I’m a student (game design, 3rd year) trying to break into VFX for games.
I was wondering if you guys had any tips for networking (at events or online).
Should I try to do volunteer/online work or should I just work on portfolio pieces? Should I start up a tutorial channel on YT?
I’ve been toying around with Unreal, Houdini, and After Effects. Are technical or artistic skills more highly valued? I’m going for more realistic stuff rather than painted so I’m wondering if I should sell myself as a technical VFX artist.
Where do I start? Everyone else is going in a generic “game design” direction and I’m getting a lot of trouble from staff and other students for wanting to do VFX. All my school wants to set people up with are unity dev positions so I’m going to have to work on my own, outside of the framework (which means coldcalling, ect).
Build cool effects, show them off here, get coldcalled. Seriously. There’s a huge demand for VFX artists at the moment so if you can show that you are really good, people will be reaching out to you instead.
Show that you have an eye for timing, composition and know how to tie it all together and really finish a piece with all the bells and whistles and you are head and shoulders above most others. A technical effect that you give up on halfway won’t help you as much.
When you feel that you’re on a proper quality I’d recommend to start posting your work online/ArtStation. It’s not that much vfx on artstation so it’s quite easy to stand out if you put out proper quality, that way you’ll most likely get freelance offers/job offers after a while. Just don’t expect to get something at once, just keep posting fairly often and you’ll get more recognized.
Like @Partikel already said. If you just keep building cool effects you will get offers automatically. Just set up your homepage or Artstation with some of your work, or a showreel. Create a linked.in profile, which states you are a visual effects artist. And recruiters will definitely send you offers. Google your favourite studios and you will see that most of them are searching for VFX artists regularly
Oh boy. I’m gett’n 'nam flashbacks over here. Though it was less a “fight” and more a “there is too much to teach” from my school, but I digress.
I am interpreting “generic ‘game design’ direction” as the school teaching generalist skills. That means things like 3d Modeling, Animation, and how to use an engine such as Unity or Unreal. Or, maybe I’m wrong, and it’s more theory. Design and Concepting. Learning how to talk to the player with out expressly telling with words.
Whatever it may be, here is something I would have liked to have known when I was in school; you are learning VFX. I know, shocking right. How can this be VFX? Nothing is blowing up!
Every. Single. One… of those skills is useful to have, some more indirectly than directly. You literally can’t know too much. So where do you start? That’s a question of the ages right there. In a way, you have already have. You’ve posted here. At this point there is three… almost four years worth of VFX banter archived here. I didn’t have this when I was in school… blah blah blah, get off my lawn.
I’m sure you’ll find something to break with the know how exhibited here. Just… focus on your studies first. If you don’t have a solid basics foundation, you’re going to hurt yourself. Pacing is a thing.
Everything you mentioned (“Unreal, Houdini, and After Effects”) is very much worth knowing, and I’m probably understating that. But unless you are learning these at your school, I must warn to be careful to not overbear yourself with extra work, especially with Houdini. Houdini alone is at least a semesters worth of stuff if you’re coming in straight new to it.
With that said, here is my suggestion on what you can focus on while you are in school, that more and more is a universal VFX thing to know. Learn shaders. If you can code, that would be best, but if you can do it with nodes, that’s great too. As far as I know, generally, no one cares how; Can you make or not?
It’s a results profession. Studios may very. Batteries not included.
I’m going to direct you to this thread, as I feel it will be helpful. It’s something you wouldn’t know to look for unless you already knew to look for it. A sort of Isla de Muerta post.
It’s going to be a tough decision to choose what I want to sell myself as right now with the 11th hour coming up.
I might have mostly VFX with one or two procedural Houdini pieces shoved in there for good measure. Hopefully things turn out well. I’m going to be accosting the discord as well for critique just for my stuff to be as tight as possible.
As for what @Mez was asking, yes we get taught a helluva lot of general stuff. Nothing nearly enough to get a nice job, but learning everything on your own is the fun of it! I’m definitely sticking around and casing the place for any info I can find.