From absolute zero to VFX Junior in 4 months! [Is it possible?]

Hello, everyone! My name is Alex and I’m only starting to learn VFX!

I’m 22 y.o. Russian (Siberian) guy with zero knowledge and skills in VFX.

My last VFX

And my last posts

1) Blackhole
2) Campfire
3) Fireball (Maya and Shader Graph stuff)

You may ask: "Why are u posting here if u can’t do anything ?"

Well, I will tell you.

I’ve been surprised when I found this amazing community. And I was really happy when I found there things about how to start, and I’m really appreciative for this.

But, in my opinion, here is not enough information for different persons, who want to teach themselves from absolute zero. (And this is OK) But people like me are existing and will exist because sometimes that way to VFX is the best of their choices.

My English is not so good...

Sorry for my language. I’m not a native English speaker (mb B1), and I’m only trying to understand that language in all possible ways.

Ok, what’s next?

My first target is - to be a Junior RT VFX artist in 4 months of everyday 8h or more studying and practicing.

My second target is - to describe here all my way into success or failure.

For now, I am only beginning, and I will be posting here every 2-3 days about what I’m doing at the moment, through what resources I’m doing this, and what I already did. (With examples of VFX)

In my expectations, it will be a step-by-step guide:“How to gain basic RT VFX skills (on Unity), with zero pre-requisites"

Why I want to fast and furious rush into VFX?

Because I want to understand this profession ASAP, and in my opinion, ASAP-way is the way, where you are always walking near your team and other VFX professionals. And I want to meet them ASAP on my VFX first work.

About my basic skills

I don’t have basic skills in art, colors, animation, drawing, programming, etc. And I REALLY want to know all of this stuff. But I can’t spend money and months or years (in art\other schools) only for strong knowing or this basic. Only Because I don’t have so much time and money. But for compromise, I will learn it while I will learning all VFX basic\medium stuff.

What useful this story can bring to experienced VFX artists?

  1. Maybe Impact to big curriculum creation. Like dis

  2. Maybe I can be like an experimental person which will use some of the stuff (educational) on himself.

  3. I have one thing, what most of you are lost a long time ago: Fresh and inexperienced view on all RTVFX stuff. Maybe it can help you somehow… I hope…

  4. Maybe you will be feeling yourself better after the moment when you are giving feedback and your thoughts to someone here.

Let’s get started!

After a couple of weeks of internet surfing and a few days practicing, with the help of this (Link on curriculum.Again)

I created own list of knowledge, what I think I need to know to get in the profession.
Knowledge of RT VFX for Junior

A little later my schedule came out!
Small curriculum

I decided to create this list at the beginning of my way to grow with it and see a goal in fine detail

First Experience!

Naturally, planning was impossible without an understanding of elementary things. With what help did I begin to comprehend them?

Regrets about the course

It is unfortunate that @Sirhaian has not yet continued his document. A fully finished course could be truly legendary.

This is my first VFX:



Projectile with Hit


50% speed Hit


Some troubles with my first VFX
  1. I don’t know how to be with my projectiles head. I tried all the Render Alignments settings, but this head is still not in right position. Local Position is the best for now.
    But the top view shows incorrectly.

This is my third VFX:


Full here

Let’s sum up

What am I want from 4 months of self-teaching in short?

After 4 months I must able to do:
  1. List of different basic types of VFX (sorry for my wording):
  • environment, projectiles, body-cast, magic casts, grounds magic effects, etc.

  • fire, water, explosion, electrics, magic, smoke, etc.

  1. Able to do all VFX from zero to the game-ready stage by myself.

  2. Quality of those VFX will match with "Junior RTVFX artist" lvl, or higher.

  3. The speed of my working will match with "Junior RTVFX artist" lvl, or higher.

To move on, I had to create this Knowledge of RT VFX for Junior list of knowledge and a small curriculum, according to which I will move.

A little later, I will lay out a small curriculum of how I plan to develop my skills the first time.

Now I did it
Small curriculum

My progress in this topic

1) Blackhole
2) Campfire
3) Fireball (Maya and Shader Graph stuff)

Please share your feedback about all. It is very important for me and all, who can move that way.


Yah! Go man, go! You’re on your way :^D


Dang it @Keyserito ! You ninja’d me! …and it’s so… Happy! And Hopeful! :stuck_out_tongue_winking_eye:

Yea. Me too man.

Well… it’s not bad. I understand it - so good job!

Alrighty. I answer this posts question in my current observation…


*Anything is possable, but… goodluck. You don’t even know the basics.

In fact… remember that “*” I added… I revoke it. No. No No No. You are not going to do this in 4 months, unless you can grasp the basics. Even then. That means you need to understand all those things you listed, except (sort of kind of) programming, but even that would be helpful. The more you know the better. It seems your focus is on the more stylized look, so it might be a good idea to know a thing or two about UV’s as well. (Do you know anything about 3d stuff?)

I’m going to link to a recent response I made that feels relevant to this. In fairness you’re already far more… socially competent, to be blunt, then this original poster was in this linked post. But the overall idea is the same - LEARN VFX QUICK! NOW!

Are you going to do this in 4 months?


Maybe. But if you pass that deadline - Don’t be surprised. Goodluck and Godspeed.

Also, your name is BOSS ( Which slang for Awesome!). Alex THUNDER! :zap::zap::zap: Yea!


Go go!! We’re here to support you, so don’t be afraid to ask questions! Also, don’t let the tool you’re using get in your way! Unity and Unreal are both very powerful tools, but you don’t need a complex shader network to have successful effects. With such an aggressive timeline be extra aware of any time not going towards awesome output :mage: Keep us posted on your progress!! :star2:


First of all, many thanks for this detailed response. It is a really huge support for me right now!

