The Evolution of VFX Artists to Movie Directors: A Transition Worth Exploring

by | Jan 31, 2024 | Film

  • A recent trend within the film industry has emerged: VFX artists becoming Directors. 
  • It’s beneficial to have a film director that was previously a VFX artist because they have the knowledge of storytelling, creative vision, and project management.
  • Work with the award winning film director who started out as a VFX artist at Boiling Point. 


In the ever-evolving landscape of the film industry, an intriguing trend is emerging – visual effects (VFX) artists transitioning to the role of movie directors. This shift is not only a testament to the diverse skill set possessed by VFX professionals but also an exploration of new avenues in the realm of storytelling and filmmaking. 


What is a VFX Artist?

A Visual Effects Artist (VFX), or Computer Graphics (CG) supervisor, is an individual with a profound understanding of the intricacies of visual effects and computer-generated imagery. A VFX artist is responsible for creating computer-generated imagery (CGI) or enhancing live-action scenes with digital elements. These artists bring imagination to life, contributing to the magical and often fantastical worlds we see on screen. Their work also involves creating stunning visual elements that enhance the overall cinematic experience. This includes everything from crafting fantastical creatures to manipulating environments using advanced digital tools.  The role of a VFX artist requires a blend of technical prowess, creative vision, and problem-solving skills. They work diligently to seamlessly integrate computer-generated elements into live-action footage. 


Pros and Cons of Being a VFX Artist

Being a VFX artist comes with its own set of advantages and challenges. Ultimately, the decision to become a VFX artist depends on individual preferences, career goals, and the ability to navigate the unique challenges of the industry. However, with that aside, here are some pros and cons of being a VFX artist:


Pros Of Being A VFX Artist:

  • Creativity: VFX artists have the opportunity to express their creativity by bringing imaginative and fantastical elements to life on screen.
  • In-Demand Skills: The demand for skilled VFX artists is high in industries like film, television, gaming, and advertising, providing good job prospects.
  • Diverse Projects: VFX artists often work on a variety of projects, ranging from blockbuster films to commercials, offering a diverse and dynamic work environment.
  • Global Opportunities: The film and entertainment industry is global, allowing VFX artists to work on international projects and collaborate with professionals from different cultures.
  • Technological Advancements: VFX work involves staying updated on cutting-edge technologies, providing opportunities to work with state-of-the-art tools and software.


Cons Of Being A VFX Artist:

  • Long Hours: Tight deadlines and the nature of the industry can lead to long working hours, especially when projects are in the final stages of production.
  • High Pressure: The pressure to meet tight deadlines and deliver high-quality work can be intense, leading to stress and burnout for some artists.
  • Freelance Instability: Many VFX artists work on a freelance basis, which can result in periods of job instability between projects.
  • Competitive Industry: Breaking into the industry can be competitive, and even experienced artists may face challenges in securing consistent work.
  • Sedentary Work: VFX work often involves long hours of sitting at a computer, which can contribute to health issues such as eye strain and back problems.


What is a Movie Director?

A movie director is a key creative figure in the filmmaking process who is responsible for overseeing and guiding the production of a film. The director plays a crucial role in shaping the artistic vision and narrative of the movie. Their responsibilities include working with the script, collaborating with the cast and crew, making decisions about cinematography and camera angles, and ensuring that the overall vision of the film is brought to life. Directors work closely with various departments such as cinematography, production design, costume design, and editing to achieve the desired outcome. They provide instructions to actors, make creative choices about storytelling, and contribute to the overall aesthetic and tone of the film. The director is often considered the driving force behind a movie, influencing its artistic and emotional impact on the audience.


Pros and Cons of Being a Movie Director

Ultimately, the decision to become a film director depends on individual passion, dedication, and the ability to navigate the challenges of the industry. While the job comes with pressures, the rewards of bringing a creative vision to life can be incredibly fulfilling for those passionate about storytelling through film. Below we have listed out some elements deemed a pro or con of being a film director.


Pros Of Being A Film Director:

  • Creative Control: Directors have significant creative control over the artistic vision of the film, making key decisions on storytelling, visuals, and overall aesthetics.
  • Career Fulfillment: Directing allows individuals to bring their creative ideas to life on the big screen, providing a sense of accomplishment and fulfillment.
  • Collaboration: Directors work closely with various talented professionals, including actors, cinematographers, editors, and designers, fostering a collaborative and dynamic work environment.
  • Recognition: Successful directors can achieve recognition and acclaim for their work, receiving awards and building a strong reputation in the film industry.
  • Diverse Projects: Directors may work on a variety of projects, spanning different genres and styles, offering versatility and the opportunity to explore various storytelling techniques.


