VFX Careers: A Complete Guide to VFX Salaries and Entering the VFX Industry

VFX Careers: A Complete Guide to VFX Salaries and Entering the VFX Industry

August 8, 2023
David Lugo

Learn about VFX salaries, entry-level positions, and some of the key positions you can hold as a VFX artist.

Whether you are a movie or video game buff, or just like a technical challenge, you might consider entering the visual effects (VFX) industry. VFX is a rapidly growing industry, expected to be valued at over $18 billion by 2028.

There are a wide variety of positions available within the VFX industry. Even within a VFX studio, people have different specializations and responsibilities. For example, animators, environment artists, compositors, and concept artists all have critical, yet specialized, roles in creating realistic visual effects.

Before we get started, you need to know about our Free Practice Footage Library.

Download Free VFX Practice Footage

Whether you're an aspiring artist or an industry veteran, finding quality footage to practice VFX techniques can be a daunting task. That's why we are thrilled to tell you our Free Practice Footage Library is now available to you at no cost. This new library will offer production-quality practice footage that empowers artists to practice, create, and innovate.

Let's get started! First, check out the video below for must-know terms in the industry from our friends over at Film Riot. And if you want an overview of different roles within the VFX industry, read this helpful summary.

Am I a Good Fit for VFX?

While each specialization within VFX is different, there are a few characteristics that VFX artists learn to exemplify. Here are three that are important for you as an aspiring VFX artist to exhibit.


VFX is an art! A good VFX artist has a strong aesthetic sense. Additionally, an understanding of traditional arts like painting, videography, and photography can be very helpful.

Attention to Detail

You know a VFX artist has done his or her job when nobody notices that the scene is created with VFX. But even a small mistake can ruin the illusion the VFX artist is trying to create. As a result, it’s important for VFX artists to pay attention to small details.

Things like improper lighting, poor motion tracking, or unrealistic physics can all make a scene seem “off” to an audience, or worse, make it altogether unrealistic.

As a humorous example of how important realism is to VFX, check out our own VFX artists reacting to their first composites: 

Patience and Persistence

Creating high-quality visuals can be a meticulous process. But it’s always rewarding when you create a highly realistic shot! VFX artists often need to make revisions to a shot based on feedback from VFX supervisors, or spend a lot of time carefully improving a shot. Especially as an entry-level VFX artist, it is important to seek out constructive criticism from more experienced artists. The hard work will pay off, so don’t give up!

Entry Level VFX Jobs

As with any industry, working to the top of the VFX industry requires a lot of hard work and dedication. When starting out in VFX, it’s important to try different things and be hungry to learn more.

In this blog, we discuss several key things for anyone pursuing a career in VFX.

Here are a few positions that beginner VFX artists often hold before being hired by a VFX studio.

VFX Internships

Getting an internship in VFX can be a valuable way to gain practical experience in the industry. As a VFX intern, you have the opportunity to try new things and learn from VFX artists in a real-world environment.

Many VFX internships pay between $10-$18 per hour. 

Preparing for Your VFX Internship

Many internship positions require experience in Adobe After Effects or other compositing software. However, there are a lot of resources available to get started! At ActionVFX, we offer a number of free tutorials in popular VFX software including After Effects, Fusion, and Nuke.

In this blog, we cover a few great choices for learning VFX from home.

Additionally, we are excited to be launching our Practice Footage Library soon. This will allow VFX students to practice their VFX skills using production-quality resources. Pairing this resource with our library of free VFX assets is a great way to hone your compositing skills for free.

You can sign up to be notified about the Practice Footage Library here:

Junior VFX Artists

This is an entry-level position in the VFX industry. Junior artists are typically recent graduates or individuals new to the industry. They work under the supervision of more experienced artists and their tasks often include creating simple effects, cleaning up scenes, and other basic tasks.

Junior VFX Artist Requirements

Junior VFX artists are usually required to be familiar with industry-standard software like After Effects, Cinema 4D, Nuke, Houdini, or others. The specific software depends on what kind of work you will be doing as a junior artist.

Creating a VFX showreel or portfolio can help set you apart as a candidate.

Junior VFX Artist Salary

The average salary for a Junior VFX Artist is typically between $40,000 and $60,000 per year.

Mid-Level VFX Artists

Mid-level, or intermediate, VFX artists generally have at least a year of experience working at a studio as a junior VFX artist. They often work on key studio projects and oversee junior artists.

Here is a helpful article from CG Spectrum on advancing from a junior to a mid-level artist.

Mid-Level VFX Artist Salary

The average salary for a mid-level VFX artist is approximately between $60,000 and $80,000 per year.

VFX Artist Salaries

Let's take a look at a few of the common job roles in the VFX industry and their corresponding salary ranges.

For a more specific breakdown of VFX artist salaries, watch this video from Rebelway:

VFX Compositors

Compositors are responsible for combining various elements such as live-action footage, CGI elements, and special effects into seamless final shots. They play a crucial role in bringing visual effects to life.

VFX Compositor Salary

While your salary as a VFX compositor will vary depending on factors like your studio and region, the salary range for compositors generally falls between $50,000 and $90,000 per year.

VFX Producers

If you enjoy tasks like project management, budgeting, and team/client coordination, VFX Producer may be the job for you. VFX Producers oversee both the creative and administrative facets of a VFX project. They ensure that the project is completed on time, within budget, and to the client's satisfaction. VFX Producers also negotiate contracts, manage resources, and oversee the overall project from a business and logistical perspective.

VFX Producer Salary

VFX producers often make upwards of $100,000. Top-tier producers of large projects can make over $200,000. The exact salary a VFX Producer should expect based on the studio, region, and their level of experience.

VFX Supervisors

VFX Supervisors work closely with the director and cinematographer to understand the visual goals of the project and then lead the VFX team to achieve those goals. They make key decisions on technical methods and artistic approaches, oversee VFX artists' work, and ensure the final visual effects align with the project's vision. VFX Supervisors often have a strong background in art, animation, or computer graphics, and a deep understanding of VFX technologies and techniques. 

VFX Supervisor Salary

Due to their high level of expertise and leadership responsibilities, VFX supervisors command higher salaries compared to other roles in the industry. Their salary range typically starts from $80,000 per year and can go up to $150,000 or more.

Getting a Job in VFX

If you are considering starting a career in VFX, you have come to the right place! While we primarily serve large VFX studios, we love seeing young artists get started in VFX. 

Here are some resources that you may find helpful:

Never heard of ActionVFX? Simply put, we exist to make VFX artists’ lives easier. ActionVFX houses the world’s largest library of production-quality VFX stock footage assets in the world. Our assets are regularly trusted by the world’s best VFX artists and filmmakers.

Interested in learning more or creating with us? Explore our VFX library or join AVFX+ today!

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