Frédérik Barbeau on his experience as a 3D art student in college vs. at Rebelway and landing his first gig as a VFX artist.
“Why is this artist so popular? I can do the same thing a billion times better, it’s not even that hard!” This thought has probably crossed every artist’s mind at some point in their career. Because whether you want it or not, to be an incredibly talented creator it’s not enough to get noticed – you have to know how to promote your artworks online as well. It doesn’t mean, however, that you need to get a degree in Marketing or take distribution courses to post your art – you just need to decide what your goals are because every platform is good in its own way.
In this article, we are going to discuss the most popular Internet sources where you can upload your creations and grow your audience. To simplify, there are 2 main categories we are going to split these websites into – the ones where you can go viral and attract a broader audience, and the ones where the amount of users is smaller but you are way more likely to get noticed by the industry professionals.
Below is our list of the best places to share your VFX work to get notice. We hope you enjoy it!
Best For: Growing a Large Following
Instagram is probably the best place to grow a huge following as an artist no matter what exactly it is you create for many reasons. Firstly, almost every major company in every industry has an official Instagram profile and some of them actively share posts from other accounts if they mention their product (i.e. Unreal Engine shares artworks created using UE, Rebelway gives shout-outs to its students by reposting their projects, etc.)
Secondly, if you upload art-related content continuously and use hashtags, Instagram’s Explore page will promote your posts by showing them to users who are interested in this topic. This means your art might eventually land on, say, Riot Games or Pixar’s Explore tab. We constantly monitor the #Houdini feed and #RebelwayVFX feed for great projects.
Thirdly, there are over 1 billion users on Instagram which means you can grow a crazy huge audience that might include business accounts, casual 3D art admirers, fellow artists, art schools, and many others. Though the majority of followers are only going to like your posts, some of them could bring about potential collaborations, job offers, or exciting commissions.
There is, however, a major disadvantage which is the quality of the images and videos uploaded on Instagram. The images often lose their crispiness due to compression, plus if your artwork is a little too stretched vertically or horizontally, Instagram will crop it. When it comes to videos, they are usually heavily compressed which makes them pixelated, blurry, or even laggy. Apart from that, users can’t rotate the phone to watch them in full-screen mode and this is oftentimes crucial when viewing animations and VFX. Plus, if you are using an ultra-cropped cinematic aspect ratio, your project is going to look tiny on the screen.
Best For: Being Seen by Hiring Managers
The name is pretty self-explanatory – ArtStation is a website made specifically for sharing and browsing all kinds of artworks including 2D digital art, traditional art, animation, VFX, and more. ArtStation is one of the most useful online sources for digital artists because it is basically an all-in-one tool. Here you can post your artworks, follow and contact other artists, participate in challenges, browse exclusive courses and tutorials, find the latest job openings at companies like Ubisoft, EA, and Epic Games, sell your prints and custom brushes/textures/materials, etc.
The biggest advantage is that ArtStation is an artistry-focused web source so your posts will never drown in an endless stream of random content (which is exactly what happens on Instagram, for instance). What is more, because ArtStation is all about visual content, you don’t have to worry about the quality of your artworks when uploading them. Even if you don’t have an ArtStation Plus subscription plan (which allows you to upload images in 4K), the quality of the pictures you post is still going to be otherworldly compared to what you would normally see on regular social media websites. This is crucial when showcasing your creations, especially when those are incredibly detailed 3D pieces.
One more thing that makes ArtStation an absolute must for any artist is that you can turn your profile into a complete resume – you can create folders to organize your artworks and sort them into different categories (e.g. Personal Projects, Sketches and Concept Arts, Environments), list your skills, share the information about your previous experience, and let the community know whether you are open for work and what position you are interested in.
The biggest downside is that it is harder to get noticed if you are only starting to make tentative baby steps in 3D art since there are hundreds of unbelievably skilled artists who have years of experience in big-scale production on ArtStation. That said, the competition for the spotlight on the Explore page is tough, and the website places the most liked artworks at the top of the list. And since the majority of ArtStation users know a thing or two about art, it is harder to impress them than, for example, an average Facebook user.
Best For: Sharing Entertaining or Educational Content
If you are focused on creating animated artworks of any kind, YouTube is often considered a must by default. And it is, indeed, a great place to share your creations simply because at the moment, this is the largest video hosting platform on the web with over 2 billion users. If you search for a video on Google, it will put the relevant posts found on YouTube above all the rest, even if there’s a better fit for your query on Dailymotion or Wistia. That means when you upload a video on YouTube it is more likely to pop up in someone’s Google search than if you post it on a less popular platform.
Another major asset is that on YouTube, there’s an audience for almost any type of videos – you can upload fully assembled scenes, tutorials, breakdowns, reviews, and other kinds of content. Of all these, however, tutorials and breakdowns are probably the best choices if you want to grow your following because most of the time when people want to learn how to do something, they start looking for video lessons on YouTube.
Accessibility makes YouTube a perfect choice since it’s absolutely free and you can upload as many videos as you desire without the need to pay for extra gigabytes of storage. Needless to say, you can even make money on the platform thanks to YouTube’s monetization scheme (this requires a significant amount of views though so you basically need to become YouTube’s second Blender Guru).
On the downside, the quality of the videos uploaded on YouTube is far from mind-blowing and some other video hosting platforms like Vimeo have a way more resolution-friendly compression. Plus, there are not too many tools that allow you to customize the player – for instance, you can’t control the suggested videos that pop up after a user finishes watching yours.
