How to break into the visual effects industry with advice from Alt VFX

Hayley Gibson and Genevieve Camilleri (Alt VFX)

3minutes read


CG Spectrum's Community Manager, Penny Gaulbatz, and Partnership Manager, Magdalena Bisogni, teamed up with Alt VFX to hold an exclusive event for students and alums, providing an insider's guide to visual effects and offering expert tips on how to break into the industry.

Hosts Penny and Magdelena were joined by Alt VFX special guests, Global Talent and Culture Manager Hayley Gibson, and VFX Supervisor Genevieve Camilleri, who also mentors the Nuke compositing courses at CGS! 

Hayley and Genevieve talked about all things visual effects—from the recruiting process, to common industry software, to what work actually goes into creating a single shot. They also took us behind the scenes of one of the studio's most recent projects, The Pope's Exorcist, a film starring Russel Crowe.

About Alt VFX (or Alt+)

Alt VFX is a small, independent VFX and post-production company doing large-scale projects in film, television, and advertising. They have worked for clients including Nintendo, Sony, Vogue, and Toyota and are well-known for their incredible creature work (see their latest showreel below).

Comprised of 70 staff across studios in Brisbane, Sydney, Melbourne, Los Angeles, and Tokyo, Alt VFX hires a lot of generalists, which allows artists an opportunity to explore more than one role and develop a broader skillset within the VFX pipeline

Hayley emphasized Alt VFX's strong focus on teamwork and collaboration. When hiring new team members, they often look for artists with strong interpersonal skills. Hayley explained they believe that soft skills, integral to solid teamwork, are often harder to teach than technical skills.

How to break into the VFX industry

Without giving too much away from this exclusive event, here are three tips from the many helpful insights Hayley and Genevieve shared:

  • Ensure you’re learning industry-standard software (like the software taught in CG Spectrum's visual effects courses).
  • Networking is crucial—it's a relatively small industry, so it's vital you get to know your peers and build good relationships with them.
  • Be patient and committed to continual learning. Not only does it take time to hone your skills and learn the relevant software, but it can also take time to break into the industry. And don't forget to keep learning while you wait for your first break in the industry!


Genevieve’s journey into the VFX industry

We got to hear about Genevieve's journey into visual effects—which officially started in 2009, in Melbourne—via an internship. 

Before breaking into the industry, Genevieve spent years studying, including a multimedia course at TAFE (Technical and Further Education) and a Bachelor of Multimedia and Digital Arts, followed by a Graduate Diploma specializing in VFX.

During her studies, Genevieve learned a broad range of skills commonly used across different departments in VFX. She pointed out that now, thanks to expert-led training centers like CG Spectrum, aspiring VFX artists don't have to go on such a long (or costly) journey to get started in the industry. 

Genevieve shared her work from when she first started studying to her final student showreel, which helped her get her first job in the industry. Seeing her progression was a fantastic example of how she improved over time and how you can too! It also demonstrated that even talented professional visual effects artists, like Genevieve, had to start somewhere.

Genevieve emphasized that wanting to learn is key to being a successful VFX artist; it's an ongoing part of your career. In fact, she is currently enrolled in one of CG Spectrum’s virtual production courses because she understands the importance of continued learning. She also advised the audience not to be too picky about their first job—the important thing is getting your foot in the door. 

love and monsters poster
Later in her career, Genevieve was the VFX Supervisor for Love and Monsters, a film with lots of fantastic creatures, which was nominated for an Oscar award!

Job applications didn't work for Genevieve, so she sought an internship. Her first big break was at a small agency doing uninspiring advertisements for late-night TV. At this point in her journey, she realized if the work she produced was good, it didn't matter if the content it was used for was "bad"—the most important thing was that she was still learning and growing as an artist. Genevieve learned so much during her internship she felt ready to take the next step and apply for a job at a VFX studio.

Soon after applying at Iloura (now Framestore), Genevieve was hired as a Roto Artist. Due to her talent, hard work, and dedication to continued learning, she was soon offered her first compositing role at Iloura, only about six months after she started there! 

Genevieve's career in VFX has enabled her to work on impressive film titles across the globe and grow as an artist. She also received an Oscar nomination for Best Visual Effects on the Netflix film Love and Monsters.

A Q&A followed Genevieve and Hayley's presentations with compelling questions from the CG Spectrum students and alums, and insightful answers from the guests and hosts.!

To learn more about Alt VFX and explore what jobs are available, head to the careers page on their website.

Become a visual effects artist and work at studios like Alt VFX!

At CG Spectrum, our visual effects courses will teach you industry-standard software to ensure your technical skills are up to scratch while you gain valuable interpersonal skills and industry knowledge through personalized mentor feedback and support, career services, and exclusive events like our session with Alt VFX.

Get job-ready for a career in visual effects with CG Spectrum.


[more]Read Shoshanah Wall's bio[/more]

Shoshanah has almost a decade of visual effects production experience, coordinating VFX teams in Australia and London. Her credits include Mad Max: Fury Road, Ant-Man, John Wick: Parabellum, Game of Thrones, and Christopher Robin. She now enjoys getting to write about the film and games industry.