Colorblind FX artist

Hello everyone!

I’ve been wanting to get into FX for games for a while now but have been dissuaded by the fact that I’m colorblind. My question is, is it just a waste of time for me to persuade this as a career or are there workarounds?

*To clarify, I’m red green colorblind and have been wanting to do vfx for more realistic games rather than stylized

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Hi @carlsjolander!

Certainly, you might have a difficult time at certain points while working on a VFX project, but don’t get discouraged by that! If that’s something that you’re passionate about, you should definitely go for it.

That’s really kind of you to say! Are there any particular points in the process you are referring to?

I was thinking about possible missunderstandings of color language between you and the client or something along these lines, but I’m sure those problems have a solution, such as perhaps pinpointing some predetermined color palettes, or with the art director lending you a hand with those topics. Yes, color plays a big role on VFX, but also does shapes, timing, values, artstyle, etc.

For realistic games, that usually sticks to “reality”, so you won’t be creating blue lava for example, and thus while creating a lava effect you could colorpick that palette from an image or something like that. Explosions tend to look similar all the time, sparks, smoke, dust, debris, etc…

So yeah, I’d say that you should at least give it a shot, see how it goes. It’s way better than just being afraid of it and then regretting never doing it.

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I’d say don’t let it hold you back. Your perspective is definitely needed in the industry. So many studios are now just barely thinking of this type of stuff when releasing a game. I wish I was able to give you more information. I don’t actually know anyone who has that type of colorblindness in games but i’m sure there is.

There is so much to making vfx though that I think getting your reds and greens correct would be the least of your problems. If you are able to master other parts of making fx like shape, timing, and readability then getting the correct color is something we can figure out. I would also assume a team at a studio would be able to help with too *if you pursue it as a career.

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I’m not really a vfx but I think it’ important that people like you enter the videogame industry and push to make it more accessible. I don’t know if there are already ways to adapt either the monitor/tablet to different types of colorblindness, or maybe the software used to create effects and other art assets, but if you give up learning and becoming a part of this world, it will remain unaccesible. It shouldn’t be that way as tools should aim to be accessible from the start, but alas, that’s the way it is, and I’m sure there are ways, and if not, they can be created.

In any case, don’t let that deter you from trying and succeeding! The industry as a whole needs you and anyone should be able to be a part of it no matter their situation, all of us should strive for that.

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Hey buddy, dont worry :slight_smile: I’m working as a vfx artist for over 2,5 years now and I’ve a hard time with the colours yellow and green.

Gladly almost all the engine use colour codes etc so whenever I dont know if it’s green or yellow
I ask one of my colleaugs too check it and maybe send me the right colourcode :smiley:

So definetely don’t get discouraged, if I can do it you can do it too <3

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The legendary Chris Haga (longtime X-VFX artist blizzard and riot) is color blind. I know he’s on the Facebook group, maybe seek him out and ask how he did it. I recall him telling me he would heavily color pick from other art and work that way.

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Chris also had the help of other artists (ahem) who checked his color. :slight_smile: If you’ve got a friend, or even better, an agreement with your super to backstop your color choices, all should be fine.

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Great to see you around @JulianLove ! :sparkles: Your GDC talk is legendary! Hahahahaha

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Ha! That’s awesome. Probably led to some interesting conversations lol

Honestly, vfx are about a lot of other things besides colors. Timing, shapes, motion! Which are probably more important. If you author your vfx in black & white, then add colors at the end (with the help of someone else maybe), they will probably look better anyway. You can get the brightness levels perfectly right without the colors. So I really wouldn’t worry too much.

Also, not all games make use of the full color range. Mabye you’ll end up woking for a studio that actually prefers the unique way you percieve colors and use them in your effects. It might fit into their art style!

I was actually scared also to say I’m colourblind. So seeing all this replies actually makes me much more
comfortabel with it

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I’m colourblind and it’s never held me back. In fact i think it can be a benefit in some ways - studies have shown that colour blind people are better able to spot people in camouflage. Anecdotally i once worked with another vfx artist for a good month on fire fx and all his critiques of my work were about colour and all of mine of his were about form and motion so i think being unable to focus on colour means you might focus on shapes and movement more. Also colours are just numbers and that’s what colour pickers were invented for :slight_smile:

Its also worth reiterating what Cesar said earlier - once you’re in a studio make it known that you’re colour blind and you’ll be asked to check other peoples work, especially UI, for readability.

Unreal also has a colour vision correction mode:

and you can get special glasses called EnChroma that i use for important colour work (although they’re not the cheapest, but your company might cover them if they think it’s important)

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There never was any drama. He was great and just needed some support from time to time on fine tuning colors. But then, so have others who weren’t color blind. :slight_smile: It was honestly no big deal. Having it out there in the open and having agreed to deal with it made it so. In fact, it was more often a benefit as Chris was the first person to point out when we had colorblind conflicts in the game. From that perspective, his colorblindness was an asset to the entire project.

Which is why I would encourage those with color blindness not to be put off.

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I would argue the industry needs VFX artists like yourself. There are unfortunately far too many of us who rely on color to convey information or don’t consider the accessibility implications of our color choices. I’ve been trying to consciously improve in this area personally, but to have more voices like yours in stand ups and feedback sessions and conversations with art directors would be invaluable.

If this is something you want to do for a career, charge full speed at it. Make art in the color pallets and spectrums that work for you, and pass that information along for the rest of us so we can level up and do better on the games we work on for the people who play our games.

We shouldn’t lean on some engine setting or switch to solve these problems.

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I just wanted to post a big thank you to everyone who has answered this with so much support, advice, and incredible insight! I will do my best and hopefully this tread will guide others with the same question/insecurity as I had!

Cheers everyone!

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@carlsjolander, maybe you just need this type of glasses ?

I wish you all the best man!

Correct me if I’m wrong here, but from what I know these glasses do not make you visualize the “real” colors, they just boost or lower some of the values of the spectrum to compensate for the lack or excess of receptors in your eyes, right? In that case, they might help to a degree, but I don’t feel like those would be a “cure” or a definitive solution of some sort.

i have a pair and they’re good but not life changing - they push the waveslengths of light away from the part that you struggle with - so reds become more red or greens more green depending on your type of colourblindness.

so basically you get more definition in the colours you struggle with at the cost of some of the spectrum, but thats the part you can’t see anyway.

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