Best For: Sharing Art-Directed VFX Projects
While it might seem like Behance is very similar to ArtStation, there are a few differences, and the first one is that Behance is a lot more diverse. Apart from traditional and digital art, you can find makeup, music, copywriting, stage design, and many other categories on Behance so it is, without exaggeration, a home for all creatives. Just like ArtStation, it allows you to shape your profile into a professional resume – you can list your skills, tell everyone about your educational background and work experience, mention the clients you’ve done commissions for, and choose whether you are willing to receive collaboration offers or are not currently open for work.
Because Behance has been there for over 15 years and ArtStation was only launched in 2014, having a Behance portfolio is crucial for many artists and employers and there are many reasons to love it dearly. Firstly, there are over 10 million users on Behance (compared to ArtStation’s 3+ million) which means more people are going to see your artworks. Plus, when someone reacts to your post, their followers can see it, and that promotes your profile and increases your reach.
Secondly, it’s completely free for all creators, even if you upload dozens of 4K artworks every month. The media files stay crisp and clean, and you can make them into beautifully assembled project presentations where you insert gifs, WIP images, videos, final renders, and any additional information about your artwork.
Finally, just as ArtStation, Behance is a perfect place for finding creative vacancies from all over the world. The list of employers, however, is way more impressive on ArtStation since it has plenty of AAA game studios and high-end VFX companies.
Best For: Sharing Short Films, Breakdowns, Demo Reels, and High-Art Projects
Though YouTube’s audience is about 10 times bigger than Vimeo’s, this video hosting platform is a go-to for many animators, VFX and CG artists, and other creatives. While YouTube has lots of casual viewers who come there purely for entertainment, Vimeo has a tighter community of professionals who use the platform to showcase their works, look for high-quality tutorials, or find new talent to hire. In this sense, if your primary goal is to get noticed by other artists and potential employers rather than attract a broad audience, Vimeo is a perfect choice.
This is not the only reason why creators love this website – in terms of video compression, Vimeo is unmatched since it never makes your media blurry or pixelated, and every frame looks clean and sharp. It also has a minimalistic, non-overwhelming interface which adds to the overall visual cleanliness and makes your profile look professional. The best part is that nothing stands in the way of the users’ viewing experience because there are not any ads that pop up every 3 seconds (and don’t even get me started on the unskippable ones). All this makes Vimeo a perfect place for showcasing your works – even big production studios like REALTIME, Scanline VFX, and Axis Studios use it to upload their reels.
Vimeo’s Basic membership is free for everyone so if you are not planning to upload more than 500MB of content per week and use over 5GB of storage in total, this might be a perfect option for you. However, if you need more space or if you would like to explore Vimeo’s advanced features (player customization, additional privacy options, video creation tools), you will need to pay at least $7 per month for that.
If only it was as easy as posting and waiting for likes, comments, and eventually job offers. You need to take a few more steps to really get noticed online and get your artworks the attention they deserve. So here are some more things you can do:
There are numerous hashtags you can use to promote your post and help other users find it. However, there are two main unspoken rules you need to know – firstly, never use a popular hashtag to attract more viewers if your content has nothing to do with it (e.g. #marvel when your artwork is a portrait of a character from the Harry Potter universe). Again, if you ever create something awesome, tag #RebelwayVFX to be featured on our channel.
Secondly, do not use too many hashtags because it might look like you are a little too desperate for attention and some websites might ban you or flag you as a spam account if you use a crazy amount of hashtags every single time so try to go for no more than 20.
In case you don’t know which ones to use, here are a few hashtags that are popular across all platforms: #3Dart, #3Dartist, #artoftheday, #VFXartist, #animation, #characterart, #environmentart, #gamedevelopment, #indiedev, #gamedesign, and, of course, hashtags that contain the names of the applications you used to create your artwork – #madewithunity, #unrealengine, #substancepainter, #houdini, #zbrush, and others.
As you already know, many companies have official business accounts on social media. When you upload your artwork, it’s always a good idea to tag them in your post – this way you increase your chances of being noticed and quite possibly reposted. On Instagram, you can tag the companies’ profiles right in your picture or video, on some of the other websites you can tag them using the @.
Again, posting your artwork and waiting to be praised is not enough so don’t forget to interact with the other artists on the platforms you use – follow them, leave comments on their posts, reply to those who comment on yours, etc. Apart from that, you can participate in creative challenges and contests – luckily, there is always something going on so don’t ignore the possibility to join in and showcase your art.
Getting noticed is not impossible and thankfully, you don’t need to be an acclaimed VFX genius to grow a big audience or land a job in the industry, you don’t even need to have an educational background in art. It might be hard to start sharing your works when there are so many incredible artists all over the world and so many mind-blowing, absolutely next-level artworks, but everyone starts somewhere so don’t be afraid to post and don’t compare yourself to those who literally have years of experience and a degree in 3D Art.
And if you feel like you need to improve your skills, there are plenty of awesome online courses for aspiring digital artists. If you are not sure what you might need on your artistic journey, take our Course Quiz. If you are new to VFX, check out our Houdini Fundamentals course for complete beginners where you can learn the basics of creating amazing visuals using SideFX Houdini. You can also fill out the box below to get free lessons from the course.
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Frédérik Barbeau on his experience as a 3D art student in college vs. at Rebelway and landing his first gig as a VFX artist.
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