX.
Ross Thibodeaux is part of the admissions team from the Lafayette chapter at the Academy of Interactive Entertainment. During his leisure time, Ross enjoys movie marathons and family barbecues. He is also an established comic book writer, with writing credits for Mighty Morphin Power Rangers and WWE comics.