Visual Effects Artist

Create computer-generated visual effects to enhance films.
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Quick Stats

Salary Range
$26,000 – $112,000

Data from U.S. Department of Labor

What do Visual Effects Artists do?

A Visual Effects Artist uses computer-generated imagery to produce visual effects in industries such as interactive multimedia, TV, and film. Visual Effects Artists control how gigantic or itsy-bitsy the viewer perceives an object or event to be, and a futuristic city shown from a computer-generated aerial view can, thanks to their artistic prowess, look like a boundless megalopolis.

As a category the position of Visual Effects Artist falls under the umbrella of Special Effects Artists, which includes all workers who produce visual effects, be they digital or physical. This includes things like pyrotechnics, car crashes, prosthetic makeup, and other mainstays of the pre-CGI (computer-generated imaging) film industry.

You work on the digital side of special effects, and within this field you tend to specialize. This means you might choose to focus on VFX elements such as compositing (combining multiple images), rotoscoping, or tracing live action footage.

Alternatively you could opt to specialize in the editing of special effects footage, like a pyrotechnics sequence, for example. In this editing you work to create a sense of continuity, and perform visual cleanup such as color correction.

This is at heart a creative position: Whether adding a mischievous glint to the eye of a femme fatale or digitally rendering a live-action shot of a crowd, you transform the mundane into the unforgettably spectacular.

Should I be a Visual Effects Artist?

You should have a bachelor's degree or higher and share these traits:
  • Flexible: You're open to change and think variety is the spice of life.
  • Calm Under Pressure: You keep your cool when dealing with highly stressful situations.
  • Ready for a Challenge: You jump into new projects with initiative and drive.

  • Also known as: VFX Artist, VFX Editor, Visual Effects Editor

    How to become a Visual Effects Artist

    Most Visual Effects Artists have a Bachelor's degree. Chart?chd=s:osc9aa&chl=no+college+%2812%25%29|certificate+%2836%25%29|associate%27s+%282%25%29|bachelor%27s+%2850%25%29||&cht=p3&chs=466x180&chxr=0,12,50
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