Becoming a VFX artist today sounds more tempting than ever before – you don’t need a university degree to land a job and you don’t need training in academic drawing and painting to start creating. On top of that, digital artists often enjoy the luxury of freelancing and working remotely more than nearly any other professional from any other field. And finally, the ambitious idea of joining a big production studio to work on a new Marvel movie or a Netflix fantasy series someday is too good to not try entering the world of VFX.
However, it might seem like the number of talented VFX artists is growing exponentially and the competition is becoming impossible to keep up with. So you start thinking ‘Am I late to the party? Are VFX artists still in demand and will there be room for me?’ The short answer is there are tons of opportunities for VFX artists. VFX artists have never been more in demand and as long as you’re skilled and motivated to keep growing, you will find a place in the industry.
Now let’s dive into facts and figures because they are in fact really impressive. The global VFX market is expected to grow by more than $5.5 billion during 2021–2025. Its compound annual growth rate is expected to be around 12% during this period. According to British Film Institute, the amount of money spent on film and high-end television production reached £5.64 billion in 2021 which is almost two times more than in 2020 (£2.84 billion) and £1.27 billion more than in 2019 making 2021 the record year in TV and movie production spending.
Though those numbers are not exclusively VFX-related, both in 2020 and 2021 some of the most expensive and highest-grossing movies were the ones that used a massive amount of visual effects (1917, Tenet, No Time to Die). It goes without saying that the VFX industry keeps expanding and this trend is not likely to change anytime soon.
The industry is growing, that sure sounds splendid, but are there more jobs for visual effects artists? Yes, absolutely, and the answer becomes clear as soon as you open any job search platform and type in “visual effects artist”. Right now, you can find over 1,000 openings for VFX artists in the United States and almost 400 opportunities in the United Kingdom on Indeed. On LinkedIn, there are even more job postings – over 4,300 in the US and almost 900 in the UK. Among those, you will find hundreds of opportunities for VFX artists at the world’s top companies including Meta, Netflix, Framestore, PlayStation, Rockstar Games, and more.
There are lots of jobs in Germany, France, Spain, and other European countries as well – you can find openings at companies like Ubisoft, Scanline VFX, EA, Rodeo FX, and Mikros Animation. A little tip for those who are looking for a job in the industry – you get more results when you search for “visual effects artist” jobs than when you look for “VFX artist” openings.
When it comes to the video game industry, the possibilities for VFX artists are nearly endless. Visual effects have become an essential part of nearly every game you can ever think of and many studios around the world are looking for talented artists. You can find job openings both at smaller indie studios like Frogwares, the creators of the Sherlock Holmes series, and big production companies that make AAA games – Epic Games, Bandai Namco Studios, Bethesda Game Studios, and others. Plus, there are numerous opportunities in mobile gaming and VR/AR production.
Movies and TV production are extremely VFX-reliant spheres so if you enjoy creating hyperrealistic cinematic visuals this career path would be your best choice. Luckily, the demand is sky-high with all the high-end superhero series, horrors, fantasy shows, and action movies being produced lately. If you Google “2021 TV series” or “2021 movies” you will see that a lot (if not most) of them are loaded with visual effects – fantasy drama Shadow and Bone, fantasy adventure The Wheel of Time, sci-fi black comedy Don’t Look Up to name a few.
But even shows and movies that are far from the fantasy, horror, or superhero genres need VFX artists. For instance, Netflix’s hit psychological thriller titled You features visual effects created by VFX artists from Wolverine VFX, Encore VFX, and Zoic Studios. Everyone’s favorite teen comedy-drama Sex Education uses VFX as well even though not a single shot looks like it had visual effects added to it. Surprisingly, just like You where VFX is at least easy to explain thanks to all the violent bloody scenes, Sex Education had three VFX studios working on the show – Dupe VFX, Goodbye Kansas Studios, and Windmill Lane. Even Netflix’s 2021 musical tick, tick…BOOM! used a bit of VFX magic created by Phosphene and Host VFX.
Finally, one more factor indicating that VFX artists are without any doubt in demand is the growing number of courses for VFX artists. There are tons of online and offline programs where you can learn the art of VFX and if you want to read more about those, check out our recent overview of some of the best schools for visual effects artists. Plus, there are some great free tutorials on YouTube and Vimeo in case you prefer self-teaching.
If you have no idea where to start (or where to move next if you already learned some VFX basics), you can take our course quiz or even watch our Start Your VFX Career series which is totally free. It can help you choose the course that fits your current skill level and career aspirations best. If you are a complete beginner, take a look at our Houdini Fundamentals course – you can never go wrong with that one because it covers all the basic skills you need to get started in the exciting world of VFX.
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