Where to apply [Entry Level] Game FX Artist?

Hey Folks, I want to know the best additional places to apply for Entry Level FX Artists and what the standards are. Like a general idea of what type of FX they would like to see. It seems fairly tough to get in, especially when their unable to give feedback.

LinkedIn and the Jobs section (here) is the place to look so far. I hear indie studios are more ideal for entry level, but where to look?

I’d also like to know the ratio of Unreal Engine 4 to Unity employers. It seems like more people use Unreal Engine 4 for their projects, specifically realistic AAA games. Thanks.

To get a job in the game studios can’t be quite different for everyone but in the end is about your portfolio, if you portfolio is good then you get more attractive in the market.
Send your portfolio everywhere and write to studios. It might just stick somewhere.

Sometimes a studio don’t know they need a fx artist until one shows up, so just keep making assets and push your limits.

Be prepared that you might not be working in Unity nor Unreal, in many jobs they have their own engines and similar, having a positive attitude about this can go a long way.

Check out @Partikel’s thread here for what he usually looks into in portfolios What I/Studios look for in a reel

I also recommend that you attach your portfolio/reel or whatever into your online profiles (like this one, I can’t find you portfolio in your profile, I must look into the threads you write in) make it easy for recruiters to easily find your work everywhere.

To find indies: join indie game groups (tigsource, polycount, facebook indie game dev groups). Write to developers, send your work and make sure to post your work.

Remember to focus on what you are good at and keep pushing that.

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Gotcha, so it’s one of those “keep on truckin’” kinda things. Alrighty.

Yea, I plan on sending it to multiple places. I’m just a little concerned that it was built for a specific company (fantasy genre) and wouldn’t apply to a good amount of the studios. I guess that’s resolved by making a more diverse showcase.

Yes, I understand that studios use their own custom engines. It looks like UE4 and Unity is a springboard for that. I wanted to know the ratio so that I could decide on which engine to use predominately. I haven’t used UE4’s cascade because it lags my computer, but I see that its a more powerful version of Shuriken & ShaderForge.

Yea, I’ve read that thread it was pretty informative.

Strange, I thought I attached it to this website. It’s definitely been elsewhere though.

Thanks for the info, I’ll check that stuff out. Yep, ya only get better with time. I’ve already picked up alot of ideas and I’m steppin’ it up.

This was also recently posted:

It answers most of your questions and has some good tips for people just getting started.

Yep that was an excellent talk. Thanks for the post. It reaffirmed a-lot of the things I was taught and removed any unnecessary worries.

My takeaways:

“Your only as strong as your weakest piece. Don’t hide your weakness, remove it.”

“You don’t need to worry about the software, I’ll teach you that in 3 months, I don’t care. It’s all about the end product.”

“We’ve hired junior environment artists with only 2 pieces.”

“Make things accessible to us. If the work is great but its hard to access, its hard to invest interest in it.”

Specialization over generalization. It’s about focusing energy for the best quality. You can branch out later.”

“You need to look outside of your bubble. Look at the overall competition, not just people around you.”

“Don’t think of rejection as slight against you. There’s more to it than you think (they recognize/remember you, but the position may not be open at the time.) Being persistent can lead to the chance of being the best portfolio when they hire. Sometimes its just timing.”

“Noone is capable of judging their own work. We are incapable of judging our own work. You need feedback from others in the community.”

Cast a wide net. Don’t apply to just one place. You don’t know where they are in development.”

“If we’re on the edge (hiring) and there’s personal stuff out there that tells us about who you are, we’re gonna read it. Whether you’re interested, or a dick, we’re going to be spending 40+ hours a week with you. Be aware of how you present yourself online.

“The industry is small. Word travels fast. Everyone talks to each-other. Look at yourself as a brand and what you’re putting out there.”

FX has more demand than available talent (yay). We’re starting to see a shift towards more shader based applications (glowing armor, shield bubbles).”

“Don’t be afraid of an art test that seem way out of your scope (2 weeks full character). It helps us see how well you can cut corners (symmetry modifier, etc.) to get the test done.”

Do what you really want to do. Don’t send your portfolio to places where you wouldn’t want to work.”


Check https://www.gamedevmap.com/ it shows a fairly well updated map of most game dev studios. My advice, go to each and every one of them’s website, see what they do, if you like what they do, check if they have social media and follow them. Larger ones like Blizz and Activision will have Twitter profiles just for recruiting/job openings, so follow those as well. I got very lucky, and a studio I was following (Gunfire) posted about an associate FX position and I applied.

As for what they want to see? The best advice I got was from David Johnson, and a few other people seconded his advice. Have: Explosion, a magic effect, water, and fire. Target what style you want to do, ie realistic or stylized, and make them the best possible quality you can. Doing realistic? Look at Battlefield and CoD, that is your benchmark and your competition. There is a chance you could be competing for a job with someone who has previous experience on you, so you need to beat them in quality of work.

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This is all great advice, but I just wanted to put in my two cents about this quote:

While that statement holds true for something like a modeler or animator switching between 3DS Max and Maya, I’d say it does not hold nearly as true for VFX. Our tools vary hugely between engines, and depending on the complexity the ramp up time could be significant. For example if I was hiring a junior FX artist for an Unreal project, I would be very hesitant about an applicant that only knew Unity, even if that artist’s demo reel was good - particularly if another applicant did have Unreal experience.

Of course if we were using a proprietary engine then no applicant could be expected to have experience with the tools and that ramp up time would just be a built in assumption for hiring.

You asked if you should focus on Unity or Unreal. My vote would be Unreal. It’s used far more for AAA development and has a much more complex and powerful FX toolset. Unity is used often for smaller indie projects, but it’s actually rather uncommon for small teams to even have a dedicated FX artist role. Often the FX in small games are done by a general tech artists who knows enough about FX to get the job done as just a small part of their tech artist role.

That leads to another distinction - AAA studios want specialists, while indies tend to have generalists who can wear many hats. You can take either path, you just need to choose your goals.

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