How To Get Started in Visual Effects (in 2019)

The question I get asked the most is: “How to get started in Visual Effects?”

In 2019, we’re in the information age — with so many resources, so much information that it’s so easy to get overwhelmed that we stop, before we even begin.

There IS information out there on this topic, but most of it is quite literal “go to Gnomon, or some VFX school” “DONE”. Most of us don’t have the luxury to spend $80,000+ (USD) to attend Gnomon or similar schools. And, who’s to say that is actually the answer?

In the beginning, we just want to hit the ground running. I wanted to focus on this topic from the point of minimizing the time, minimizing the noise, and how to get clarity in your goals and what you truly should be focusing on.

What software is best, Houdini, Cinema 4d, 3ds Max, Maya, Blender or After Effects, Photoshop or any others. Who you should listen to or what resources to study, or what specifically you want to do, whether it’s visual effects in terms of compositor, technical director, creature animator or many other disciplines — let’s get clarity on what this means TO YOU.

It’s so simple to know where your attention should go — once you really hone in on what your goals are. And in this video I want to break through the noise and really get to the essence of what you want to do, and simply answer the question “How to get started in Visual Effects”.

QUICK QUESTION – Please leave a comment: What websites or resources do you find valuable for learning or keeping up to date with the latest design and VFX news? Or other goldmines on the web that others might not know about

FREE GUIDE – If you want to download the FREE guide I wrote on how to make a Demo Reel (from an employers perspective) go to www.allanmckay.com/myreel/


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Youtube comments:

Jonathan Sanchez
sub spanish! please haha
Suraj Shukla
The way you explain is 👌, subbed immediately 🙏 Hope to learn so much this year
Guilherme Silveira
You have a amazing content!!
D Max
hahah.. yeah you brought back some memories.. (I'm a 3ds /AE guy) saying these other software are the bomb light wave, Softimage. Allan, I don't even know what Houdini is.. (sometimes we get Siloed in our own little world). I don't think I'll look into anything else just yet. pretty happy where I live.
D Max
Holy CRap!! Thanks my friend! I'm watching all your stuff.. I don't need a job at ILM but I've been doing this stuff for 15 years or so and SUPER HAPPY to have found your channel after all this time.. I subd and belled. I was really bored during the lockdown, so I built a motion simulator to race with.. but I really want to start modding again with the cars I race. Just started a YT ch a couple months ago. want to bring the 3d stuff into it. not sure how yet. but I ramble, but I'm older so forgive me.. DMAX motion Sim
Yana Kravets
Thank u a lot!
Barneys AnNobleys
Hi Allan, you've been very inspiring with your videos, thank you for that, really! Is there an email where can I contact you if you're not too busy? I wish to write up a question/doubt that I have and it'd be great to hear your advice. Thank you!
AMAZING! Ty so much for this!! Love it!
why he looks sad
Thanks man, you gave real advice. Everybody else just talks for 20 minutes.
Mahmoud Nessim
I really want to learn VFX as I admire the fire scene in shuttle island when DiCaprio's wife burned when he hugged her and I really watched this scene hundred times and never got born but I don't know this scene is under which type of VFX ?
Thank you so much for the video Allan! Especially the advice regarding cutting the noise, and finding what you want to do. I was being really overwhelmed by all the different things I could do. Your advice about looking at the scenes/art that made me want to do 3D really helped clear a lot. Somehow, sometimes, a single sentence clears a lot of built-up doubts, like sharp wind cutting throught the heat. Thank you! Hope to meet you someday!
Маришка Г
thank you so much for doing that video. it helped me to realise what do I really need and what do I really want. Thank you for amazing advices. I guess that just have changed my life
Konark Sharma
You have cleared out so many of my doubts and questions. I was getting so overwhelmed by the visual effects concepts as there are so many things to learn and so many forums to see. As I want to be a compositor in dneg , now listening to you have cleared so many things. I have one question, as I'm in year 12 and planning to visual effects do you a degree is important to get a job or diploma also works when I am applying in different countries? Last question what do you think about lost boys school for visual effects? Any recommendations for schools/colleges?
I'm fist step in 3ds max Allan! Inspire and aspire to level up with profound knowledge Your words really provoking the best ways to choose! Thank you so much Allan phinominal impact!
Prashant Jain
Hey Allan, if I want to learn animation, do I need to learn advanced modeling too?
Terry Roussel
Hi Allan. I'm a new, low budget screenwriter. Seeking to find an experienced VFX guy to consult with me on the possibilities for crafting scenes as I write the screenplay. Any referrals would be great. Thank you.
Arts Supremo
In my country if u focus on one field u gonna die as a 3dartist .
Rashed Syed
Two questions. 1. Is it okay to learn one type specialization to get a job or does one need to know the basics of everything and kind of master one thing. 2. What material do you suggest i study / learn if I want to learn VFX for fantasy landscapes / nature etc. Is this area called something special? Is it recommended to delve into this as a beginner. Thanks
FX mania
If you want to learn to do FX cool visual quick : https://www.youtube.com/channel/UCJ4_8eG2gc-xDdw2TpDDjEQ