VFX Art Tests - What does a great experience look like?
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Thank you to everyone for your prospects so far I really appreciate the time and thoughtfulness put into each answer and have collected some observations from them that I wanted to return. Before considering these observations, I wanted to take a moment to highlight two topics that could benefit from additional clarity: NDAs and WHY a test could be given.

The WHY of art tests. There can be a few reasons, but most of all it is up to the candidate and the company:

  • Assess where the candidate's craft skills are.

By manual skills I mean: color, value, cohesion, consistency, timing, creativity, legibility etc. It is not always easy to say where someone ends up, especially if:
A. A role is old
B. There is no consistency between different effects
C. The FX context on the reel does not meet the requirements of the product

Note: This is not "The candidate did not meet the timing expectations of the seniors and cannot adjust them". Everyone has gaps! EVERYONE. The information from the test helps the company assess what a strong support plan looks like for that person to help close these gaps. Sometimes there are too many gaps for the role requirements OR the company cannot provide the right support to this candidate, resulting in a passport.

  • Evaluate whether the candidate likes to work in this style

A test is not only beneficial for a company, but also for you! This is a time to learn if you are passionate about working on this style for one, five, maybe fifteen years! It's also a great way to demonstrate your latest skills. Not everyone can show the last thing they worked on yet. So it's great to have a means to use these new skills.

NDAs! Precaution – I am not a lawyer! I do not have extensive, detailed knowledge in this area, so I recommend that you do your own research if you are looking for more information. An NDA is a frequent accompaniment to a test because the candidate usually works within an IP. I personally have never heard of VFX test assets used outside of the test. I hear you on this matter. That sounds like a confirmation with the company before the test if it comes into question. When testing for an unpublished project, stricter NDA rules are likely to apply to keep RnD confidential.

Now that we've talked a little bit about WHY an art test might be asked and NDAs:
I see some polarizing perspectives regarding the possibility of the compensation aspect of art tests. It seems to stem from the desire to adequately compensate for the value of the artist's time. There are many nuances when it comes to that financially to compensate someone for his time. Contracts, work visas, money exchange, budgets and so many other things ~ That's why I honestly don't see a silver bullet solution here.

Observations from this thread about what makes a great VFX Art Test:

  • Transparency for the candidate about what he is specifically testing for
    • Clear project descriptions of the FX output including the power level
    • Style indicators about existing reference or concept drawings
  • Provide startup assets
    • What would be helpful here?
      • Basic scene setup
      • Blueprint / sequencer / etc.
      • Basic shaders?
      • All the textures you need to have as part of the test
      • Common textures, lightning, glow, sparks, things that would be drawn from a common directory are recreated
  • Flexibility on time
    • Not a massive question about the time of the individual
    • Taking other obligations into account (work, home or otherwise)
  • Feedback
    • Mark what works
    • Actionable, non-abstract feedback

Thanks again for everyone who has posted so far! They all help create a better experience for those participating in the testing process. If I've left something out, please let me know. I would like to continue the discussion if anyone has additional thoughts or would like to answer my original questions in the first post. Thanks buddy! :Octopus:

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