General VFX Introduction Questions

Hi everybody! I’m a junior in college who just discovered the world of VFX and wants to learn how to do VFX for both 2D and 3D games similar to LoL, HOTS, HS, Slay the Spire, Darkest Dungeon, etc.

I don’t mean to get too personal on this forum, especially considering the fact I joined two days ago, but coming from an Asian household my parents strongly encouraged me to pursue medicine. As a result I’m a Biology major who has spent the past two years in school already dreading going to work in the future. I found VFX through Jason Keyser, as I’m sure many of the people here have, and it’s the first thing in a long time that’s something I want to pursue for my own career. I’ve been watching videos on the principles of animation, unreal tutorials, adobe animate guides, and I’ve been working on my own 2D art (since I’m unfortunately artistically challenged).

However I feel like I’m getting started way later than every VFX artist, especially if I’m going to try to get an internship or VFX related job out of college. There’s so much to learn and so little time, so I’ve been wondering if it’s even worth it to pursue this as a career or if I should just keep it as a hobby and try to find another passion. Here’s some of my questions/concerns that I hope some people can help me answer:

  1. What kind of skills are most important to focus on as a VFX artist? I realize that VFX artists should be well rounded and be able to solve problems they are thrown when working, but sometimes when I’m working on some 2D animations I feel like I’m wasting time and I should be focusing on UE4 and particle systems. Is UE4 more universal than something like 2D photoshop animations, or are they both equally important?

  2. Through listening to videos and podcasts, such as RTVFX Podcast, it seems like RTVFX is moving away from hand drawn flipbooks to more technical aspects like coding (I’m not sure if I’m saying this right as I myself am not super familiar with what coding entails with VFX). I’ve been learning 2D animations through Keyserito’s tutorials, are those skills still applicable in the VFX industry?

  3. On the same note, because my college doesn’t have a VFX department/class, I’m going to have to teach myself if I’m going to find an internship or try to work in this right after college. Is the VFX Apprentice program, by Keyserito, something worth purchasing?

  4. I’ve heard different things about the saturation of the VFX industry-- some say a job is nigh impossible to come by whereas others say there’s always room for more VFX artists. I completely understand that your reel and skill is what will determine how many opportunities you come by in the industry, but I was wondering if current working VFX artists would describe the job landscape as very competitive or full of openings?

  5. I want so badly to get an internship next year and get some hands on experience in this industry, but is it even feasible to make a reel that would land me an internship in a year or less?

If you made it this far thank you so much for giving me the time of day!! There’s so much ambiguity in these questions, so I understand if many of them don’t get answered. Anything helps and again, thank you so much for your guys help!

Hi, ChipSkylark I hope you are well.
as I see you have the same issues and same question as I had when I was new to this industry! (of course, I am a newbie either)
also, I am from an Asian household too, want me to educate in medicine too!
currently, I am a radio technologist that works in a hospital, but I do love the real-time VFX for games. this is my dream job that I want to get there!
I see you had done some training and watching tutorials so you have started it and that’s good.

Let’s answer your questions:

  1. I see most of the artists here have a decent background in 3D it 2D Softwares like Maya, Blender, 3ds Max, Houdini, Photoshop, Substance Designer, After Effects, and also some of them know very well Blueprints and Unity coding! so don’t be afraid of this list and these names, these Softwares are here to make life easier, but learning one full 3d package software like Houdini or Blender will help you so much in this way. I had a 3D designing background in Blender then I switched to Houdini and now I’m very comfortable with it. so cut to the chase, for beginning you better know these: Photoshop, Blender ( or what 3D package you like).
    practicing 2D animations is very helpful don’t stop it (but it’s not a priority if you want to learn 3D effects.)
    also, I suggest you learn Blender Grease Pencil it’s very powerful.
    and solving problems comes right after creating and inventing things. so don’t worry about it.

  2. 2D effects animations are very special and unique that some artists do it so it doesn’t mean it’s no longer worth it to learn! just know what fits you best!
    don’t waste your time looking at what is in demand most! this is my friendly advice pal. the world needs both 2D effects animators and Technical artists :wink:

  3. There are some excellent programs like Rebelway Stylized and Cinematics also some Chinese website like CGJOY and Magesbox have very good training if you haven’t a problem with it.
    By the way, I am a self-taught artist living in Iran, except one, I have no community native or local friends so I had to communicate to foreign people after I decide to learn real-time VFX. sometimes it’s hard no one will understand what are you doing right!

  4. I think I have pointed to this earlier but again don’t listen to those who said this job is saturated and will no more need employees, everything is up to you! if you are the best they will need you! without a doubt!
    try making personal practice with personal projects then share it here or any community you know to receive feedback! feedbacks are the most important thing to getting better every day. don’t hesitate! I shared and I saw kindness and encouraged to moving on and keep it better. real-time VFX society is small and very kind together.

  5. Unfortunately I don’t know so much about internships because of my limitations. so I hope you could get it, it helps you a lot!

In the end, the real challenge is trying to get the BOSS attention, these little creatures (like me) are just for warming up :joy:. my word is to try to contact great artists! Their words are precious and would better clear the path to you.

sorry for the poor language I hope it will help.

Good Luck ChipSkylark.