The video game profession in 2023: VFX artist

Any image digitally added to an audiovisual production image may qualify as “VFX”.

there’s thing… ” It does, and it’s called a special effect or “ FX Effects ” in English. Special effects do not originate in the digital age, far from it. Their origins are attributed to George Méliès (1861-1938). Clearly, however, digital offers almost limitless possibilities today “ SFX “, non-digital special effects, such as certain actions, and “ VFX “, with the V standing for Visual.

business information
Study level: bac +3 – bac +5
Gross monthly salary: €2,000 – €3,200

From spectacular to invisible

Special effects are everywhere, but we don’t always see them! It should go unnoticed that this rhymes in principle with a good show, otherwise. Since we know how to embed images in images, we use special effects. In fact, any image digitally added to footage in an audiovisual production can be referred to as a “ VFX “. Do you see motorcyclists going on a mad chase through alleys? It’s just on the green screen in the studio, special effects do the rest. A couple uncorks a bottle of wine against a sunset in the background? But special effects can also allow to embed smoke, fire, simulate explosions, etc. They create what cannot be filmed live.

If special effects specialists are primarily involved in post-production, they are actually called on during the creative process, specifically to validate what is or isn’t within budget.

The FX or VFX artist must have a strong and varied technology background. You can’t realistically tear down buildings if you’re not good at physics, for example! Mathematics is an important tool and knowledge of development engines and major 3D software is essential.

But mainly thanks to his artistic sensibilities, the VFX artist will succeed. It is she who will allow him to create images that are sometimes spectacular, sometimes deeply hidden, but essential for the final achievement. Finally, a VFX Artist will be even more admired if he or she possesses unfailing creativity and practicality: it is not uncommon when last minute problems arise in a production, we turn to them. Wasn’t he a magician by nature?

Required quality

  • Know how to draw (2D)
  • Be creative, imaginative
  • Strong image culture

End of study achievement

  • Knowledge of the entire production chain
  • Knowledge of color theory and the basics of materials and textures
  • Physics knowledge
  • Knowledge of key software

Interview with Thibault Gauriau

Thibault GauriauLeading FX in Industrial Light & Magic (Ready Player One, The Mandalorian, Free Guy, The Lord of the Rings: The Rings of Power).

What is the job of an FX Artist? Why do we sometimes talk about VFX?

The term VFX is a fairly general term that describes any type of computer-generated visual effect (image). In the world of VFX, there are many departments that work in a coordinated manner, including the FX department. The mission of an FX artist is to create visual elements such as fire, water, smoke, explosions, rain, sparks, clouds or even magic. He was also led to create scenes of destruction, rubble, dust, etc.

Don’t you see the most successful special effects sometimes?

Very ! The most successful special effects are often the most “invisible“. A typical case of highly successful special effects is the expansion of the set. In a shot, it is often easier to create only part of the set then let VFX step in to create the rest of the decoration and integrate it completely invisible to the party”real” were filmed. These VFX techniques are highly mastered, so much so that even a trained professional eye will have a hard time distinguishing the real from the fake. There are also more subtle special effects, such as adding bruises and blood to actors’ faces, replacing cloudy skies with clear skies, removing buildings that were an eyesore or even trees and animals that weren’t there at the time of filming.

What are the most demanding industries for VFX Artists right now?

Currently, there is a huge demand for VFX Artists in the film and advertising industry, but also in the video game sector (all types of platforms). More and more new interactive and real-time media such as VR and AR also require VFX artists to create their content. At the start of a career, it is important to acquire extensive knowledge of the field and be exposed to a wide variety of special effects. Over time, experience, and different projects, some artists will develop in a particular special effects style, while others will remain generalists and “Jack of all trades“. There are no rules and most importantly follow your passion and instinct!

Who is the FX or VFX Artist’s main contact? Director ? artistic director? Technical director?

In production”normal“, the direct interlocutor will be his supervisor, the supervisor of FX. However, it is always a matter of teamwork, which is why FX artists will be constantly called on to communicate with other FX artists and other artists from various departments: animation, modeling, textures, lighting, etc. .At the head of production there is always the producer and art director or VFX supervisor. They are the leaders who make sure that everyone is going in the same direction. Obviously, the FX or VFX artist will be in direct contact with these interlocutors. In certain cases, the FX artist may depending on the size of the project, the director’s interest in the VFX process or the type of work the FX artist has to create.

digital professionGuide 2023 – Digital professions – Schools and training

This sheet is taken from the special issue “Guide 2023 – Digital professions – Schools and training” published by Jeux Vidéo Magazine is available from your newsagent for €6.95. Click on the cover to find quotes from other professions.

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