Room for Improvement

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Josh Johnson
Josh Johnson



The world of Visual Effects (VFX) and Motion Graphics is expansive. There are many different disciplines and a multitude of software packages to choose from when working on projects. On top of that, software packages have yearly updates as technology continues to improve. As a VFX and Motion GFX artist, this means practice is a must. As artists, our jobs don’t take an 8 to 5 route, and we also can’t wait for the moment of inspiration. We must constantly be working to not only improve our current skills, but also to learn new techniques and methods to bring to the next project. Integrating computer generated imagery (CGI) into live action footage or photographs during your spare time may not seem like a way to spend an evening, but this work directly affects the quality of the projects I complete for projects every day.

Take those down hours when you don’t have a impending deadline or an account executive breathing down your neck to let your imagination run wild. You’ll feel the passion to do it because its what you want to do and you’ll also bring a new skill set to the table to impress clients and, hopefully, your higher ups.

Creating water, smoke and fire in 3D is a pretty complex task. To acquire production ready skills with fluid simulations, it will take a lot practice and this most certainly includes working after hours to perfect them. Recently, I had a project at work where a client wanted a specific animation. It just so happened the only way to create this animation was with a fluid simulation. Luckily, I had spent the past year refining my skills in this area and it allowed me to create an animation with which the client was really happy.

Whether you are a freelance artist or you work for a larger company, it’s important to market yourself. Being an artist, you must have your own brand and style that people need to notice and know about. The more people that know about your art and can see a connection between you and a specific style, the more successful you will be in building your personal brand and the brand of your organization. Having a personal website, Vimeo page and/or social network presence is a must, and this too must reflect your personality and style. The late Steve Jobs said this: “The important thing is not the idea. The important thing is the people.” The only way people will know that you are important is if you show them.

Constantly improving your skills will benefit the company you work at, but it will also ensure you are the best artist you can be. Spending some of your free time on improving your skills should be a given. If your job isn’t a passionate hobby of yours, then what are you doing?

Continue the Discussion

Do you “practice your craft” outside the office? Why or why not?

Evaluate yourself. What can you be doing to improve?

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