VFX artists bring wham, bam, crash, and wallop effects to games. They design anything that moves but isn’t a character or an item and generate dust, water, explosions, and superhuman abilities. VFX artists employ digital art tools in conjunction with traditional art knowledge to produce realistic effects that may be spectacular, such as a tornado and etc.
A video game FX artist builds computer simulations and procedural processes. Its based on real-world objects or supernatural notions that move or respond according to fundamental physics rules.
FX in video games is divided into two categories:
- Enhance the action with gameplay effects.
- Enhance the overall aesthetics with environmental impacts.
Composition, size, shape, speed, and viscosity often define how an effect appears and interacts with its environment. Artists are frequently expected to investigate real-life events, view reference movies (where feasible), and produce various ideas before designing game effects.
- Art: understand composition, color, texture, and light, and know how these elements work together
- Physics and advanced maths: understand how elements like water, light, and dust behave in different conditions
- Using software and games engines: create artwork using a range of programs and physics software packages, know the technical capability of the game engine and the latest technologies and techniques.
- Collaboration: work with the other artists, share the vision with designers and games developers
- Time management: work on projects to tight deadlines, and prioritize tasks. VFX is often expensive, so it’s necessary to know how to work within budget
Role and responsibilities
An FX artist is responsible for effects like “power-ups,” fire and lightning, triggering a magical forcefield, and even flashing diamonds.
They also design explosions, devastation, particle systems, and liquid simulations. Their responsibilities may include creating procedural environments, essential assets, character effects (cloth, hair, etc.), and resolving complex pipeline issues.
Responsibilities of an FX Artist may include:
- Designing and creating FX animation, procedural simulations, dynamic simulations, particle and fluid systems
- Lighting and rendering FX elements and producing composites to showcase ideas and concepts
- Assisting in setting up or maintaining a library of effects presets which can be loaded and applied across an entire game.
- Creating tools and code to facilitate automated workflows
- User interface design
Meet Nathaniel Hubbel, Video Game Special Effect Artist, if you’re interested in learning how to become a VFX artist. Today, Nat discusses what it takes to become a VFX Artist in video games and what you can do to get started on his road.
Question: How did you get your first job as a Special Effects Artist (VFX)?
It was a slow process. I went to animation school and made numerous short films on my own. Thanks to specific contacts, I could get a position in the gaming business. I began with animating characters, but since I also had an essential experience in 3D drawing, I often assisted with effects. After a while, my bosses contacted me about working on results full-time. I had never considered that career route since it seemed too much fun to be a real job! I immediately realized it was a good match, and I’ve remained with it ever since.
Question: What skills and personality traits are required to be a successful Special Effects Artist?
First and foremost, you’ll probably want to be a generalist. You may have a specialty, but you should also be well-versed in various subjects.
You must be an excellent communicator. Your job will be considerably more manageable if you’re easy to work with your team.
Second, you must be able to solve problems. You’re dealing with anything that moves that isn’t a character once again. It is a vast field! You’ll almost always be assigned something you’ve never done before. Who knows whether there’s a waterfall that runs up? Is it an exploding star? Is it possible to have a living dust storm? This is a fascinating field if you appreciate taking on unusual and surprising problems.
Last, you will need social abilities, which apply to any game development position. You must be an effective communicator: eloquent, efficient, and proactive without being obnoxious.
Question: What advice would you provide to someone considering that position as a career?
It would be best if you tried to study a little bit of everything since almost every aspect of digital art creation is significant. The fundamentals of color theory, composition, painting, modeling, texturing, and animation are required. You should also be familiar with rigging, shaders, physics simulation, and as much scripting/coding as possible. It is unquestionably a generalist’s job! You don’t have to be an expert in these areas, but you should have an excellent practical understanding. “Be a jack of all crafts and a master of one or two,” someone once advised me.
A few details: Discover how to create fire, water, clouds/smoke, explosions, lightning/electricity, and motion trails. Those six duties are prevalent for effects artists, so they’re helpful. Learn to execute them in various styles and ways, preferably in both 2D and 3D.