Remember the last Marvel movie you saw? Or any animated ads? Well, didn’t we love such amazing visuals? Do you ever wonder why? Well, for one it is fun to watch. Two, they challenge reality and import us to an imaginary world. But, did you ever wonder how such visuals were made or who even created it? Most of you must know them already if not let me introduce the 3D animation industry and its artists!
These guys are the brains bringing life to your superheroes or animation movies, visual effects and ads.
Job as a 3D artist can be thrilling yet a difficult venture. Though how can you outshine such a desirable career? Will remote jobs be the future for 3D artists?
Read on as we root down the ways to create a successful career as a 3D artist and how to build it in the comfort of your home!
Who are 3D artists? What do they do?
A 3D artist is a person who creates three-dimensional visuals using computer software to use in creative projects like video games, movies and advertising campaigns. They primarily use computer-generated imagery (CGI) and other similar technologies to create models, animations and visual effects.
They are usually creative technical experts who create the visuals of different building structures. They bring the best essence of the buildings by creating the best version of the building with its ideal lighting, furniture and landscape. Make sure how the building looks even before it’s constructed.
Roles and Responsibilities of 3D artists
Construction projects undergo various stages of development, unlike any projects. Here the 3D artist takes the responsibility to visualise the architect’s or designer’s ideas into the best possible outcome.
Their job begins with creating the visual designs till editing the final visuals to be sent out to the clients. They make the basic models, choose the best colour and texture, create the best lighting and make sure all these elements interact cohesively with the environment.
Their day-to-day duties vary depending on the type of projects they handle on daily bases. Some of the general responsibilities include,
- Client discussions
- Defining design proportions
- Drafting and modelling the design requirements
- Implementing model movement and mechanics
- Creating storyboards for better understanding
- Assisting the sales team regarding design aspects
- Working with the production team to maintain the schedules and tasks
- Receive criticism from different teams and implement them
How can you become a freelance 3D artist and work remotely?
After knowing the job description as a 3D artist doesn’t it sound like an adventurous task? But will this job make you office-bound? Does it give you the extravagance of freedom of time, place and control?
Well, it is 100% possible.
Ever since the pandemic in 2019, remote jobs have skyrocketed at a massive rate and the 3D industry plays this game very well. You can easily ace this career as a freelancer, provided you are hardworking with the necessary design and software knowledge. Here are a few skills you need in general.
Top Skills for freelance 3D artists
Design Creativity: Being creative is the backbone of your artist career. Developing original designs gives you a lead in your competitions. Please make sure you grow and constantly exercise yourself with this skill. Brainstorming can be a great way to start!
Software knowledge: Learn the necessary drafting and modelling software. Long gone are the days when you spend hours hand drafting and making physical models. Though they still have their significance in the 3D industry, digital media has overtaken it by practicality.
Multitasking: If you have to choose one mundane skill then it’s multitasking. As in, you have to learn it or else you are going to lag your game. As a freelancer, you will be expected to complete different projects for different clients. To optimise the best of your opportunity, it will be great to balance them accordingly to make sure you meet your deadlines.
Teamwork: As a 3D artist you have to stay in touch with other creative members of your project, the designer, the marketing team and the production unit. Having teamwork and clear communications will help the project graph up in a positive direction.
Now that you have the clarity on what skills you should develop, let’s route down to the actual step by step process of how to become a freelance 3D artist.
How to become a 3D artist?
- Get a degree in design
The 3D industry works on the basis of your skill level and experience. The profession of a 3D artist doesn’t ask for a degree or educational background. In fact, your master’s degree won’t give you any add-on advantage if you aren’t experienced enough.
Then why do we still recommend a degree?
Having a degree or past experience in the art or design field will give clarity on what to expect from your career. Attending short-term classes in local communities can also help you have a better grasp of the art and design industry.
Make sure you expose yourself to the terms and techniques used in the industry like,
- Design elements
- Light and shading
- Colour and texture
- Material knowledge
- Movement and mechanics
- Drafting and 3D Modelling
- Learn the software
We are in the digital era, if you aren’t updated on the software you might not win the race. The essence of the handmade drawing models is a delicacy. Nowadays digital drawings and models work are practical and efficient options. Learn the modelling software like AutoCAD, 3Ds max, Grasshopper, Rivet, Rhino and the list goes on.
Make sure you hone your skills with needed software and stay updated with them.
- Explore different Specialisations
The 3D industry is huge. It’s an umbrella term used for all the modelling based industry. Since three-dimensional modelling exists in almost all industries make sure you specialise yourself in one or two of them to get the maximum exposure. Some of the fields of specialisation include,
- Architectural Visualisation
- Interior Designing
- Gaming Videos
- Movies and Animations
- Product Designing
- Product Marketing
- 3D printing
- Do an internship
Let’s be practical here! It’s not easy to land on a high paying job as soon as you complete your degree.
You need experience!
Most often there are lots of paid and unpaid internship opportunities to work and understand the industrial approach. Here you also get to experiment with your skillset. You can either choose for a small period of internship or choose packaged ones, where after the internship period you can get a full-time job in the same company.
Remember to stay as professional as you can even if it’s an underpaid internship. Your goal here is to learn, observe and absorb the work ethics along with client management.
- Build your portfolio
Now, this my dear friend is your key to success.
With a versatile portfolio, you can show off your skills and experience. A good portfolio can land you high ticket clients without even completing a bachelor’s degree.
Compile all your works on a website which suppose images and animations. Add a brief description of your work including the project details, time frame, conceptual sketches and the list of software used to make each project. This tells a story to your reader about your knowledge and experience.
- Make the portfolio 3D optimised
Being an artist or a designer doesn’t automatically mean you specialise in modelling. You have to tell them specifically. Make your 3D artist portfolio give priority to 3D works and modellings.
