Junior 2D artists are responsible for assisting the senior visual effects artists by preparing elements for use in the final VFX shot. This will include:

  • creating mattes (masking areas of the live action footage) by roto-scoping (tracing around objects in the frames) and keying (isolating areas of blue/green screen in the live action footage) to allow all elements of the scene to be layered convincingly by a compositor
  • removing erroneous objects within the live action footage, such as camera/lighting equipment and safety stunt wires and rigs
  • producing simple composites (combining live action elements and computer generated imagery to create a shot that looks as if it was captured at the same time by a single camera). These simple composites could be for editorial purposes for test screenings of the film and will be replaced by an experienced compositor or they could be used in the final film for simple VFX shots. 

Junior 2D artists utilise artistic knowledge in areas such as composition and colour in addition to accepted industry standard compositing software and operating systems. They are expected to work well within a team and to be good communicators and problem solvers. Upon successful completion of their apprenticeship the individual will typically progress to become a compositor and may eventually become a 2D or VFX Supervisor. Junior 2D artists will typically be employed by a range of small to large post-production companies servicing the British and International Film, Television and Commercial industries. They will usually be based in an office environment working on television commercials, television series and feature films.

Junior 2D Artists will be expected to demonstrate:

  • Initiative and a keen ability to problem-solve
  • Ability to communicate with colleagues and work as part of a team
  • Ability to take direction and willingness to address feedback, and to be self-critical of the quality of work produced
  • Ability to manage priorities and bring multiple tasks to completion within deadline
  • Attention to detail and a high level of accuracy
  • Enthusiasm to learn and develop professionally
  • Respect for the best practice procedures or requirements of a particular studio, production or pipeline
  • Proactive attitude to research and access available resources
  • A high level of professionalism and good time keeping with a focus on the work

Full details of the Apprenticeship Standards for Junior 2D Artist (Visual Effects) positions can be found here: Institute for Apprenticeships

Entry requirements

Individual employers will set the selection criteria, but this is likely to include A Levels (or equivalent level 3 qualification) in a moving picture or art related subject. Most candidates will also have English and Maths at level 2 on entry. Some employers may also ask for a portfolio of still or moving image manipulation or the completion of a timed assessment in order to access their artistic and technical ability as part of the selection process.


Apprentices without level 2 English and Maths will need to achieve this level prior to the completion of their apprenticeship.


It is unlikely that individuals entering this apprenticeship without previous experience will complete the apprenticeship in less than 18 months, and a typical completion time is likely to be 24 months.