What I’ve learned working for 2+ years as a VFX Artist in games

First of all, I wanted to write this post back in the fall when it was my official 2 years of being employed as a VFX Artist but I always found some kind of excuse not to do it. I thought these reflection thoughts would pass but yet this haunts me to this day therefore this post is happening and I am sticking a juicy + to those 2 years in the title. 

This post first serves a purpose for me to close a certain chapter in my life which I feel has ended and this will be a nice point for me to look back to because I am a dirty documentation goblin, and secondly, for me to stir your thoughts and show a glimpse into my life and my thoughts as well. I am a firm believer in sharing experiences and knowledge not being afraid that somebody will take my place because I believe in equal opportunities. I hope that the experiences that I share here will benefit your journey as well as mine.

Reaching the learning plateau

The sweet plateau purgatory… I knew I would reach it someday. The beginning of learning a new skill is always a bit rocky but then you hit that sweet spot where you learn at an accelerated rate. This period kicks ass, you learn so much and have so much fun, there are loads of excitement, passion, and compliments but eventually, as with everything in life, it runs a little dry after a while. It looks like you are stuck in a rut, getting the job done, and still making some progress but it is harder and harder to notice, and you start to question where the magic has gone. Everything becomes a bit stagnant, your work does not improve as it did before, maybe at times it’s even worse, and your enthusiasm has fizzled out. If it sounds familiar, you have reached a learning plateau.

The plateau effect is a phenomenon that lessens the effectiveness of once-effective measures over time. It is not a pleasant place to be for a long time, however, it can be the most beautiful and beneficial part of learning.

So after these 2 years, I understand that what I did before for my skill improvement does not work anymore. It is time for me to break the plateau, a time to take action with a specific plan in mind as I am not a beginner anymore, not everything that I touch brings me value and knowledge. It is time to correct the mistakes that I caught when learning and change some of my thinking patterns that hinder my progress. To identify my weakest points, and do focused work that targets specific pain points. What worked at the beginning will probably never work anymore and that’s sort of exciting. I feel like this is an interesting place where a lot of reflection will take place and with that in mind, I will share my journey of breaking the plateau to help break yours so keep an eye on the future blog posts. This journey will be a longer one and I am all here for it.

Don’t take it personally, please

At the start of your career, you will build things that you might think are good enough or even beautiful but your supervisor or your client might say “Nah ah, change it.“ I feel like the nature of VFX work, or just for people who work as creatives is that you will pour your heart out until your work gets ‘accepted’. Sometimes, the work can morph into something that you don’t like but it is what they need. 

At the start of your career, there are a lot of things that you cannot control so try not to take things personally when that happens. I took things personally a lot, especially at the start. A lot of worry, anxiousness, and tears went into the dumpster. What made it worse is that my career was enmeshed with my identity so every time that something needed correction translated into I am just not good enough (more on this in the next section). 

When working with others, one way or another, they are going to leave with an impression of you. Good or bad, you cannot control that, and it sounds terrifying for a people pleaser like me. But over time I just learned to let it go, because there isn’t much that you can do with that. On a practical level, if you messed up, you can note down what did not work and try to correct those mistakes in the future, and on an emotional level, you just have to accept it and not take it personally. It is just work at the end of the day and nobody got hurt. Mistakes happen all the time and you need to understand them, but in the moment you just have to execute and move on.

IT’S NOT A GOOD IDEA TO TIE self-identity to your career

The most ridiculous part is that I’ve been warned not to do that. Somewhere down the line a strange thing happened for me, I was so focused on learning VFX and the gaming industry that my whole world became related to it. My network, my free time, my thoughts: everything was related to work. I’ve noticed that when getting feedback about the work that I did, it sort of jabbed my identity –  I became my own work. Not a surprise that I quickly overburnt and had thoughts of quitting games altogether, daydreaming of working at a supermarket or any other manual job. I became vulnerable and lost my fulfillment. Only when I actively started to plan my free time, going out of my comfort zone to try new hobbies, everything started to change for the better.

I believe many people in the games industry have experienced this and with the recent layoffs, a lot of people were shattered. Many people tie their identities to companies that they work with, which I believe, never ends positively since you can become so vulnerable doing this. You are not in control of the people working there and their decisions, and you are also easily replaceable by other people. In the end, it becomes just a job. While working at a certain company should be an achievement and confirmation that you reached a certain industry standard, I feel as professionals, we should strive and focus to reach a standard that we, ourselves, adhere to and respect rather than focus on working at a specific location or a company. 

I am at a place where I am going back to a new balance point in my life, not to my old self but a rather new version of it, which is very interesting and exciting to see. I am looking forward to it!

Communication is still doing the heavy lifting

At this point in my life, I still believe that being good at communication is one of the best skills to have. It has saved my butt in many different situations whether it’s personal life or work. Issues arise because people don’t communicate well and don’t listen or understand, especially in today’s world, where everything is digital and the team structure is made of many diverse coworkers from all parts of the world. If there is a situation where you don’t feel right, you have to tell somebody because otherwise that problem will get rooted and becomes even worse. It is better to overcommunicate and be annoying rather than risk information getting lost. 

Rather than saying  “yep, I learned this as a VFX artist” I can CONFIRM after 2 years that this is essential to a good career. You won’t get to higher levels without this.

You create your self-worth

After a few years of working, I already had some encounters where I’ve been put down, had my skills questioned, underappreciated, and disliked for no logical reason. I believe I will encounter these situations many times in the future as well (don’t go for a witch hunt, many of these situations happened at game industry-related events not at workplaces (some)). I learned and I believe that this happens not because it is the gaming industry but because some people are just insecure jerks and it happens everywhere. With that in mind, I never believed anything that they said and I just wanted to note that you should also not let anybody determine that you are not good enough or that you are not worth it. Learn from your mistakes, receive feedback, and keep working on yourself. Know yourself and only you can determine your self-worth, never settle for less than you want unless it is a strategic move that will bring more positive outcomes in the future 🙂

That is all for self-reflection, I hope you related in some way, or perhaps if it is just the beginning of your career you might avoid some things in the future. Overall it’s time for me to change some things around, have a plan, and do some execution. I will try to share how it goes and what worked for me and what didn’t. 


  • After 2 years I reached a learning plateau, which means I need to progress in a no-bullshit way. I will be creating a self-assessment system and seeing where it takes me, sharing the results here;
  • Stop taking things personally, there are things out of your control;
  • Creating self-identity around work is not great, now it’s time to reinvent myself;
  • Communication still slaps;
  • Some people are jerks and that’s ok, you just have to know your value.

Until next time! ❤️