A career in VFX
Progression in the VFX industry is based on the time and experience you’ve amassed in a certain role. It is craft based and, as such, the vast majority of employees start in junior roles and never stop learning as they progress to mid and senior levels. Exceptions do exist of people entering at mid-level, when individuals have become specialists through working in other industries, or people who have studied a doctorate or are exceptionally talented. However, these instances are rare and are more likely to occur in those specialist roles represented in the art and technical specialisms. Download our careers map.
People will usually work as a junior artist from between one to three years, mid level artist from three to seven years and senior artist upwards of seven years. Senior artists will train junior artists, quality assure work and lead teams. Some seniors will work on set and supervise the acquisition of the raw ingredients for the VFX work.
Junior, mid and senior job demarcations vary by company in terms of the skills you are able to evidence, usually through the appraisal and pay review process.
Pay in VFX
Companies employ artists on a contract basis. Contracts are usually project based and can last from between six months to a year. Contracts often roll back to back and it’s possible to be employed on this basis at the same company for several years. Sometimes it is necessary to move from company to company to ensure consistent employment.
Someone starting their career as a Matchmover or Roto Artist can expect to be paid an annual salary of between £18k to £20k. Junior level artists earn between £20k to £30k per year. Mid level roles pay between £30k to £50k per year and senior level artists can command an annual salary of £50k upwards.
Career information from Creative Skillset
Watch the video below made for school students, about what people do in VFX and the paths that led them to their careers.
Useful links to getting started with coding
Pointers from Creative skillset.
This site contains links to most learning code sites. Python is now the most widely used coding language across the VFX industry.
Download the VFX Core Skills Handbook, which has a primer for students and outlines the core skills the industry needs from new entrants as well as an ideal curriculum written as a guide for universities to VFX industry skills.
Career information from Double Negative
Careers resources are provided by this leading UK based VFX company. You’ll find accessible info and further web links aimed at both school and college students who want to research how to get in and work in the industry and are looking for learning resources to get them started.
Career information from Escape Studios
You can download this guide which is a useful insight into how the VFX ‘pipeline’ works and the differences between 2d (compositing) and 3d (CGI) VFX work. It also provides a potted history to the industry.