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FAQ

How is the life of VFX artists?

It is very much a lifestyle of feast or famine. Sometimes there will be so much work that you don’t have enough hours in the day to get all your work done. As a consequence, you make a boatload of money in overtime. Other times, no one is hiring and you run the risk of being out of work for months at a time if you aren’t careful. Or, if there is work, your hours get cut back to 3/4 or 1/2 time.

Another issue is that VFX work goes where ever the most aggressive subsidies are. A few years ago, that was London. Now many of the studios are setting up shop in Vancouver, Canada. Don’t be surprised about moving to a completely different country every year or two. If you are (very) young and single, this can be exciting. But it wears thin quickly. I have friends who left the industry in their late twenties because they were just becoming too exhausted from the constant moving.

There are very few full time positions in VFX; expect to be an un-benefitted contract employee for the next 10-15 years.

In the worst of shops, you will be heavily pressured to work unpaid overtime. Only work in a place like this if you have no other choice. As Admiral Ackbar says “It’s a trap!”

The reason for all these things is because the VFX industry does fixed bids in a creative industry, which means unexpected revisions are frequent; thus VFX shops often have slim profit margins (if they are even making money at all) and this trickles down to the artists. People are the most expensive asset of any company, including VFX. So, laying off people at the end of every show and never offering benefits allows shops to (theoretically) stay afloat.

In short, the industry as a whole is broken. You may get an opportunity to work at a studio that treats their employees great. Don’t let this experience fool you; they are the exception, not the rule. I personally expect the industry to implode on itself in the next decade and I hope it will then rebuild itself as something more sustainable. Only time will tell.

On a positive note, there are a lot of great people you can work with. It is one of the only reasons I have stuck around as long as I have. Also, the work itself is usually very interesting and fun. But, as an employee you will be treated pretty poorly, sometimes because your boss or manager is a jerk, but most often because they are just trying to stay in the black.

My advice? Look to animation or video games. Many aspects of the work are similar, but you get treated far better because the studios are usually creating their own content, and so benefit financially from the product’s success. This, in turn, trickles down to the employees who are seen as essential assets and are treated well compared to VFX artists.

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    What is the monthly salary of an animator, VFX in India?

    Absolutely Visual Effects Artist can have a great career and also very high salary which is the most attractive part of this profession. Salaries are in the range 8-15 K for freshers. But after experience in MNCs like Pixar, Technicolour (Bangalore), Rythm and Hues (Hyderabad) salaries are more than software engineers. Actually there are some guys with 5 years of experiences who are getting 70 K per month.

    Well if you are a hardworker and passionate you will have a handsome income, because hard work is always paid of whatsoever be the career. Remember, your Career is a resultant of your knowledge combined with your passion and expression ability. And VFX is really a cool career because VFX industry demand is increasing in India also abroad. In India,there are already many visual effects studios that provide visual effects for Bollywood films and some of them now provide visual effects for Hollywood as well. The demand for more studios is only going to increase over time as the demand for visual effects increases and India’s capability for producing it improves.

    Outlook:

    According to the BLS, the demand for multimedia artists and animators was expected to grow about six percent, slower than the average for all professions, from 2012-2022. This anticipated growth was attributed to an expected increase in demands for special effects in the film industry and graphics for mobile technologies. Incidentally, the film industry was the largest and best-paying employer of visual effects artists in 2013. The creation of computer-generated animation in the scientific research and design was also expected to add opportunities for visual effects artists.

    Requirements:

    Students need to have a firm understanding of standard software tools of the industry, such as Houdini, Nuke, RenderMan, Adobe CS5, mental ray, and Autodesk Maya. Although a degree is not necessarily required for jobs in this field, a bachelor’s degree is standard

    Hope this helps. All the best 🙂

    How do I become a successful VFX artist?

    Skills to become a good vfx artist?Here are they:

    Patience,lots of Patience:

    It’s true!You won’t succed in a short amount of time.First few years you will have to just strive and struggle and then,if you are good,you will reap benefits.

    Practice:

    That’s the most important part of your career in this field.Get every minute of practice you can get.Remember,you reap what you sow!

    Be ready to work at a very low salary:

    A roto artist in Mumbai’s top studios gets paid Rs.9000 per month and that too after your training session is completed.It’s true!Your teachers won’t tell you that at the start of your course or degree in this field.Sometimes,you would even have to work for free just to gain experience and that’s a reality.

    Education:

    Speaking of courses,don’t opt for just courses and their big names,opt for knowledge instead.Find what suits you best and learn those skills in softwares such as Nuke,Photoshop,Silhoutte and Graphic design as well.

    Be ready to leave:

    If you think this field doesn’t suit you,don’t continue.Leave if you find it hard or you don’t think it’s best for you.Don’t worry about people and their negative remarks and comments .It is you who you want to be in control and master of your life not them!

    How much are VFX people usually paid?

    In India, junior animators could get between Rs. 8K-15K per month. With 3-5 years of experience, they can earn Rs. 30K – 40K.

    A well-experienced animator who has a good portfolio of excellent animation work could easily get Rs. 50K – 60K per month. An applicant wishing to pursue a career in animation, VFX, and gaming can start with an average salary of around Rs 1.2 lakh per annum and can reach up to 7 lakh per annum depending on the different profiles an individual chooses.

    Once you have established yourself in this field, you can move to another position after approximately 10 years. It will give you sufficient time to learn the tricks of the trade and excel in the current field. The salary for a VFX Artist has seen an upward trend in the past few years and this is something that needs to be taken into consideration when picking this line. The demand for a VFX artist and animator will always be high. However, you need to make an effort for you to get to a high paying level.

    How do I start a VFX studio?

    The first question you have to ask yourself is how big is your team? The bigger your team the bigger and more challenging the work you can take on, but you will also need more infrastructure to support your operation – a big enough office to hold your crew, air conditioning for the machinery and so on. You then have to start thinking about things like toilet facilities, cleaning staff etc.

    However, let’s assume that you’re starting out with a couple of friends – a setup small enough that you can run it out of someone’s house. The first order of business will be getting your first job and then delivering on time on budget – this is often the thing that catches people out, sure your work looks great but if you miss the delivery or blow the budget then you won’t get any more work. It’s advisable to start modestly – aim at something that you know you can deliver and where the client is confident that you can do so. Small independent movies, TV shows and possibly commercials are likely to be where the work is to be found. Be brutally realistic about what’s achievable – it’s amazing how many people come unstuck because they can’t do basic maths, ie if it takes one person a week to do this bit of work then how many people do I need (or how long for one person) to do ten times that much.

    It’s worth bearing in mind that as a new outfit without any proven track record of delivering the goods you will probably have to be able to work cheaper or faster than other established shops – the clients will know that and negotiate accordingly. On the other hand, lower-budget jobs are often where you get a higher degree of creative freedom and input.

    Be professional – nobody cares how good your work is if there’s no one answering the phones or returning emails. When the client calls to find out when the shots are delivering make sure you give them a sensible and timely answer. Make sure you have someone in your team who is taking care of business, keeping on top of the admin of the job and the company – most start out VFX companies die in the first 24 months due to cashflow problems.

    In summary: start modestly, don’t overreach, be prepared to negotiate with clients and make sure you have a solid producer/manager.

    Answered by Mr Franklin, Founder of Double Negative.