Getting Into VFX: Apprenticeships

By Amy Smith, Framestore | 10th January 2018

Did you know that the last four visual effects (VFX) Oscars were won by UK companies? Or that most of the VFX for all the Harry Potter films were made here?

VFX is an exciting and thriving industry that continues to grow as our work becomes more important to the films, television series and advertisements that we create.

It employs people from hugely diverse backgrounds. From physicists to illustrators, engineers to photographers, the mix of technical and artistic skills is vital to our work. Most of them knew that they wanted to do something creative that involved using a computer. Some of them thought they might work in games, some thought that they might make comic books and some thought that they might be coding for a living. What they all have in common though is that they found the perfect mix of their interests in making Iron Man, Dobby and Baby Groot come to life on the big screen!

Initially, pursuing a career in VFX is about breaking the mould and knowing that an interest in science and an interest in art isn’t a bad thing! But if you’re interested in being more focussed, there are several specific diplomas available. Several studios helped to develop an extended diploma in games, animation and visual effects skills that is run at several colleges around the country. You can find out more information about that here.

The key to finding a job as a VFX artist is to create a portfolio. You can develop your portfolio any way you like; learning at home with free licences of our key software such as Maya or Nuke, learning at school or college, through an apprenticeship or a degree. There are many routes for you to join!

A selection of UK VFX studios run two apprenticeships for anyone aged 18 or over. The Assistant Technical Director apprenticeship is more maths and coding based and the Junior 2D Artist apprenticeship is more photography and computer art based.

If you decide to pursue a degree, then you could look at any number of VFX or computer animation degrees around the country. Some of the best ones are approved by industry and you can find out more about them and careers in the industry here.