Then I will do what I can. Because after 4 months, I will need to start working. I’m tired of working for money and survival. But for these 4 months, I can come to idea like: “Work for pleasure” . And if I can imagine that I may not have such a chance in the future, I will try to use it completely.

I completely forgot about this super-post with lots of useful information. Thanks for your link)

Something i want to add here: you really need to attach goals and milestones to track your progress, set on concrete dates. This may take a day to do, but will be SO worth it.

Otherwise, you may wake up one day, and feel so overwhelmed by the scale of your goal, you’ll be tempted to quit. If, instead, you have a monthly, weekly, and daily goal, then you know exactly what you need to do for just that day. And just one day of work is doable! As developers, we sometimes undervalue a good production calendar, because when it’s working well, the day-to-day is actually quite un-dramatic.

Also, you might get a good picture of how many late nights and long weekends you’re in for, which can help with the mental fortitude, and encourage you to surround yourself with a good support network.

In short, what gets planned gets done.


Many thanks :blush: Your words warm me and give me hope for success.

But how to constantly keep the path and not retire to the wilds of soft and tools? To study them only when there is a necessity for them while creating successful effects?

I thought about the importance of having a detailed schedule earlier. And, thank you, after that, I’m sure that the sooner I can approve a strong work schedule, then better.
I will make my first plan (with dates) over the next two days. And then will post it here.

Good luck Alex and know you aren’t alone. Make sure to join the Facebook and Discord channels. I’ve found so much help working with the beautiful guys and gals here. :slight_smile:

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Hello! I am like you but 30 years old) Russian guy too(from Black sea). I wish you good luck! I know you can handle this because you are Siberian. I am now with family and full time job but i really like VFX and i am trying to learn it and your thread is beatiful and really helpful for guys like we. And with the @Keyserito words in this topic all newbies will be very motivated to learn this sphere)) And of course thanks to all guys who make this learning stuff! :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:
After VFX tutorials i got this :sweat_smile:

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Hey Alex! Good luck, you got this! As mentioned above, a good idea is to set smaller goals and plan concrete dates, it will help you feel less overwhelmed.

What usually helps me is deciding on a concrete task, similar to what you would have in a real studio. Not just ‘I want to make fire vfx’, but ‘I will make a burning barrel effect in this style using these references and I will give myself X days to do it’. Even for learning and personal projects setting constrains for yourself helps a lot!

Btw your English is fine and I’m Russian too so feel free to DM me if you need help with anything! I live in the UK now though all thanks to realtime vfx :smiley:


Hey Alex, great first attempt! It’s certainly possible if you put the work in, there’s a lot to learn but if you put in the work and check in here often you’ll have no problem! There are lots of great tutorials around, don’t forget older ones from the likes of imbuefx, the tech might not be the absolute latest stuff but the principles and techniques are a great starting point. If you post here frequently you should get plenty of feedback and advice, good luck! :smile:


Hello! Some news!
I finally started writing my study schedule.
My small curriculum
Briefly available



  • Replication of all (except sketch #2, and tutorial #9(mb later)) Sirhaians tutorials VFX (with own rework)
    P.S. Look at the finished result and do it yourself. If something does not work, go watch the tutorial.
    1-4 =3d
    5,6,7=1d\1.5d on each (or more if very excited about one of these) ~ 4d
    total ~ 7d

  • It seemed to be interesting to try to start my own effects with the effect of fire from here (as advised by an experienced guy 1 and 2)
    total ~ 9d

  • And then I will try to do some cooler and mb bigger fire with smoke (with help of this)
    total ~12(±1)

  • After this, I will another type of fire (mb fireball) with help of this
    total ~15(±2)

  • I don’t know yet what I will do tomorrow

I ask all of you (who is reading this) to give feedback about this because this is the work of a complete newcomer to VFX (from me)
And @Keyserito @ShannonBerke @whtsrnm

I’m also presenting to you my third VFX, made on the basis of

Dis .


Full here


Start small, and remember that everything you learn is a tool in your toolbox.

Get used to the box before trying to think outside of it :wink:

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Because my English is very bad, use the machine

Hey, I am very glad to meet you, I am also a newcomer, from the Asian continent.
But I am younger than you, only 18 years old. Now I am confused about the Unity shader, I hope you can stick to it.
I learned about particle systems and movements and painting earlier.
I hope that you can go all the way.
Let me give you some advice on VFX now.
First lay the foundation for your color matching and particle system, and determine the basic operation, otherwise you will not be able to achieve the goal.
△ Remember that all tools are your friends.
△ Please learn to use most of the plug-in and with the use of tools, if you do not have money can try to crack.
good luck!


Next step

Over these days I rewrote my schedule a little and…
I finished a small campfire task with help of Sirhaian’s Tutorial.
(Not in one try)

First try


Second try


Of course, this is not perfect campfire, but It seems to me that I need to move on to the next effect. (Fireball)

If you think that this campfire is bad in something and it would be nice to modify it…
Or if you know other types of fire that would be cool to try for me (for learning)…
Or if you just want to give feedback for me.

Be sure to write here!
It will be awesome!

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I like the flame man! but the gif quality is making the fx look less good :frowning:. Might worth to check that out.

Also the particle burst would be more fitting when you light the fire, think of when you light the bonfire in dark souls.

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It’s still very difficult getting gooed gif quality, still have the problem myself to

Yea, thank you! I thought my effect maybe was not juiced enough.
Grateful for the confirmation.

But can you give advice about some good ways to do gifs ?
(anyway those will be better than mine)

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You can use licecap :), right now I use that for my gifs

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