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
Noah Vasatko
so for me i downloaded AfterEffects and blender a week ago and since then i'm setting things on fire and/or blowing my freinds up. So i think I'm an explosion klinda guy maybe? xD I chose those two programms mainly because after effects is basically free and blender is actually free.. and also because i didn't want to spend idk how many 1000€ on software I'm not sure yet how long or intenive i'm gonna use it.. feel free to answer this comment if y'all have anything interesting to say to that
A nice video but sir i really have interest in visual effects and i want to go in environment and level designing but i freaked out whenever i open an software like after effects or Auto desk maya. I still want to learn. how ma i supposed to get past it?
Laylow Flowz
So no ones gonna pint out the poop gold book????
Toni Harm
Can you recommend any online courses? Im prepared to pay
Thanks for showing great videos! I am a student who studies VFX compositing. I have one question, basically, I'm dealing with the only Nuke, Should I study Maya too..? I'm just wondering that Maya is a helpful program for learning VFX compositing.
Sanket Das
Do I need to learn programming if I want to become a 3d asset designer in game industry because So many companies need a designer who possess the knowledge of programming ?
You came like a glove Allan really, today was thinking on how i could possibly start studying VFX and i just couldn`t find the best path. You just show me the best way to begin, thank you so much!
Hey Allen, this is the third time I am watching this video. Very inspirational, thank you for sharing. I am a Technical Artist with a few years of experience in Automotive UI/UX, Real time graphics. However I often feels stuck due to the fact that TA and TD jobs involve quite a few tools and skills needed and its very easy to get lost in all that information. Your advice in this video definitely helps clear my mind. Thanks again and keep up the good work!
michael desilva
Hi allan mckay, my age is 28 and as am working as a technical illustrator in Lionbrige technologoes inc.i want to learn and i want change carrer to visual effects so please guide me for that whats the steps i want to take?
Hi Allan! This was the nice fresh breeze I needed. I was feeling stuck just before I started but this defo made me raise my head and look forward! I'm giving my first steps into Compositing,... trying to learn a little bit of roto, matte painting, camera projection... When you talk about our "Sunday goal", is it a good way to try and replicate a scene? For example, I love that Stranger Things season 3 part where Will comes out of the Arcade Games bar and the Shadow monster appears very far away, with all those clouds and red scenery. Should I put all my efforts in trying to recreate that? Thanks in advance!!
Heitor Augusto Pereira
Great, I can't decide between Nuke or Fusion. My heart wants Fusion, but the standard is Nuke. Should I follow my heart or companies?
Nabeel Altamash
Titanic Lover
Alan sir which is the right PC Mac or built pc
VIctor Gama Sabbithi
Any suggestions for someone who has been working in the industry but maybe not really going in the direction... but already 10years into the field... E.g. - I started out learning particles, character animations, creating short stories.. however ended up in ArchViz... and stayed in it for almost 8 years now. However, I want to get back into what I originally started out to be... but feel the learning curve is too far out there now.
Errol Davis
I'm a new animation and VFX student from Jamaica. Studying in New York. Working towards the game industry. Just wanted to say thank you the video helped a lot.
You are super creater sir
shey kaja
Best guider 💕
yasir aboobakar
You are awesome
Santhosh A
Hi i am a professional graphic designer good at photoshop aparr frim that i wanted to lear vfx from the basic so can u help me