Where to find good VFX References?

Hi guys, I wonder on which places in the web you find the best references for VFX. Often I find it hard to find good stuff on google/youtube. Here’s my experience so far:

My personal best experiences where on pinterest (especially for comic stylized effects). Here’s an example search: https://www.pinterest.de/search/pins/?q=vfx%20explosion&rs=typed&term_meta[]=vfx|typed&term_meta[]=explosion|typed

BBC Motion Gallery
For real-world example I tend to use the BBC motion gallery.

A small challenge: Right now I’m searching for “rain drops which hit cloth” (doesn’t have to be animated, just different phases of rain drops hitting cloth and how this changes color/reflectivity over time) but I’m having a hard time with this :smiley: Feel free to drop your “challenge” of finding references here in this thread when you can*t find the right keywords like I’m right now. :slight_smile:


heya Bud,

cgwell is great, if you either understand the language or feel adventurous enough to click on weird looking links https://cgwell.ke.qq.com/

I’m personally mostly interested in stylized cartoony/gamey effects, and try to collect the ones I like here: https://www.youtube.com/playlist?list=PLuqNhfvpWXRil3P5T_u7_4QUC0jej4PPV (i should really clean it up hehe)

as for the rain on cloth stuff, sadly Michael Jackson’s “Stranger in Moscow” isnt in hd/4k as it has some really nice slowmo rain stuff https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=pEEMi2j6lYE

I do remember a more recent clip where there was a lot of slowmo rain falling onto people in closeup but cant remember the name.

umbrella: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=TLcxlBOIk4E


+1 on cgwell.ke.qq.com

YouTube mostly…
Macro Room https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCBLBaTZqjr8-VEjXBnz7tOA
Slow Mo Guys https://www.youtube.com/user/theslowmoguys
National Geographic, usually posts lots of interesting stuff:
(When Magma Meets Water) https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0XgpYXVN-Kk

Guns / Weapon effects
FPS Russia https://www.youtube.com/user/FPSRussia
Iraqveteran8888 https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCWJHDMgKWWvOsdyRF3HPVEw
FullMag https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCAUTncHmFWaaNo91xg4As3g

Filter VFX Reference board:
I made this a while back… a VFX Reference page, it’s full of various video references from real life / movies / tv shows / anime that you can filter by searching or just clicking on the icons:

You can follow me on Twitter / scroll through this thread if you want to see the source of each video / to know when it’s updated:

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Sakugabooru is a great blog full of anime fx examples, there are thousands of different references. To be honest its quite messy but always worth a search!

And then there are various “Siencey” youtube channels of course:
Smarter Everyday, The Slow Mo Guys, Photonicinduction, FullMag… to name a few i like =)

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Wow, this is awesome stuff guys.

What bothers me is, that most of the time we VFX guys have to remember that we’ve seen something specific in a movie/game scene but if you do not already know that you’ve seen something in the past which you need right now … sometimes it’s hard to use the common search engines and find what you need.

Are you feeling me or am I alone with that problem? :smiley:


Oh ive been there, countless of times.

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The reference category has quite a few posts pointing toward some great stuff out there. In fact, I recommend switching the category of this discussion over to “References” as well, for future generations :^]



yeah this is a great overview :slight_smile:

hmmm, come to think of it. I should added a few more to that reference list.

I’ve been developing a montage library for a while now. Where before starting tasks I think of (or look up) the best movies, tv shows, other games, etc… with that category of effects. Then edit clipsdown to a montage video. Vehicles crashing into one another, blood, muzzle flashes, etc… Then, I keep these video looping on a wall (projector) or TV near my desk. So whatever I’m working on, I’m constantly seeing high quality examples of it, and picking out little details that I like. Comparing it to my work. It’s been pretty useful to keep upping quality over time.


Keyserito have a huge-kick-ass-awesome collection on pinterest, all pins are sorted by style: https://pinterest.com/Keyserito/

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Apologies for rezing an old thread, but I figure newer people might find this useful too. I find a lot of really awesome reference shared by people on Twitter, and I bookmark the tweets (I used to DM them to myself before the bookmark feature). One problem I run across though is wanting to view gifs in slow motion or enlarged, and Twitter won’t let you do this. For anyone else frustrated by this, you can try ezgif’s “GIF Optimizer” feature, which allows you to past the url for the gif on Twitter and converts it to video and save it or convert that video back to a savable gif https://ezgif.com/optimize

If you do so, please remember to credit the artist/original poster if you plan on sharing your newly saved ref.

Found a cool gif outside of Twitter and want to look at it slower, or frame by frame? Nic Chambers (if he’s on here, someone tag him) showed me GIF Scrubber, and it’s been a game changer! You can find it as an add on for Chrome https://chrome.google.com/webstore/detail/gif-scrubber/gbdacbnhlfdlllckelpdkgeklfjfgcmp?hl=en

To my best knowledge, ezgif and gif scrubber haven’t caused any problems, but if anyone finds something malicious, just ping it here and I’ll remove the links.


I know CGWell,btw,are u Chinese?

Here is my untidy pinterest board … nothing is sorted.

I like @Sirhaian’s board … very neat n organized :wink:


Updated my old post and added my VFX Reference page.

My twitter is my Main VFX References : There is no PERSONNAL stuff. ONLY VFX

You can find more than 1300 VFX references here : https://twitter.com/t_jojoo/likes
Enjoy :heart_eyes: :smiling_face_with_three_hearts: :stuck_out_tongue: :heart: :100: :partying_face: :partying_face:


i sell over 3 hours of reference video clips on gumroad for $5 - lots of categories and clips about 10-15s long


This gallery has tons of high quality looping gifs, great ref for environment vfx work: