What Does A VFX Artist Do?

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A VFX artist is responsible for creating visual images, animations and special effects to enhance film, television and online and console gaming. They create simulations and mockups and are in charge of creating digital assets that look almost real. What does a VFX artist do?

Job Profile of a VFX artist

Visual effects artists, or VFX artists, are professionals who work in the film and gaming industry and are in charge of creating computerised animations for films, ads, computer games, and websites.

Technical skills and industry-standard software experience are crucial skills to have for this role as are skills like creativity, attention to details.

Role Overview Of A VFX Artist
Role Overview Of A VFX Artist

VFX artists work within the Computer Generated Imagery industry. What sets their work apart from the work done by a 3D artist or a CGI artist is the focus on the digital post-processing rather than the creation of virtual elements per se. 

Are VFX artists in demand? Judging by the high-quality productions in the past few years and the fact that more and more money is flowing into tv shows, films, and games, VFX definitely holds a promising future.

Responsibilities of a VFX artist

VFX artists are responsible for creating, managing and optimising visual effects and animations by making use of computerised technology and software applications.

They conceptualise and then create cutting-edge special effects and are also often responsible for creating CGI characters. 

Responsibilities Of A VFX Artist
Responsibilities Of A VFX Artist

These artists gain feedback from composite leads and VFX supervisors and are responsible for tracking and managing the workflow through the departments.

They provide creative and technical assistance and troubleshoot any issues with animations. They are also in charge of creating storyboards, maintaining an accurate summary of progress, and managing edits along with the editorial department.

What does a Visual Effects artist do?

  • Creating, managing and optimising visual effects and animations
  • Using computerised technology and software applications
  • Conceptualising and then creating cutting-edge special effects
  • Creating CGI characters
  • Following the direction and feedback of composite leads and VFX supervisors
  • Tracking and managing the workflow through the departments
  • Providing creative and technical assistance
  • Troubleshooting any issues with animations
  • Creating storyboards
  • Maintaining an accurate summary of progress
  • Managing edits along with the editorial department
  • FX simulations

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Skills & experience

Visual Effects artists are able to create and implement high quality VFX and have a strong knowledge of 3D animation software such as Houdini, Dreamweaver, Adobe CS5, and Autodesk Maya

They have knowledge of seamless integration of live action, miniature and CGI sources and are able to undertake blue/green screen extractions.

Skills Of A VFX Artist
Skills Of A VFX Artist

These artists are highly creative in nature and have knowledge of VFX compositing software such as Nuke, Fusion and After Effects. They also have excellent computer skills as well as a strong understanding of Linux/Unix based computer operating systems. Also, knowledge of Unity and Unreal Engine widely used for game programming are a plus.

They have a good eye for aesthetics, light and composition and a good feeling for movement and sculpture.

In terms of soft skills, Visual Effects artists have excellent time management, communication and organisational skills and are able to work as part of a team as well as alone. 

What are the skills of a VFX artist?

  • Ability to create and implement high quality VFX
  • Strong knowledge of 3D animation software such as Houdini, Dreamweaver, Adobe CS5, and Autodesk Maya
  • Strong knowledge of seamless integration of live action, miniature and CGI sources
  • Ability to undertake blue/green screen extractions
  • Strong creativity skills
  • Knowledge of VFX compositing software such as Nuke, Fusion and After Effects
  • Excellent computer skills
  • Strong understanding of Linux/Unix based computer operating systems
  • Excellent time management skills
  • Strong communication skills
  • Ability to work well in a team and alone


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Background & education

Do you need a degree to be a VFX artist? While it is possible to work as a VFX animator without a degree, the majority of artists do obtain a Bachelor’s degree. This is mainly in Computer Animation or Multimedia studies. 

What can really help boost your chances of being hired is a good portfolio. To build one, you can choose to take online courses and achieve certifications. Check out options for these down below:

How much do VFX artists earn?

The salary of VFX animators and Visual Effects experts can vary depending on the role and industry they are in.

Junior VFX artists starting their careers in entry-level jobs can earn approximately $39,000 annually. The average salary for artists with a few years of experience is $67,000 whereas for senior VFX artists, the salary can go up to $111,000.

The salary range in Germany for VFX artists is €45,900 to €80,400 while in the UK, it ranges from £20,000 to £52,000.

What is the salary range of VFX artists?

USA $39,000 – $111,000
UK £20,000 – £52,000
Germany €45,900 – €80,400

How much do freelance VFX artists earn?

According to the freelancermap index in March 2022, the average hourly rate of freelance VFX artists is $59. Considering an 8-hour working day, freelance artists make about $472 a day.

Average Hourly Rate Of Freelance VFX Artists
Average Hourly Rate Of Freelance VFX Artists
Natalia Campana

Natalia is part of the international team at freelancermap. She loves the digital world, social media and meeting different cultures. Before she moved to Germany and joined the freelancermap team she worked in the US, UK and her home country Spain. Now she focuses on helping freelancers and IT professionals to find jobs and clients worldwide at www.freelancermap.com

By Natalia Campana

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