How-To Get Started In Visual Effects

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Matthew Curtis

It isn’t easy creating art, but with a little practice and hard hard you can make something amazing!

Matt Curtis, Journalist

Here I was, a twelve-year-old staring at my first visual effects rendering on my computer. I watched as the lightsaber I had added was wobbling and never staying on the hilt of the sword I had placed it onto. I decided that it was too hard to fix and deleted the visual effects software I had downloaded.

One year later, I redownloaded that software and tried again. I’d love to say that it worked and I instantly mastered the software. But no, I failed again. This time, however, I decided to keep going. I figured out how to use that software and improve my abilities. Nearly five years later, I’m creating complex visual effects that look photorealistic. In this article, I will tell you how to get started in visual effects by providing you with the tools and resources you need to begin creating!

To start, you are going to need visual effects software. There are many different visual effects software out there like Hit Film, Nuke, and Final Cut Pro. Personally, I use Adobe After Effects. I’ve used it for years and once you learn the basics it’s fairly easy to advance. Adobe After Effects costs $20.99/m. I think the price is worth it for the power you get out of it. If you want to get more advanced you can purchase 3D software like Maya, 3Ds Max, and Cinema 4D. These are expensive and I wouldn’t recommend starting there. I’d recommend using Blender. Blender is a free 3D software that is extremely powerful. It is actually being used in some movie productions. I use Blender and with each new update, it gets easier to use and produces more powerful results. I wouldn’t be surprised if it soon surpasses all the expensive 3D software out there.

You can’t just have software to start out with, you have to have a way of learning. You can buy a course off of Udemy or some other place to buy a visual effects course to start your journey. However, I’ve never paid to learn how to do visual effects. I started by copying youtube tutorials. The first tutorial I’ve ever watched was to learn how to become Ant-man. I copied every move the guy made even though I had no idea what he was doing. After a few tutorials, I began to understand how certain tools in After Effects work. I’d recommend practicing and experimenting with some of the tools inside After Effects to better understand how they work.

Finally, think about your end result. What do you want to accomplish? Don’t try to make it too hard, you are just starting out. Also, don’t expect your first creation to look good, it will probably look really bad. You can one day achieve a good looking visual effect if you don’t let the initial failures and inadequacies cause you to quite. Happy editing!