Is my career over?


#1

Hey everyone!
I’m rather new here but for this topics sake I’m using a different account.

I’m going to drop the short version first:
I’ve been in the games industry since 2008 where 3 of those years were about VFX.
I joined current employer 4 years ago and haven’t been able to do VFX at all.
I have a problem with relocating fully and would like to know if you think studios accept VFX artists to work remotely and spending every other / 3rd week in office? Because I really want to keep working with this but I am given no chance at it and this is the only games related work thats close enough to drive to.

Long version:
I have pretty big problem right now and I am really unsure on how to proceed in my career and life and I would love to hear if anyone else have had these problems or might sit on a solution or part of a solution.

I’ve been in the industry since 2008 and I’ve worked on 5 titles, 4 of them released. 3 of them AAA class.
I’ve worked with environments for 3 years and then Vfx for 3 years.
Here’s my problem: That was almost 4 years ago. I’ve been doing only basic modeling and tutoring the last 4 years.
When I joined current company 4 years ago I thought I would be given the chance to learn more about VFX but that hasn’t been the case. And most likely won’t be in the coming 2-5 years and I really want to learn more about VFX and the tools used. And I don’t think I can wait much longer.

Why don’t I just get a new job and move there? Well, I am married with 2 kids and relocating isn’t as easy as it used to be. Its not impossible, but I really want to ask around first.

Do you think that any studio would accept a VFX artist to work remotly and being in office every other / every 3rd week?(There are studios half a days travel away) It’s a very social role and it requirea a lot of cross-disciplin communications, yes. But is there a chance? Or is my only option to relocate if I want to save my career?

Please let me know what you think of this. Be as hars as you like, any advice or idea is greatly appreciated!


#2

i mean it’s definitely possible to work remotely - I live in england and currently work freelance for a company in america, but if you want to freelance in games VFX and you don’t have any experience from the last 3-4 years then you might struggle to find work.

that said experienced VFX artists are very in demand right now so since you have experience already if you spend some time updating your portfolio you might be fine. There’s a few studios moving to more of a remote working setup too - Slightly Mad comes to mind and also Moon Studios (the Ori and the Blind Forest guys) so there’s definitely ways of finding work without having to move.

tldr: its definitely possible to do remote work but might not be easy.


#3

Agreeing with Harle here. I live in Sweden and currently work with studios in Canada, USA, Sweden and recently Vietnam. Remote work is absolutely a possibility, but you are going to have to work hard for it. An onsite position is easier in most ways.

Slightly Mad contacted me some time ago about a 2 year remote contract as that studio is built for remote workers, from the ground up. Then there are regular studios that consider bringing in a remote worker. But to make that happen, you need to build your brand. It’s on you to convince them why they should hire you remotely instead of hiring a student onsite.

Unless you have a full studio set up, like Beyond-FX or FXVille, don’t expect to get in on the really big jobs remotely. There are just too many security/confidentiality concerns to make it viable for the top tier games to hire individual remote workers.

It’s a double edged sword. A lot of studios really want VFX artists which means there is a good amount of demand compared to available artists. However, VFX usually means that you need full access to the editor, engine and everything to be effective. That makes it a tougher pill to swallow when compared to a remote character artist who delivers a fbx and calls it a day.

Also, I don’t understand what you mean by “given the chance to learn”. It’s there, take it. Learn!


#4

Coming from the hiring side, I’m a studio AD looking for VFX talent… I’d say there’s definitely a shortage of skilled VFX people out there, I’ve found it really difficult to source people with experience for both remote and full-time working. To the point where we are considering taking on super junior guys and training them up, talking with others there’s a real need for those that have experience in the industry.

Don’t lose hope, if VFX is your passion, get it out there and known about with local and remote studios - most have speculative application routes. Good luck!


#5

Thank you for your replies! Very good info and useful info.

It’s really good to hear that remote working is a possibility even if seems to be a hard nut to crack. I’m most likely not aware of how hard just yet so I think taking it step by step would be a good start. Like, getting a reel done.

@Partikel, really good insights on the issue with borrowing engines and sending data as a lone person. I can totally see why a big company would feel more secure with an outsurcing studio set up with it’s security and people to take care of it.
What I meant with “not given the chance” was that I was told that I would be working with VFX as a tutor, partly, which never happend. And there simply is no time or use for VFX in that fashion where I am working now (our engine is in-house and it doesn’t have particle support).
But I understand what you mean and I will try my best to get better and learn some new things.

@subfaction Thank you. I will try not to lose hope :slight_smile:


#6

In regards to finding the time to learn and practice I think Allan Mckay put up a video blog about how you can optimize your time, a lot of the time most people do have the time to work on the things they want to learn they just need to be super productive with their day. I would strongly recommend that you keep your job unless you can afford to quit, I’ve actually done this recently as I wasn’t happy with the direction my life was going in and I wanted more time to practice and level up, it’s a risk and I’m in that boat you don’t really want to be in here with me right now.

Partikel is right you can know everything you want to know about Real-time VFX right now.

I would say you need to organize yourself, analyze your current timetable and assess your week and see where you can min/max your current daily routine, then realign this schedule to cater for time to learn real-time vfx. As a more direct example I used to do this when I wanted to learn Python back in 2016. I would dedicate my lunch hour to learning the language and making super basic tools like a calculator or simple games.

Now I know the language though I haven’t practically used it in a professional working environment. At the moment I’m attempting to learn Houdini more thoroughly, then seeing if I can leverage my Python skills in there, it won’t be long before I’ll feel confident to do this.

I would recommend if possible waking up an hour earlier each day and putting that hour to learning real-time VFX, start with a small scale and manageable project to familiarise yourself with the real-time vfx process again or watching some tutorials to develop your knowledge base.


#7

Are you still looking to work remote? Apply at UndertoneFX.com. Send us a demo reel.