A quick guide on how to start your career as 3D Artist
A piece of career advice for those who want to become 3D artists and build a successful career in CG.
Take These 5 Steps to Launch Your 3D Artist Career
Do you want to start a career as a 3D Artist and become a sought-after professional? Good choice! The CG industry is still growing, it attracts more and more people every year. It is a creative job that brings good money, and if you feel it is the best match for you, then you need a plan for a successful career start. Take these first 5 steps and start your journey from a beginner to success.
Step 1: Diving into the world of 3D graphics
In order to start building a career as a 3D artist, you first need to learn more about the world of CG and get immersed in its specifics. It is recommended to start by surfing thematic websites and online communities. Some of the resources you can use are Artstation, CGarchitect, and Behance. There you can study the works of your potential colleagues, comment on them, and join discussions. It is also useful to watch themed channels that cover 3D graphics news, plugin reviews, etc. And here are some useful links from YouTube.
Travis Davids — an amazing 3D artist who creates tutorials, guides, and software overviews.
Michael Pavlovich — 3D artist and instructor shares his 15 years’ expertise through live streams, tools walkthroughs, and tutorials.
3dEx — useful channel to enrich your workflow with nice tips & tricks and improve your stilization skills.
zbro z — a channel with tutorials for beautiful 3D sculptures in ZBrush.
Arrimus 3D — there you can find tutorials for various 3D software, with well-organized and up-to-date content.
Understanding what the world of CG lives by will help you move on to the next steps.
Step 2: Choose Your Direction
From the many different ways to utilize 3D graphics skills, a beginner should choose the one that is most to his liking. This will help you to better understand your goals and ways to achieve them, thus allowing you to build a career as a 3D artist way faster and more effectively..
3D technologies are used in architecture and design to visualize the projects according to the technical specifications.
In animation, cinematography, and gaming 3D artists create characters and environments and come up with beautiful products that can reach numerous audiences.
In advertising, we mainly talk about the visualization of products and adding special effects for promo videos and images.
Online commerce requires creating realistic 3D models of products for websites and online stores.
3D visualization is also in demand in medicine, science, industrial production, and other areas that require a demonstration of innovative developments.
Step 3: Choosing a specialization
After you chose a direction, your plan for a successful career start as a 3D artist becomes more substantive: you need to decide on the specialization. There are lots of different careers in 3D including more wide and narrow specializations. But to begin with, you should decide whether you want to do 3D modeling or 3D visualization.
3D modelers create three-dimensional models of real or imaginary objects – from jewelry to cartoon characters and spaceships.
3D visualizers make beautiful three-dimensional pictures using models already made. These specialists are especially in demand in architectural design – to visualize projects of interiors and exteriors. With the proper skill of a 3D artist, it is almost impossible to tell the difference between a renderer and a photo.
Over time, you can master both specializations and become a 3D generalist – universal with skills in different areas of three-dimensional graphics. Or go into a narrow niche and become a master in a particular area: animation, texturing, creating environments, etc.
Step 4: Choosing Software
To start a career in CG, you need to decide on the software to work with. Beginners usually choose Autodesk 3ds Max, Maya, Blender, or ZBrush.
Autodesk 3ds Max is usually used for 3D modeling and rendering of architecture, as well as game characters. Also, this software can be used for animation and visual effects. The program has a powerful toolkit that allows you to cope with almost any task as a 3D artist. That’s why beginners often choose 3ds Max to begin their careers.
Autodesk Maya is ideal for animation, scene compositing and creating visual effects. It is often used in the film industry. Like 3ds Max, it has many extensions and plug-ins.
Blender is a free, cross-platform and comfortable to use 3D software. However, most professional studios still use 3ds Max and Maya as their primary tools.
ZBrush – the absolute leader in 3D sculpting. The program is designed to create detailed models of people, animals, plants and other organisms.
Step 5: Start Learning
To begin your studies you should choose a format that suits you the most. It can be online and offline courses with or without a mentor, training videos, tutorials, software overviews, etc. The more intense efforts you put into your 3D education, the more effective it is going to be.
Online and offline courses with mentors and coaches are the most effective way to get proper expertise. You will be able to receive well-organized information, practice skills, receive feedback and work on your own mistakes. But it is the most expensive way of education and requires significant investment.
Courses without mentors usually include lecturing materials and practical tasks. However, they won’t be reviewed and commented on. They don’t cost too much and sometimes you can find materials that are free of charge. But you need strong self-discipline to succeed.
Tutorials and training videos are usually free and can be found on YouTube or any other social media. Young professionals usually use them to support their studies as these materials are not organized into a structured educational process. They are effective only in case they are combined with other courses.