Visual effects and colorblindness?

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  03 March 2013
Visual effects and colorblindness?

I've done a quick search on the forums regarding this, obviously modelers and riggers shouldn't have any issues with color. And of course texture artists or compositers need the color. However as a visual effects artist, is it a make or break thing to have colorblindness? To be a little more specific, doing procedural effects with Houdini, particles, etc etc. Trying to decide if this will be hindering greatly before I pay a sizable chunk of money to take classes on this topic.
  03 March 2013
It really depends on the task. If you're working in Houdini as a technical director for FX then colour blindness might not be a huge issue but if you're doing rendering and lighting then obviously this would potentially impact your performance.

That said I know a number of artists who work with colour blindness and other eye problems in fields you may not expect and get around it by understanding what their seeing very well.

For example I have a very lazy eye and my dominant eye is short sighted. This means I have problems seeing 3D ... yet I can work with stereoscopic workflows both in 3D and compositing because correct setups help ensure I'm working within the correct technical boundaries. I also know some colour blind people who understand how colour works and work around it by constantly keeping an eye on numbers. I think that's a harder thing.

With FX work in Houdini I think you might need to configure the interface to work for you but that shouldn't be a problem. The real issue would be seeing subtle shifts in colour in your renders, which is definitely an issue for FX but one you could avoid by becoming kick arse at all the other parts (the dynamics themselves) and getting people to help with the shading work.
Critcal feedback example #62: "Well instead of the Stalinist purges and the divorce and the investigation ... it could be about losing a balloon."
  03 March 2013

Apologize for my poor grammar.

Hi there, i am one of the color blind artist &
been working in visualizer and animation industries for 8years
i also involve in particle effect and compose, texturing production

my answer is color blind won't effect much on my performance and creative job,
i just cannot analyze color category correctly,
but not blocking me to know what color group and color sensation needed

i use a lot R,G,B color code to help me accurate the color category
at the beginning is a bit uncomfortable, but i manage make use of it

i can still holding the highest pay among other artist @ my working studios
  03 March 2013
I don't wish to sound like a pedant, but for the sake of clarity, what you're talking about is an FX artist, not a VFX artist. The term VFX is an umbrella one covering all disciplines in a VFX studio.

Personally I don't feel that colourblindness would be a huge hindrance to FX work, although it would depend somewhat on the nature of the work; ie for explosions and such, colour fidelity may be more important, even though they can still "fix it in the comp".
  03 March 2013
I am red-green colorblind and I have trouble figuring out a bit duller shades of colors like orange, yellow and greenish ones. I easily get around this in with color pickers and HSV/RGB color codes. I'm thinking of becoming a texture painter and right now I'm at stage where I should begin to make my texture painting portfolio. My artistic and technical skills are amazing, I'm not afraid of saying that, I've spent my whole life (18y) playing with art and computers. What I am afraid of is not getting the job because of color blindness.

I personally think I wouldn't have any issues in production environment texturing stuff because of the ability to pick colors and know instantly what's going on. My texturing work I've done so far looks great color-wise.
From what I've seen, I think only the portfolio matters. But I might be wrong.
I'd like to hear what some of you pros in the industry think and share your opinions about this as it worries me a lot.

To answer the question:
IMO, your colorblindness shouldn't give you any issues with FX because you can do your part and let your supervisor/art director/lookdev team do the color stuff. But I have no idea how that works in the actual production. If you can do your job, the colors shouldn't be a big deal. But that's just my opinion.
3D/VFX artist, photographer, entrepreneur.

Last edited by davidKatara : 03 March 2013 at 03:37 AM.
  03 March 2013
I guess what you guys are saying is, be good at what you can do, and don't worry over the small things that can use some work around. Perhaps I'll go for it, thanks guys!