Once you are experienced and knowledgeable, you can apply to any online job platform and kick start your 3D career.
Remote Jobs are indeed the future of 3D artists
3D artists have demand in almost all industries nowadays. With the advance in technologies, people expect real-life visuals and animations to explain the ideas and themes.
Most often we find 3D artists working with the architects to create realistic models of buildings and amazing homes. In the filmmaking industry, we have 3D artists working with the direction and production team to create visuals and animations. They also work with the Marketing team to create animation ads and campaigns
Now, this is a good sign for 3D artists!
We can definitely expect the field to grow further, expanding more job offers and opportunities. Though the good news gets better as the career opens up remote opportunities to work as a freelancer on global marketplaces.
With the satisfying salary packages and freedom of time, comfort and location, freelancing 3D jobs are the most desirable career option for the future. As in who doesn’t want to earn money from the comfort of your home?
In fact, Forbes surveys have reportedly found that employees work better and are satisfied when they work from home rather than from the office. Even though they take longer breaks when they remotely work, they tend to work longer than their actual work timing. Approximately an employee works 1.5 days extra per month at remote jobs compared to that of an office setup.
Thus, making win-win situations, remote jobs are definitely the future of 3D artists.
Things that can make you a successful 3D artist
Building a career as a successful 3D artist can be a bumpy road if you aren’t having the clarity on how to do things. But if you are determined to outshine your competition and make your mark in the field, then it’s best you focus on upgrading your skill sets. Here is the roadmap to building a successful 3D artist career.
- Maintain work ethics
Remote jobs need discipline. Segregate your working hours from your personal hours. This assures you don’t over or underwork during your daily routine.
- Charge according to your skills and effort
Since freelancers are not backed with any support, most often they are scammed. People try to squeeze the most out of the artist at the least price. Set your minimum charges and never go below that. Value your time and effort.
- Stay updated with your 3D software skills
If you don’t catch up with the race, you might get lost in the crowd. Stay updated with the market trends and techniques.
- Practice makes you perfect. Do it daily
Make sure you stay in touch with your skills by practising them daily. Nothing is worse than forgetting everything you know and eventually losing your potential prospects.
- Stop Procrastinating
Avoid delaying your work, and stick to your schedule. This provides trust and builds connections between you and your clients.
- Stay updated with your competition’s work
Research and stay in touch with your fellow 3D artists. Doing so helps you understand the market trends better and develops creativity in your work.
- Build a strong portfolio
As a freelancer, if you don’t have a portfolio, you don’t have a career. Make sure you develop a strong portfolio which specifically focuses on 3D works and modelling
- Have a strong social presence
Freelancers thrive in social media. Create your account on LinkedIn right away. These platforms are your valuable marketplace to show off your skills and develop networks. Building a strong social presence and network can shoot up your monetary value eventually.
How much can you earn as a 3D artist?
Being a 3D artist opens you to a vast range of opportunities with its skill sets. According to your skill level and the type of prospects you cater to, your monetary income varies.
Now, if you ask us about the income range and its numerics, then we have three things to consider,
- What’s your experience?
- Whom do you work for?
- What are your job details?
How experienced you are in a field can raise your benchmark.
Reportedly an average annual salary of a 3D artist is around $72200. The numbers vary depending on experience. A beginner can expect to earn anywhere below 40 thousand dollars per year while an expert in the same field can earn three times more than a beginner.
Though 3D artists also work on an hourly basis, ranging from $20 to $60 per hour. Even here your hourly rates vary on your skillset and work experience.
Depending on whom you’re working for or which industry you service, your rates can vary. Usually, the hardest industry to work in has the lowest competition and highest paying clients. There are few industries that can pay high salaries to their staff, some of them are included below,
- Electrical Market for agents and brokers – around $81K
- Informational Services – around $80K
- Software Industries- around $70K
- Independent writer, artist and performer- around $75K
- Animation Industries- around $73K
Different jobs have different pay levels. Depending on the workload each profession calls for, your salary might vary
If you are a Graphic designer, you can expect around $50K. This also varies according to your level of work and experience.
If you are an Art Director- your pay can be around $97K. Most of the money here includes your creativity in idea generation, marketing and broadcasting.
If you are a Film Director- you can expect around $75K. The majority of the workload includes editing film videos and other media work.
Ways to find work online
There are so many ways to earn online as a 3D artist. As almost all industries need visuals and graphical marketing campaigns, there are lots of opportunities out there. Some of the ways you can earn money with your skillset as a 3D artist are as follows:
- Using freelancing websites and marketplaces
- Creating materials and plugins for modelling software
- Creating and selling readymade models
- Teaching through tutorial platforms
- Writing a blog or starting a youtube channel
- Using LinkedIn networking
Freelancing is more famous now than ever before. After acknowledging the potential of freelancers, there are so many online marketplaces that can directly connect artists with prospects. This just blew up the global reach of 3D artists. From large companies to small startups, hire 3D artists through these platforms.
Here is the ultimate list of 15 marketplaces to begin your career as a 3D artist
- People Per Hour
- Freelancer 3D
- Blender network
- 99 designs
- Flex Jobs
- Envato Studio
- Zip Recruiter
- Art wanted
Remote jobs were considered unethical until 10 years ago, but now they rule the market. The win on win situation for the prospects and the artists make this business model a successful one.
If you are a 3D artist irrespective of your work life, having a presence online and networking will gain you better career growth than an office-bound 9 to 5 lifestyle. In the long run, you can gradually make a full-time career from these freelancing platforms.
The most beautiful thing about working remotely is, apart from its freedom of time, place and money, it grants us the freedom of choice and refuge. Remote jobs allow you to escape from the toxicity of the office environment and balance a mindful life.