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VFX Artist Duties and Responsibilities

No two VFX artists are exactly alike, as specific skills vary from employer to employer. However, after analyzing online job postings, we identified several core duties and responsibilities common to the job:

Create Motion Graphics and Animations Using software, VFX artists create visually engaging motion graphics and animations. This sometimes involves working with two- or three-dimensional models. The animations and graphics they create are stylistically consistent and enhance the visual style of their work.

Create Visual Effects VFX artists create realistic visual effects using particles, animation, sprites, materials, and more.

Operate Camera, Lights, and Microphone VFX artists operate cameras, work with lighting, and use microphones to shoot videos and record audio.

Collaborate with Engineers and Designers Working within a team, VFX artists collaborate with engineers, designers, and team leads to create visual assets.

Ensure Projects Stay Within Budget Keeping finances in mind, VFX artists ensure that their work operates at, or under, their company's budget. They look for alternatives when their work is expected to go over budget.


VFX Artist Skills and Qualifications

VFX artists have a proven ability to create visual effects, and they have an eye for visuals and art. Employers usually prefer VFX artists to have a degree in graphic arts or a similar field, as well as one to three years of relevant experience. In addition, the following skills and qualifications are essential to the job:
  • Animation experience - VFX artists have an eye for engaging visuals, and they have experience creating high-quality images. They understand motion, animation, scaling, and timing
  • Video production - VFX artists understand the technical aspects of video production, such as staging, sound, and lighting
  • Computer proficiency - VFX artists are comfortable using computer tools and software to create visual effects or to enhance their work
  • Communication skills - working with other team members requires strong communication and collaboration skills. VFX artists discuss needs for projects and work with others to ensure goals are met and that the final product is satisfactory
  • Time management - VFX artists juggle deadlines and projects. Their time management skills help them maintain a clear and consistent schedule

VFX Artist Education and Training

Although there are no minimum educational requirements for this position, most VFX artists have an associate's or bachelor's degree in visual design, animation, or art. They are familiar with animation software and art fundamentals, such as color theory, visual design, and composition. Employers prefer those with an impressive portfolio and one to three years of experience.

VFX Artist Salary and Outlook

The average yearly salary for VFX artists, categorized by the Bureau of Labor Statistics as multimedia artists and animators, is $70,000. The lowest 10 percent of VFX artists earn less than $39,000; the highest 10 percent make over $123,000. This profession is expected to grow 8 percent within the next 10 years, which is the average for all occupations. As demand increases for video games, movies, and television series, there will also be a growing demand for VFX artists.

Helpful Resources

Do you want to learn more about being a VFX artist? We've gathered some helpful resources to get you started:

Story Structure and Development - Craig Caldwell outlines the essentials to a story, such as fundamental principles and structures for animators, designers, and artists, and universal patterns for stories and narratives. The book explains how these essential principles can be incorporated into to one's work

Adobe Photoshop for VFX Artists - VFX artists frequently use Adobe Photoshop in their work. Author Loopsie Schwartz guides readers through using Photoshop to create three-dimensional images by creating textures and background paintings

The Art of VFX - this blog offers industry news for VFX artists. It contains interviews with

visual effects artists who worked on major films and features trailers full of engaging visuals from video games and movies

Motionographer - serving as an inspiration to artists and designers, this blog features motion animation work from designers, freelancers, and students. It also contains a variety of stories and commentary from artists on issues and topics in the industry

CG Channel - bringing together entertainment artists, this blog features artist profiles, reviews, and production coverage. Helpful articles guide readers through processes such as landing a job in the industry, creating three-dimensional VFX, and sculpting believable animation

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