A step by step guide to starting in VFX

By Thor Ahird | 24th August 2018

OK, so you’re really interested in VFX - it looks cool. But how do you start learning how to do it? What do you need to do first?

One good way to get into VFX is by shooting and editing your own productions in your own time.

Here’s 7 steps to VFX genius!

First step:

Start making films. Start simple. Shoot on your mobile if you can’t get access to a video camera. If you have access to a computer look for free software like HitFilm Express which allows you to edit and do VFX! (Other software is available)

Second Step:

Working in a team multiplies the possibilities. Get together with some mates and decide to make something. Maybe shoot a sci-fi epic or a gangster or horror film; (whatever you get excited about) in your own back yard. Get some friends to act. Ask teachers or relatives if they’ll help you. You’ll find many adults will appreciate it if you are trying something off your own back and support you. Buy, beg or borrow props.

Third Step:

Have fun. This whole journey doesn’t work unless you can have a laugh along the way. Things will go wrong, or not turn out how you expect. If you take it too seriously you’ll just give up. You might even want to make a spoof or a comedy.

Fourth Step:

Show your work. Don’t just put it on YouTube, but really make sure people know about it. Find other people who are into the same things and show them. Even organise a screening.

Fifth Step:

Look back at what you’ve made and decide how you’ll make your next piece even bigger and more ambitious. What did you learn? How are you going to attract a bigger audience next time?

Sixth Step:

Now you are good at filming (after a few mistakes and trial runs), think about learning more VFX to put in your next production. Do some experiments and tests. Don’t try to make a Marvel Film. Thousands of people worked on Thanos’s chin or Tony Stark’s toenail, so don’t expect to do something similar on your own. Instead, use the area where you live as a backdrop to a story that needs VFX. Learn greenscreen and make your own screen.

Seventh step:

You’re on your way to VFX mastery. Just keep repeating steps 1-6. You’d be surprised at how many of the VFX Superstars who now work on Star Wars and countless superheroes films started out like this.