3 Tips to Help You Start Making Beautiful VFX

industry vfx Feb 28, 2023
3 Tips to Help You Start Making Beautiful VFX - Featured


Three quick actions you can take to start making beautiful effects that will unlock and inspire your inner VFX artist! 


Of the infinite reasons starting a new career path or just learning a new skill in general is figuring out how to start. It seems so simple, right? Oftentimes this simple step feels like Mount Everest with a million different reasons why it's not a good idea to start climbing. However, there are a few simple steps we like to take that are practical and methodical with understanding how to start something as daunting as creating effects. So, today we’re going to discuss three quick actions you can follow to get started making beautiful effects that will unlock and inspire your inner VFX artist! 



Step One: Pen Mileage, Hand-To-Brain Practice


First, you’ll want to find your library. Think of this as a vast amount of information that you’ve stored in your brain. The way you build up this library is to understand “brain and hand connection” which is the idea of drawing the things that you want to go into your library. In other words - pen mileage.

We need to remove the idea of “I wish I could draw like that” and replace this toxic thought with “I haven’t drawn as much as that.” Reframe how you see others work as the amount of time and experience that artist has put into the medium. More drawing equals a bigger library and a bigger library means better drawings. Building that hand-to-brain and brain-to-hand practice is the essential first step. 


Step Two: Study What You Love 


Whether you’re playing a game, watching a show or a movie and pause (if you can) the screen. Pause the screen… and look. Study what you’re looking at! Think about why you love this thing. You want to stay in this study mode. Try to ask yourself why this certain thing appeals to you. Understanding why you love something helps you understand your creative and artistic sensibilities which in turn is pure inspiration. 



After you’ve spent enough time studying games and movies that you love, study nature! Go outside, leave your phone at home and just look at nature. Throw rocks into the water and watch the ripples. Stare at the leaves in a tree and how they move with the wind passing through. While this might sound corny or weird - this is how we as VFX artists understand the fundamentals of movement. While studying nature you’ll notice visual patterns and you’ll build a sense of intuition for your library. 

Next, you’ll want to study the principles. By this, I mean to study the knowledge of other artists and people. This includes tutorials online, our FREE training (wink wink), any of our own videos from the series “The Artistic Principles of VFX” on our YouTube channel. You’re adding other people's knowledge to your library.



Step Three: Find the Fun


You want to find the fun. Times of study should be blended with times of fun. Think of drawing as studying, and studying as drawing - it's all this experience that you enjoy doing. When we do things we enjoy doing it puts us into a flow state. When we’re in a flow state, we tend to practice longer and get more out of it. Don’t be ashamed! You chose a fun career path. These things are beautiful and fun! That is exactly why you chose this, you wanted to have fun and there’s nothing wrong with that. 

Then, find your stopping point. It's hard to know which effect you want to complete and which one you want to leave in its rough state. When you’re first getting started, don’t worry about polishing every little thing you do. Move on to the next thing or next project because you’re trying to build that momentum of starting things, finishing things and moving on to the next thing. A great way to manage this is to work with a mentor. We’ve got a few mentors over on our Discord server that give great advice like “this looks amazing, time to move on!” 

So, that’s it. You’re well on your way now to making beautiful, inspiring effects that you love. If you want to check out our free training, its a great place to get started. Check that out here.



Start Your VFX Apprenticeship

Begin your journey towards mastering FX for games and animation. Join VFX-A All Access and discover cutting-edge 2D, 3D, and real-time FX training. 

Browse FX Courses

Learn from Professional VFX Artists

Our instructors have left their mark on AAA titles, indie games, animated films, television series, mobile games, and experiential events. They are here to help you make your own mark.

View All Instructors