December 4, 2016

How To Become A Special Effects Artist

Special effects make entertainment come alive. What would your favorite films, TV shows, or video games be like without special effects? Special effects, illusions, and tricks play a major role in how events and stories are presented and perceived. If you enjoy 3-D environments, out of this world characters, and wildly explosive action scenes, then maybe you should become a special effects artist.

Special effects artist works on tablet

Special effects artists, also known as FX artists or visual effects artists, work behind the scenes to bring a movie, show, or game to life. They work in the digital realm and on live-action shots to enhance the level of production for the end user. Special effects artists may work on a computer to digitally enhance an alien world or they may be hands on with robots, make-up, or models during filming in order to capture the perfect shot.

Discover More Cool Movie Industry Jobs

Special effects is a constantly evolving niche. Watch a Hollywood blockbuster today and compare it to a top movie from decade ago. You’ll see a drastic difference in the special effects. As technology advances, so does the special effects industry. It’s a vital part of the entertainment niche and it’s one that you should pursue.

Are You Ready To Become Special Effects Artist?

To become a special effects artist it’s smart to attend a university level program in visual effects. There you’ll learn about sound design, animation, digital arts, multimedia design, cosmetology, robots, model making, and other topics. If you want to get your foot in the door, a proper education is a good idea, but it’s not required.

To find paying work in the effects industry, build a professional portfolio of special effects projects that you’ve worked on. This may include models, make-up, animation, art, or other relevant projects. Use your special effects portfolio to find an internship or an entry level job with a special effects company.  Production companies then hire these FX companies to work on the entertainment projects that we all enjoy.

Almost every day is different in the world of special effects. You’ll spend some days working on a computer, while others you might build models or apply makeup. According to The Wall Street Journal, earnings vary, but some “top-of-the-line supervisors can command tens of thousands of dollars a week.” While the job may be lucrative, it’s also high pressure and demands tight deadlines. When your job is to put the finishing touches on a high budget Hollywood hit, prime time TV show, or award winning video game that can be expected.

To learn more about the special effects industry, check out the Visual Effects Society. Or when you’re ready, apply for entertainment industry jobs on the JobMonkey JobCenter.

See Also: Special Effects Makeup Artist Jobs

About this Author 

Derek Lennon is a skier and writer who lives, works, and plays in the mountains. He travels the globe in search of snow and adventure. Life has allowed him to live and work all over the world doing cool jobs and loving every minute of it.

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