Unfortunately, being a great VFX artist is more than possessing the mere knowledge of a handful of processes & programs. Special effects encompass a range of domains – digital set design, compositing, animation, etc. In order to be a successful mechanical effects artist, you have to become proficient with multiple skill sets across a wide range of domains.
Experienced VFX professionals who have honed their skills over decades across a wide range of processes possess the adequate know-how to preside over the complete special effects operations of major projects. As opposed to the micro-level understanding of the requirement that an amateur artist would have, veteran artists can constructively contribute to every mechanical effects facet of the project & add substantial value to it.
There are salient skill-sets within the sphere of visual effects that are must-haves for amateurs & veteran professionals alike. Developing your prowess in these verticals will definitely give you an enviable edge when it comes to rising up the career ladder.
Achieving the perfect motion tracking sequence can be a challenge. Even the slightest displacement of your special effects assets will be noticeable to your viewer. In addition to coming across as unprofessional, it will completely defeat the purpose of your arduous labor. If your sequence doesn’t track smoothly, even by just 1 or 2 frames, the whole exercise will be futile.
One of the most effective ways to make motion tracking easy is the extensive use of locked down shots. You can always add the camera shake in post-production. There are plenty of free plug-ins available that can mimic the handheld camera look in a realistic fashion on static mechanical effects shot. One drawback to using such techniques on a regular basis is that, sooner or later, you are bound to come across shots that cannot be locked down.
A Great Key
There is no dearth of professional keying programs out there. With the help of a simple color picker tool, even an amateur visual effects artist can remove a blue or a green screen. However, if you want to create the perfect key, it takes years of nurtured skills to distinguish between the different parameters & how they complement each other.
Rotoscoping & removing objects
With recent advances in technology, object removal & rotoscoping has become easier. By no means has this made special effects work any less challenging. Tracking markers & removing wires continue to be tedious tasks. Any mechanical effects professional who is able to accomplish the same with panache will always be sought after by top studios & production houses.
A good way to become skilled with advanced rotoscoping is to log in innumerable hours working upon diverse scenarios. This will enable you to master the different masks & selection tools while working with different footage types.
Any visual effects artist who works with video footage is, by default, working in 3D. In order to fit your VFX into the dimensions of the scene that you are working on, it is imperative that you possess at least a rudimentary idea of 3D modeling. This is required in order to deliver textured or customized 3D assets. If you want your special effects to have an enduring impact, we recommend matte painting in order to create scenic special effects.
Do not become complacent
In the scenario that you have attained a reasonable position within the Special effects industry, we strongly suggest that you do not rest on your laurels. The industry is growing in leaps & bounds. Along with it is growing an abundance of scope & opportunities not just for amateurs but also veterans who can rise even higher, assume greater responsibilities & explore more interesting or exciting profiles.
Subscribe to VFX tutorial channels on YouTube of your liking & make sure that you watch at least a couple of videos every week. You’ll be surprised by how much you can learn from fellow artists who bring their own originality & innovation to the table. Their technique & style will help you to discover new angles in your own work.