Cons Of Being A Film Director:

  • High Responsibility: Directors bear the weight of significant responsibility for the success of a film, and the pressure to deliver a successful project can be intense.
  • Financial Challenges: Independent filmmakers and those starting out may face financial challenges, including securing funding for projects and dealing with budget constraints.
  • Long Working Hours: Film directors often work long and irregular hours, especially during crucial stages of production, which can impact work-life balance.
  • Uncertain Career Path: The film industry can be competitive, and directors may face challenges in securing opportunities, especially when starting out.
  • Stressful Decision-Making: Directors make crucial decisions throughout the filmmaking process, and dealing with creative conflicts, tight schedules, and unexpected challenges can be stressful.


The Journey from VFX Artist to Director

If you’re a VFX artist thinking about transitioning to a director, you’re not the only one! Several notable individuals, such as Neill Blomkamp (District 9) and Tim Miller (Deadpool), have successfully made the transition from VFX artists to movie directors. These directors, who once crafted visual effects, have successfully taken the helm in directing feature films, television series, commercials, and more. This trend showcases the shared skill set between the two roles. VFX artists possess skills in storytelling, creative vision, and project management – qualities essential for a director. While the number of VFX artists turned directors remains relatively low, their impact across various genres is undeniable. From James Cameron to Neill Blomkamp, the industry has witnessed successful directors with roots in visual effects. The accessibility of digital tools and filmmaking software has further opened avenues for VFX artists to explore their directorial ambitions. 


Pros and Cons of a VFX Artist Becoming a Director

Despite the challenges faced by VFX artists who turned into directors, such as overcoming the stigma of being a first-time director or dealing with the financial aspects, the advantages are noteworthy. The ability to envision scenes with a keen understanding of VFX intricacies empowers these directors to make informed decisions. Taking these factors into account ensures a harmonious blend of practical and digital elements.



  • Opportunity to work on cutting-edge technology.
  • Contribution to the creation of visually stunning cinematic moments.
  • In-depth understanding of the post-production process.



  • Tight deadlines and high-pressure environments.
  • Budget restraints and uncertainties.
  • Potential for long working hours.


Perspectives from VFX Artists Turned Directors

So, this begs the question, why should a VFX artist consider transitioning into a director’s role? Below we have opinions of the matter from VFX artists who turned into movie directors.


Armen Kevorkian:

Armen Kevorkian, VFX supervisor and executive creative director at Deluxe’s Encore, exemplifies this journey. Having directed episodes of popular TV series like Supergirl and The Flash, Kevorkian emphasizes the strong connection between being a VFX supervisor and a director. He says that a VFX background provides confidence and skills for directing. VFX supervisors often direct second units, facilitating a smooth transition.


Hasraf Dulull:

For many VFX artists, the dream of directing has always lingered in the background. Hasraf “HaZ” Dulull, known for his high-concept sci-fi films, notes that the experience in VFX management roles played a pivotal role in preparing him for directing and producing. Dulull’s journey, from working on films like The Dark Knight to directing features like The Beyond, showcases the potential of a VFX background in handling the complexities of filmmaking. He says that a VFX background aids in handling limited budgets effectively and allows the ability to visualize and plan scenes with VFX in mind.


Freddy Chavez Olmos:

Freddy Chavez Olmos, with VFX credits on films like District 9 and Deadpool, emphasizes the importance of lessons learned from VFX that aid in directing. From avoiding last-minute changes to understanding the cost of CG elements, Olmos sheds light on how a VFX background provides valuable insights like VFX experience enhances problem-solving skills on set.


David Mellor:

David Mellor, the creative director at Framestore, emphasizes the unique perspective gained by VFX supervisors turned directors. The ability to see the big picture, plan meticulously, and adapt to changing situations positions them as directors with a comprehensive understanding of the filmmaking process. He says that VFX experience provides a holistic understanding of filmmaking and Directors with VFX backgrounds can efficiently handle larger, effects-heavy projects. 


Film Directors At Boiling Point Are VFX Artists

Boiling Point stands at the forefront of the evolving film industry, actively embracing the trend of VFX artists transitioning into the role of movie directors. One shining example within our own ranks is Ryan Bellgardt, who began his career as a VFX artist and has seamlessly pivoted into the director’s chair. At Boiling Point, we recognize and celebrate the unique skill set and creative prowess that VFX artists bring to the world of filmmaking. As technology advances, the fusion of visual effects and storytelling becomes increasingly integral. Directors with a background in VFX, like Ryan, play a crucial role in pushing the boundaries of innovation. This seamless integration of practical and digital elements not only enriches the directorial landscape but also captivates audiences on a global scale.

Boiling Point takes pride in contributing to this paradigm shift, championing the endless possibilities that arise when creativity and technical expertise converge in the ever-evolving realm of cinematic storytelling. The filmmakers at Boiling Point have studied and used VFX extensively on film projects. Our VFX artists and movie directors work hand in hand to create projects with stunning results. Between the use of VFX artists, our experienced movie directors, and our LED volume wall, we can bring your film vision to life. Check out our website to learn more about the films we have produced as well as our filmmaking capabilities. If you are looking to produce a film, need VFX, or just need post production work, give Boiling Point a call and bring your film to its boiling point.


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