How To Become an FX TD

How To Become an FX TD

What is an FX TD?
FX TDs are Effects Technical Directors. They create physics-based digital effects, such as smoke, water, explosions and fire. These digital effects are then used by animation artists in their shots.

What is the job?
It is the FX TD’s responsibility to make sure the physics-based digital effects that they create look believable and are also consistent with the style of animation, to ensure that they blend seamlessly with the other components of the film. FX TDs aim to meet the Director’s vision in terms of digital effects, using the resources available to them.

The role of FX TD is both an artistic and technical role. As an FX Technical Director, you are likely to be the one with the highest skill level working in your department. Therefore, it will be part of your role to offer guidance to more junior Artists, give face-to-face technical help to all Animation and Lighting Artists, as well as communicate with other departments and provide a positive attitude to the working environment.

Key Skills

  • Good problem solving skills.
  • Knowledge of all components of the animation pipeline.
  • Good programming and coding skills, with the knowledge of programming in Python and C++.
  • Knowledge of 3D animation programs such as Maya, Blender, Adobe After Effects, Nuke etc.
  • Good communication skills.

Salary & Working Hours
As an FX TD you can work for an animation company or a studio, and your working hours will obviously depend on where you are working and the projects you are working on. In most cases, you can expect to work roughly a normal working day of 9am-5pm, but be prepared to work overtime and extra days when deadlines are approaching. In terms of salary, this will depend on how experienced you are, and the types of projects you are working on.

How To Become a FX TD
The role of FX Technical Director is seen as a senior position, and therefore most studios/companies will require you to have at least a couple of years of experience working in animation or VFX prior to becoming an FX TD. If you’re wanting to become a FX TD, a good way to start is working in more junior positions within the animation and VFX sectors and work your way up from here.  

There are relevant degree courses such as computer programming, computer science, or animation which would provide you with the key skills needed. As with most roles in this industry, apprenticeships and short courses are also a good way to widen your knowledge and build up experience. On top of this, it is essential that you build a portfolio to showcase the work you are capable of doing, in order to show potential employers your skills. However, as mentioned before, this is a senior role, so be prepared to work for it! 

Latest FX TD Jobs

Where Can It Take You?
As the role of FX TD is a senior role, the opportunity for progression in terms of promotion is likely to be very little. However, for most FX TD’s, the role is something they have worked hard for and therefore there is no need for career development. As with most roles in the film industry, for a lot of individuals, the opportunity to work on bigger and more interesting projects is seen as promotion.

Become a FX TD
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest FX TD vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.