Finally, you have decided to become a VFX Artist and get into the visual effects industry, but you don’t know-how? and you have a lot of questions that you get multiple answers, or you found yourself not satisfied with those answers, or you really don’t know which one to go with. Well, we will go through a bit of this and try to help you out in making a perfect decision.

Before we get into deep, we would suggest you understand The Process of film making. Because it’s very important to understand the whole process of any industry before putting your first feet into it.

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Why would you want to become a VFX Artist?

Image source | Google images

If you already have understood what is Visual Effects and The Process of film making then without any delay asks yourself, why would you want to become a VFX Artist? If you have answers like: it’s a career that involves the perfect blend of storytelling, creativity, and the latest technology. It could also be because you love movies, cartoons and, Or maybe it’s because you love drawing and building beautiful things with your hands and on the computer. There are multiple reasons why you would want to work in Visual Effects, and there are multiple possible career routes open to you across the world.

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All Departments and Key Roles for a VFX Artist

VFX departments - waytovfx
Image source | Google images

The process of making visual effects is very lengthy, challenging, as well as very technical. Large and diverse teams work together, as a result, there are unlimited career opportunities for all types of people ranging from VFX Artist through to non-artists who like to develop software or managing the teams. 

In the first place of learning visual effects, we should have some basic knowledge about 2D and 3D, as it’s an equally important dimension of the process because based on that also you can plan your area of focus. However, we can move further without knowing it.

I have posted some of the most common creative and technical roles with examples below to help you better understand. Let’s have a look.

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Departments in Pre Production

Storyboarding

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Storyboard is a visual representation of a film sequence or shots. It is a series of ordered sketches or illustrations with camera direction, dialogue, or other pertinent details with accompanying notes. It’s a draft of how a video will unfold, shot by shot, and the production team uses these sketches to ensure that the story remains engaging and free of inconsistencies before they start making the film.

Storyboard - waytovfx
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Pre-Vis Or Previsualization

Pre-Vis is the process of devising a film’s visual plan that addresses the director’s imagination before the production stage. it helps the Director, Director of Photography, VFX supervisors, and even the Editor understands the camera direction as well as shot compositions. Pre-Vis growing more popular nowadays and it takes storyboarding a step further as a result this saves time and money on a set.

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Art Department

Art-Department-Featured
Photo by Deborah Coleman / Pixar

Art Department is in charge of translating a director’s vision and a script into visuals. Here, a team of artists creates the look and feel of a film by drawing characters, costumes, lighting,  props, and color. This can be shared with the team to truly understand the creative and technical challenges that lay ahead. These concept artists and illustrators create everything from storyboards to photorealistic artworks that show what the finished shot will look like.

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Research and Development

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RnD team is responsible for building new tools to accomplish the tasks that can’t be done or, are simply too time-consuming for artists to manually complete repeatedly. For instance, if a film needs explosions that come from a very specific type of source, like a burning city, the VFX artists and technical directors study videos and photos to see how the fire and smoke behaves. They then create tools within the software to efficiently work on the shots whenever needed. The role requires a very strong background in computer science and a passion for problem-solving.

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Departments in Post production

Production

Storytelling - waytovfx
Photo by: Deborah Coleman / Pixar. ©2014 Disney•Pixar.

The top production role at a studio is the VFX Producer who works closely with the VFX supervisor to manage the entire process. Producer manages budgets and required resources also making sure the project is delivered on schedule. There are also a number of roles for people who prefer managing teams and schedules. The common roles include Production Manager and Production coordinator which supports the Producer by liaising with VFX Artist, reporting issues, and generally tracking progress and making sure everything stays on track.

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3D

Matchmove

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Matchmove or Motion tracking is one of the most important steps in the VFX industry. Without which there is no other way to integrate 3D assets into live-action footages. Matchmove is required to make digital assets move with live-action footage. So the digital assets look as they are completely natural, and move accurately with the same angles as the live footage during render. and to make it possible, VFX Artist use the live-action footage and create a virtual camera for all other departments.

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Asset Department

Virtual assets are essential in visual effects to create objects that don’t exist or are too expensive to build in the real world. So this is the department where building a Model ranging from Texturing, Rigging, Animation, Lighting, and Rendering takes place.

To know more in detail about the individual processes, please click the links below (In Progress).

  • Modeling & Texturing
  • Rigging and Animation
  • FX Simulation
  • Lighting and Rendering
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2D

Matte paint

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Matte painting is a single image of a landscape or a set created using digital or traditional painting techniques, and which representation of an environment or scene that would be impossible for filmmakers to create, or not even ever exists on the planet or far from the filming location and nor available in real life.

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Rotoscoping

Rotoscoping is, in essence, a technique that goes back to the early days of cinema. Rotoscoping is used to create a matte or mask for an element so it can be extracted and place on a different background. Those masks can be used in changing colors or positions or any other requirement. The rotoscoping artist generally uses some software or tools to trace an object position automatically to create an alpha channel, and sometimes they have to do it manually.

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Paint-Prep/BG Clean-Up

VFX paint is the process of magic ranging from removing wires, rigs, reflection, beauty cleanup, markers, crew, set lights, or any other unwanted objects through to recreating characters. A paint artist makes the most use of compositing tricks to remove the unwanted objects, or sometimes they have to work frame by frame if the shot has crazy recreations works.

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Compositing

Compositing is the final step of the VFX pipeline. The process of composting is basically layering of all the various elements in a shot like, live-action, mattes, multiple CG passes, 3D lighting, animation, particle effects – and blending them all seamlessly to create the photo-realistic final shot. A Compositor integrates all various elements with each other in a way, that makes them appear to naturally belong in the same space.

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A VFX studio has many positions and departments. Now you can choose one of the departments and learn VFX software accordingly. Now it will be very easy for you to choose the department and the best software according to your interest. learn further here about Skills & Qualification required to become a VFX artist and  what is the best VFX software to become a VFX Artist, read our upcoming blog Best VFX Software’s.

About the Author

Arun Sharma

Founder & Editor

I am a VFX Artist and have been working in the VFX industry since 2010. Most recently, I have worked in 1917 and The Lion King movies. The artistic drive and the technical challenges of an artist are a perfect fit for me. I love expanding my knowledge as well as helping other colleagues.

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