New VFX Artist Career Trajectory

Hello and thank you for taking the time to read this!

I am a relatively green (2 years in a large studio) VFX Artist. In that time I have done some gameplay effects when people need extra help, but largely my experience so far has been in engine cinematics.

Recently there has been an opportunity to swap over to a Game Play role, and I am wondering how people around here feel the lay of the land is when looking for work down the line based on where one’s VFX experience lies. I am leaning towards taking it because I really like learning new things when it comes to my craft and this would be an excellent opportunity to accelerate that I believe and pick up some new skills that working in cinematics does not necessarily draw on much.

I have nothing but respect for people who do any sort of art for Game Play, or Cinematics, but in our company it seems there is kind of a line drawn between the two and you have to focus on one or the other. As far as career trajectory goes I feel like it is worth while taking on new experiences in a Game Play VFX Artist role, but just out of curiosity, how much do people in the industry think it would influence the appeal of a resume down the line to have minimal Game Play experience versus at least an even split or more Game Play than Cinematics?

Thank you for any insights you can give :slight_smile:

It’s always a good thing to learn new things if your employer is paying for it, hell even if they aren’t paying for it, experience is experience.


I agree with Sam, anytime you can learn something new is a good thing.

The other thing that’s good is you’ll find if you actually like doing in-game FX vs. Cinematic.

It might be that you hate it, it might be that you like it more than what you’re currently doing. But you’ll never know until you try.

So give it a shot, if it doesn’t work out, and you wind up hating it, you can always go to another studio if need be if you decide you want to focus on cinematics and the studio you’re now at doesn’t allow you to go back.

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Hello and thanks so much for the replies Sam and Jamie, I appreciate it!

I feel the same way basically, I think any opportunity to take on new experiences and different problems to solve on tighter performance budgets is going to make a better artist out of you. I have actually really enjoyed working on gameplay VFX when I have had to help other teams out and I certainly wouldn’t say I know all there is to know about cinematics, but I think I have a pretty good foundation in that vein of VFX now.

Ultimately I did begin the process of transferring over yesterday, and although it’s a bit anxiety inducing and I feel a bit sad/bad for leaving my current team who are awesome; logically it’s just the best move for me as a VFX Artist I think. One thing that is cool about the way we handle cinematics is that you move around to different projects, so it’s fast racking up titles you worked on. But I feel like the experience of helping to build a game from earlier on in development than when cinematics get involved, all the way to shipped is probably an immensely valuable experience to have. Unfortunately it is not something I can have in my current department.