Visual Effects Artist

Job Description:

Visual effects (VFX) artists are creative professionals who specialise in creating computer-generated imagery (CGI) and other visual effects for various forms of media, including films, television shows, commercials, video games, and virtual reality experiences

Job Category:
Art & Fashion

What you will do:

Here are the key responsibilities and activities typically associated with the role of visual effects artists:

  • work closely with directors, producers, and other members of the creative team to understand the project’s goals and requirements
  • create 3D digital models of objects, characters, environments, or special effects elements using specialised software
  • apply textures, materials, and shaders to 3D models to make them look realistic or stylised, depending on the project’s artistic direction
  • animate 3D models, characters, or objects to achieve lifelike movements, actions, and interactions within a scene
  • simulate natural phenomena like smoke, fire, water, explosions, and atmospheric effects through particle and fluid dynamics simulations
  • create skeletal systems (rigs) for 3D characters, enabling animators to control their movements realistically
  • set up virtual lighting within a 3D scene to ensure that visual effects elements match the lighting conditions of the live-action footage
  • use rendering software to generate the final images or sequences


You’ll need:

  • to understand the fundamental principles of design, including balance, contrast, alignment, repetition, and proximity (often referred to as the “CRAP” principles)
  • to know colour theory
  • to understand the use of visual elements such as images, illustrations, icons, and graphics in design
  • proficiency in design software such as Adobe Creative Suite (Photoshop, Illustrator, InDesign) or other industry-standard tools for creating and editing visual content
  • to have digital illustration skills

As well as:

  • to possess a high degree of creativity and the ability to generate innovative design concepts and solutions (creative skills)
  • to pay meticulous attention to detail to ensure that designs are pixel-perfect and error-free
  • excellent communication skills to understand client or project requirements
  • problem-solving skills to address design challenges and meet project goals and deadlines
  • to be open to feedback and willing to make revisions based on client or team feedback (adaptability skills)
  • to collaborate with clients, team members, and stakeholders to understand their needs and deliver designs that align with their objectives
Illustration of employee looking at workspace

Entry Requirements:

To become a Visual Effects (VFX) Artist, you’ll typically follow a career path that includes a strong foundation in art and digital media. While specific qualifications are not required, certain subjects and skills from your studies can be valuable in preparing you for this career. Here are some subjects that can be beneficial:

  1. Art and Design: courses in art and design can provide you with fundamental skills in drawing, painting, and other artistic techniques. These courses can help you develop your creativity and artistic abilities, which are essential for VFX work.
  2. Mathematics: Strong math skills are important for understanding the technical aspects of visual effects, including concepts like geometry, physics, and 3D modelling. A solid foundation in math can be especially useful if you’re interested in the technical side of VFX.
  3. Computer Science (Optional): While not mandatory, courses in computer science or information technology can introduce you to programming concepts and computer graphics, which are relevant to VFX work.
  4. Physics (Optional): Physics courses can provide you with insights into the physical principles that govern natural phenomena, which is important when creating realistic visual effects.
  5. Media Studies (Optional): Courses in media studies can help you understand the role of visual effects in film, television, and digital media. It can also provide insights into storytelling and cinematography.
  6. Digital Art (Optional): If your school offers courses in digital art or graphic design, consider taking them to gain experience with digital tools and software commonly used in VFX.

Post School

Higher Education
While not always required, many VFX Artists hold bachelor’s degrees in fields like computer graphics, animation, visual effects, or related disciplines. These programs provide a structured education in digital media and VFX techniques.

Digital Skills
Develop proficiency in industry-standard software used in VFX, such as Adobe After Effects, Autodesk Maya, Nuke, Houdini, and others. You can learn these tools through formal education, online tutorials, or self-study.

Create a Portfolio
Build a portfolio that showcases your best VFX work. Include examples of your visual effects projects, demonstrating your ability to create realistic effects, composite images, and integrate VFX seamlessly into footage.

Internships and Entry-Level Positions
Gain practical experience through internships, entry-level positions, or freelance work at VFX studios or post-production companies. This hands-on experience is crucial for building your skills and industry connections.

Attend industry events, conferences, and online forums to connect with other VFX professionals and potential employers.

Continuing Education
Stay updated with the latest VFX techniques, software updates, and industry trends by attending workshops, webinars, and advanced training programs.

Working Hours and Environment:

Typically you could work 42 to 44 hours a week, occasionally including evenings.

You could work in an office or on site for film productions.

Career Path & Progression:

Some VFX artists move into supervisory roles, such as VFX supervisor or department head, where they oversee the entire VFX process for a project.

For those with extensive experience and creative vision, a career path could lead to becoming a Visual Effects Director, responsible for the overall artistic direction of VFX in a production.