How long does it take to create an entry-level demo reel

Hi there, I’m just starting studying how to do real time VFX and I have a few questions. Mostly on tech aspects and the time it would take me to get to an entry-level reel.

My plan is to take the online courses I can find in Udemy and Skillshare to get acquainted to the engines. Going to spend around a month doing this exercises full-time and researching with some of the Youtube channels available.

After I get to a certain level of foundation knowledge, how many hours do you think I should plan to spend in a very entry-level demo? I know this is relative but I need to get an idea of time frame. Think about like a student reel.

Or in your experience, how did it take you to have your own real-time VFX outside a tutorial?

Also, should I focus on Unreal or Unity? Or should it be both? In case it’s Unity, can I do it with the personal free one? or do I need a Pro license?

Thank you in advance!

Udemy has some courses that will show you a few steps about VFX.
Remember that, VFX is not only making explosions, environmental effects, etc. It’s all about achieving the best-looking effect with good performance, otherwise, your stuff might cause the bottleneck for the project.

IMO you should try to create a base game with BP. Something like an endless runner to get familiar with the blueprints or that tool from the unity (I don’t remember the name), practice stuff with a sequencer, etc.
After that you should have a base for starting to learn visual effects, and some basic tutorials about color rules, curves, and principles of animation to understand what you should really focus on.

How many hours? A lot, you should spend your all free time on it, you should show your self-motivation. There’s not a rule about the entry-level demo. You have to present something which helps you to shine between the other candidates.

How does it take to create a VFX outside a tutorial? Depends of… You can really create a good polished hit impact in one day. But sometimes you would like to create something more complex so it would take you a huge amount of time.

I’ve started applying for the VFX Artist after 1 year and 3-5 months of working in the unreal engine. I found my first job after 1.5 years.

Feel free to start working with the engine that you will like. Imo Unreal Engine is the more advanced engine - without knowing the code language, you’re able to create some custom logic and mechanics for VFX. Temporarily I am working as a VFX Artist in unity atm, and it was very easy for me to warm up right there after swapping from the unreal engine.

GL in your learning progress. Imo it’s not the best time for the juniors. Covid made a huge mess in our industry.