Reel Opportunities

VFX Supervisor

Also known as: Lead Visual Effects (VFX) Artist, Senior VFX Artist

What does a VFX Supervisor do?

This role is responsible for overseeing all VFX work and managing technical and artistic VFX personnel. While it is a creative role, most Visual FX Supervisors possess a strong technical background and are capable of making informed decisions about the most efficient and effective technique to employ to solve the problem at hand. Often a supervisor will work in tandem with a Visual Effects Producer and Computer Graphics Supervisor.

VFX Supervisors begin their work on a project in the early stages of pre-production. They are the main point of liaison between a VFX studio and the Director or Producer of the film or TV program. Together, they decide on what VFX is needed for every shot of the film. VFX Supervisors then work with the VFX Artists to create prototype materials to present. These can include concept art and 3D computer-generated images (CG). The prototype materials help to inform the style of the VFX in the production.

VFX Supervisors are present for filming during production so that they can see if the shots are satisfactory and will work with the VFX elements. VFX supervisors continue to lead their team when the film is being put together during post-production. They oversee the quality of all work produced and make sure that it is in line with the vision of the Director and/or Producer.

What's a VFX Supervisor good at?
  • Art

    Have excellent design, layout, colour, and composition skills

  • Knowledge of photography

    Understand cameras, cinematography, and how films are made, be able to influence the shoot so it works for the VFX

  • Knowledge of VFX programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as Maya, Blender, Nuke, and Photoshop

  • Collaboration

    Work in pre-production with the director or producer to decide on which shots will need VFX work, respond to their creative and artistic direction

  • Leadership

    Share the director or producers’ vision of the film with the VFX artists of all departments, inspire them to do their best work, manage their output in terms of quality and deadlines

  • Communication

    Be able to clearly articulate what needs to be done on-set to achieve the desired VFX shots, be able to relay information between the production and your artists

Who does a VFX Supervisor work with?

VFX Supervisors work with film Directors and Producers. Together, they decide on what VFX is needed for every shot of a film. They also lead all of the different kinds of VFX Artists within a VFX company or studio.

How do I become a VFX Supervisor?

The VFX Supervisor job is the highest leadership role within an entire VFX company or studio; therefore, you will work in other, more junior, VFX roles first before reaching this position. VFX Supervisors need the same technical skills and relevant software proficiency as Junior VFX Artists do, so you could start VFX work as a Roto Artist or Prep Artist and progress from there. In this case, an important thing that you can do is to create a show-reel to illustrate your abilities (even established VFX supervisors can have their own show-reels). Alternatively, you can start work in the production department as a Production Coordinator or Production Assistant and go from there.

Educational requirements: A college degree in film and TV production, computer animation, or art and design is key. These are taught at many colleges, universities, and art schools. Training in the use of visual effects and animation software is a must.

More tips

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