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Reel Opportunities

Previsualisation (Previs) Artist

Also known as: Previs Animator, Previs Lead, Previs Modeller

What does a Previsualisation Artist do?

Previsualization (Previs) Artists help to plan out what a film is going to look like. Previs is the process of visualizing a scene before creating it.

Previs Artists generally takes the form of a 3D animatics, namely a rough version of a scene or scenes. Previs Artists usually start with a 2D storyboard from a Concept Artist. They create draft versions of the different moving image sequences and they put it all together using their compositing and editing skills.

The previs process is used to plan shots, work out the scale and timing and to show roughly where the characters are going to move. It’s used to map out how the visual effects (VFX) will fit into an otherwise live-action scene. Creating previs can save films and television series and shows valuable time and money on set or in post-production.

Once a film is in production, Previs Artists help the other VFX Artists maintain a consistent style in their work.

Previs Artists are either employed by VFX studios or they work as freelancers.

What's a Previsualisation Artist good at?
  • Cinematography

    Have a good artistic eye for composition, particularly for camera shots and movements

  • Creativity

    Be able to tell a story in the previs work that you produce, come up with original ideas for what the shots should look like and spark the director’s imagination

  • 3D software

    Have a high level of skill using 3D animation and VFX software and a strong understanding of form and volume (the way that objects exist and move in 3D), coding skills are also useful

  • Basic editing skills

    Have basic video editing skills as well as some knowledge of rendering and compositing, which you can use to create animatics

  • Organization

    Have excellent organizational skills, stick to production schedules and budgets, be on top of your data management

  • Communication

    Work well within a team, understand and help to achieve the director’s vision

Who does a Previsualisation Artist work with?

Previs Artists work closely with the Director. They also communicate regularly with the production management team to ensure the project meets its deadlines. They usually report to the VFX Supervisor.

How do I become a Previsualisation Artist?

To become a Previs Artist, you need to understand the VFX production pipeline and have a high level of skill in using 3D software. You might progress to this role by first becoming an Assistant Technical Director. Or, you might go the route of becoming an Environment Artist and later transferring your skills to previs. Previs Artists often obtain a degree in animation, computer science, film production, or a related discipline. The most important thing to do is to develop a strong portfolio which demonstrates a talent for cinematography and visual storytelling.

Build a portfolio: Learn how to use, and then experiment with, VFX programs and create a showreel that you can show to admissions tutors or employers. It’s really important to develop your appreciation for VFX. Make sure you’re familiar with what’s out there.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

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Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.