What you should know before becoming the 3D artist?
In this text we will describe a couple of important aspects regarding the 3D artist job: the tasks, required skills, software, places where 3D artists can find job and how they can survive in this business. We will mention both the advantages and drawbacks of this job. At the end we will share a couple of thoughts on what the 3D artists’ job will be in future.
Who is a 3D artist?
Let’s start with the definition of a 3D artists and what’s the scope of this job. The 3D Artist produces the graphics, effects or animations using specific software for 3D visualizations, rendering, modeling or animation. 3D Artist can find the job in the gaming industry, architectural industry, in IT, in engineering, where the 2D blueprints are not enough. Speaking of 2D, there are also the 2D Artists positions in some companies, so what is the difference between them? If we put it into the 3D architectural visualization studio’s reality, the 3D artist does the modeling and rendering, whereas the 2D artist is able to do the post production, so the last stage of 3D visualization production process that consists of editing the image showing the complete visualization.
Like we’ve mentioned above, the 3D artist can find the job in many industries, but we will essentially concentrate on architectural visualization industry.
What skills the 3D artist needs?
Is graduating from particular field of study mandatory to learn 3D graphics or to get the 3D artist job? Not necessarily. Speaking of education, there are particular faculties of Graphic Design, however this is not the only option. There are the fields of study not necessarily related to fine arts, on which the graphic design is one of the subjects. Here we could mention the Architecture, City Planning or Landscape Architecture.
Nowadays, graduation is not always required by the employer, because the skills or portfolio are more important here. Usually the recruitment process starts with the portfolio review (it’s usually required together with the resume). During the interview the soft skills of the candidate are being reviewed. Another way to check candidate’s skills is to produce the test project.
What if someone is about to start as 3D artist and doesn’t have any experience yet? Then the portfolio even if it consist only of the random projects produced at home would be sufficient for recruitment purposes. The portfolio can be located on the separate website (for example using WordPress domain) or a Behance, Squarespace. There are a lot of architectural forums that enables to add projects with descriptions and multiple pictures. We are for example present on CGSociety, CGArchitect, Artstation and Behance. Make sure to be present in social media as well – on Instagram, Facebook or Pinterest.
People often ask if they would be able to learn the 3D graphics skills on their own, just with the tutorials available online, without taking classes. In fact, the tutorials can be easily found in the internet. There are also online classes available. Is it sufficient to start? Yes, the practice is very important at the beginning, however, it’s good to gain the professional experience to be able to realize different and more complex projects.
But apart from the education and software, what are other qualities the promising 3D artist should have? As this job requires producing images based on the plans delivered by client, the analytical skills are very important. Because the 3D visualizations need to be photorealistic, the photography knowledge (about light, shadow) is also the big plus. Regarding the soft skills, the patience is nice to have as the software is troublesome.
Which software the 3D artists use?
In the previous post we’ve mentioned the software we use for 3D visualization at Viscato: 3ds Max, Corona and Photoshop. But which software is the best to start with?
Blender is very often mentioned when it comes to software for beginners. This is an open source 3D software which seems to be right for those who are just starting with the 3D visualization or for the freelancers. The weak point of Blender is the limited cooperativeness with CAD software, so it may be troublesome when collaborating with clients. Another basic software is SketchUp – it’s compatible, relatively cheap, and has the assets included. Regarding 3Ds Max, this software is a lot more complicated and has numerous options included. It may take few years to achieve the proficiency in 3ds Max and the best way to learn it, it’s just the daily work. The more projects, the more experiences with this software one has. It may be possible to learn some basic functionalities using YouTube, but frankly speaking, it won’t replace the working experience. In case of Blender or SketchUp, it’s possible to learn the software just basing on available tutorials.
Regarding the equipment, it’s important to mention that laptop may not manage the very long rendering process. The computer should be equipped with a high quality graphics card, RAM and multi-core processor.
Company or freelance: What’s better for 3D artist?
3D Artist is an independent profession, so it is possible to work on contracts, run own business activity or to be hired by company. The choice depends on one’s preferences. 3D artists, while looking for a job, pay much attention to find the place they would make interesting projects, using new solutions, because that brings them many possibilities for the future. Their ambition is not only to have a stable work, but gain an important experience.
Freelance work means more freedom and more independence. The freelancers have a chance to choose only the projects which aesthetics and style they like, but it can be the trap. Producing “particular type of interior or exterior only” makes portfolio less interesting and less competitive. This may attract less clients in the future.
Working for company may not be comfortable for everyone, but seems to have many advantages. First, this is more stable. Bigger companies don’t struggle to survive as they are able to run many projects simultaneously. Doing multiple projects, though in most cases this is all about giving what clients wants, is a great chance to gain experience quickly. Companies usually offer complex services, so the employees are trained to be able to deliver them. Working with others in the team makes the knowledge spread easier and faster. Last, but not the least, in a 3D agency, there are team members responsible for administration, accounting, customer service and sales, so the 3D artists are not distracted with those tasks. They can just focus on producing the visualizations!
Is the Competition big between 3D artists?
Another thing worth considering while choosing to work as freelancer or not, is the competition on the market.
Technology became accessible for everyone, so the number of companies offering 3D services has increased. As mentioned above, everyone is able to start their own studio and offer services to clients. Learning 3D may take some time, but the experience of team members summarizes. In other words: the competition on 3D market is huge! Following up on previous paragraph, there is the competition inside the company. Working in a group, makes employees learn faster, basing on others experiences, on software issues.
Is 3D Artist a “job of the future”?
This question is often asked nowadays and there are few factors that can help identify the job of the future. There are more and more tasks which can be programmed and done automatically, so less people are required for this. Also it is important to find the industry or niche that will be developing in future.
What’s the future of 3D industry then? For sure the software and tools will become more powerful.
One of the latest 3D visualization trends is the real-time rendering. Producing such projects will be based on the rendering in real-time. The final product of a 3D project, would be the walkthrough, a game-like movie where it will be possible to change the design elements, like the textures, colors. This means, some parts of the project would need to be programmed first. This also means, some projects could be completed faster, as the long rendering phase will be skipped. The software such as Unreal Engine enables to get such effects.
There are many more trends in a 3D world right now, such as the world’s first digitally planned house of which we’ve lately heard. It’s not a surprise that the 3D technology will be bringing new possibilities constantly. Another advice for the future is to keep up with current trends and to keep high standards of the services, because whole industry is very competitive. To remain a trusting partner for 3D services, it’s good to have the transparent pricing, client references, the specific aesthetics. It’s crucial to follow the technology updates and observe the trends. Right now it’s necessary to produce the high-quality, photorealistic images (this is our case). Just like in other industries – it’s important to watch what competition does – also on pricing level.
3D artist is then an interesting profession which gives the possibility to change the world, to work on innovative solutions.
If you are interested in pursuing the 3D artist career, if you have working knowledge of 3Ds Max, Corona, Photoshop and CAD drawings, make sure to visit our Career page. We are constantly looking for 3D visualization talents!