Visual Effects differ from special effects in that they?re used post-production to enhance movies and television shows or to convey a commercial?s message. They are used for scenes that would otherwise be impossible, expensive, or too dangerous on a real set. They are also used to create the visual elements of video games. Visual Effects colleges typically incorporate coursework such as foundations (learning how the set works: lighting, lenses, and camera composition and movement), digital composition, matchmaking (learning how to incorporate the effects into a live shot), stereoscopic conversion (2D to 3D), and motion graphics. It is often required to write a script, before working out the storyboard and animation for the project. Internships offer great opportunities to make much-needed contacts once Visual Effects diplomas have been achieved, and it is time to enter the job market.

New graduates can expect to be hired as roto artists (basically tracing images), production assistants, matchmove artists, and render wranglers (monitoring stills as they are put together). However, with a few years of entry-level experience, a degree in Visual Effects lands an opportunity for a career as a lighting, texture, or effects artist. It is also important to maintain a portfolio of work demonstrating depth of knowledge and skill. The job outlook within the Visual Effects industry looks bright and lucrative, even in this difficult economy.

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