Just looking for a little direction

As someone that is brand new to the VFX world, what software should I be using/learning with a view to one day seeking work in games design?

I’ve installed both Unity and Unreal engine as well as Houdini.

More than anything I’m a little lost as what the different software is used for, a little guidance on this as well as what I should be focusing on at this very early stage would be greatly appreciated.



Game Design does not equal VFX. Game Design is the process of creating game mechanics: rules, by which the game will be played. If that’s what you are interested in - then learning VFX probably won’t help you much)

If it is VFX that you’re interested in though, then a good starting point would be:

  1. To learn what particles are and how to author them (this old tutorial from Epic Games is still viable imho: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLZlv_N0_O1gYDLyB3LVfjYIcbBe8NqR8t)

  2. Get along with shaders (or materials in UE4) and how to make these (again, old vids are fine: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Yb4uu2NEC0E&list=PLZlv_N0_O1gbQjgY0nDwZNYe_N8IcYWS-&index=2)

  3. Understand Photoshop (or any other image editor of your choice), and how to make textures (search for info on this forum)

Once you’ve done all that - you will have the basics settled down and can move to more difficult topics.
Houdini is quite an advanced (and quite expensive) software. It can do many things very well, like smoke simulation, mesh destruction baking and e.t.c., but it’s not really the program that you need when you are just starting.


Thank you for the reply.

I should clarify, I meant I’d like to work as a VFX artist in video games one day (which I understand is a long time from now).

I’ll follow the steps you’ve posted, I was a little lost as to what software to start with and your instruction gives me a starting point which is a great help.

At the early stage I would go with free software (unless your rich) so focus on 1 game engine(unity/ue4), krita, blender. those 3 programs should let you make about 80% of game effects.

try making a tornado, paint some noise textures in krita, make a cone mesh in blender, put it together in the game engine.

paid software tends to listed on job requirements so you may eventually want to pick up other programs to make it easier to get a job.