(as for the difference between VFX and FX, I still don't quite get the differentiation after the explanation, VFX is a general term, then what does FX entail?)
  03 March 2013
FX = particles, simulations, cloth, etc
VFX = visual effects; the term refers, essentially, to the creation of CGI elements which will be added to filmed footage, so it encompasses all roles involved in that process, from roto, matchmoving, modelling, texturing, lookdev, lighting, FX, groom, DMP, comp, and grading.
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by turtleshell64: I guess what you guys are saying is, be good at what you can do, and don't worry over the small things that can use some work around. Perhaps I'll go for it, thanks guys!

(as for the difference between VFX and FX, I still don't quite get the differentiation after the explanation, VFX is a general term, then what does FX entail?)

Note FX is one of two areas (the other being lighting) where you will be providing lighting/rendered assets in many cases. So as long as you get the gist of lighting and can do pre-comps well enough to get your assets approved you'll be fine in most pipelines. But you'll definitely want to explore what your limitations are there. If you had to delay the approval process while you wait for another (already busy person) to do those precomps for you than you may find yourself a hindrance. Also you haven't stated what colors give you trouble and how. Another aspect in this area could be working with 'puzzle mattes' (which use pure/solid colors to define complex matte areas on complex groupings of rendered elements). If you can't tell red from green for example it could be problematic. Note that you may have to deal with puzzle mattes provided to you by other parts of the pipeline just to isolate your FX to the correct/scene element picture an army of characters but only one needs pixi-dust.
Also note that non-FX folks tend to be 'afraid' of FX assets (from my experience). So they may want to *avoid* dealing with them 'for' you as well!

On rare occasions there are pipelines where FX will also do the final comps (especially for complex effects heavy ones). DW used to be like that in their Shrek pipeline-not sure if it is still true today.
  03 March 2013
Sooner or later, every fx particle effects (smoke, lasers, trails), gets desaturated to get the "closer to real" look, so you dont have to worry too much about it.
Now it's the time to be extreme!
  03 March 2013
Originally Posted by d4rk3lf: Sooner or later, every fx particle effects (smoke, lasers, trails), gets desaturated to get the "closer to real" look, so you dont have to worry too much about it.

And knocked down and covered with element plates
  03 March 2013
Great replies so far. I actually have no idea what "type" of colorblindness I am. Sometimes I have difficulty telling the yellow and light green apart, or dark blue and purple, but among the basic colors, I won't be confusing red and green, only if the shade is really close, like burgundy and black, only because it can be super dark. Never consulted my eye doctor about it, since it was never potentially an issue until now.
  03 March 2013
You can get an eye test for colour blindness, it's a simple colour dots test where you have to pick out numbers or symbols on cards made up of multi-coloured dots. We had it done in school when we were about 10, as part of a general eye health check and to see who needed glasses.

Our arts teacher at the time was a bit colour deficient in the green area. He told us that once he found that out when he was younger, it was easy to adapt to it.
I like to learn.
  03 March 2013
It will depend on the type of colorblindness you have and how severe it is.

I had a friend who was slightly orange-green color blind, and for his school project he drew a human character with green skin. I thought the character was meant to be an alien or something, but turns out he couldn't distinguish between beige and pastel greens.

If you were supposed to make orange flames but it turned out green, then no amount of desaturation in comp will help you. But this is easily remedied if you pay attention to the rgb/hsv values of the colors you have trouble with.
  03 March 2013
I suppose I better start getting used to the numeric values for colors regardless how mild or severe the condition is. Tried doing some tests online but everybody keeps saying each test isn't accurate *shrug*
  03 March 2013
I'm colourblind & work as a 3D generalist. I do lots of texturing/ materials/ lighting/ rendering within that remit.
It's not too big a deal, I use the colour picker a lot in Cinema 4D & Photoshop, I ask whoever is sat next to me & every now & then my boss catches something green that was supposed to be yellow or something like that but really it is next to no hinderence.
Obviously, you're never going to be a grader or compositor but beyond that I think you'll be fine.
Cinema 4D R19 Studio, Octane, Z Brush, Mudbox, Adobe CC
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