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Become A 3D Artist

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Working As A 3D Artist

  • Interacting With Computers
  • Thinking Creatively
  • Updating and Using Relevant Knowledge
  • Communicating with Persons Outside Organization
  • Making Decisions and Solving Problems
  • Mostly Sitting

  • Make Decisions

  • Stressful

  • $77,000

    Average Salary

What Does A 3D Artist Do

Multimedia artists and animators create two- and three-dimensional models, animation, and visual effects for television, movies, video games, and other forms of media.

Duties

Multimedia artists and animators typically do the following:

  • Use computer programs and illustrations to create graphics and animation
  • Work with a team of animators and artists to create a movie, game, or visual effect
  • Research upcoming projects to help create realistic designs or animations
  • Develop storyboards that map out key scenes in animations
  • Edit animations and effects on the basis of feedback from directors, other animators, game designers, or clients
  • Meet with clients, other animators, games designers, directors, and other staff (which may include actors) to review deadlines and development time lines

Multimedia artists and animators often work in a specific medium. Some focus on creating animated movies or video games. Others create visual effects for movies and television shows. Creating computer-generated images (known as CGI) may include taking images of an actor’s movements and then animating them into three-dimensional characters. Other animators design scenery or backgrounds for locations.

Artists and animators can further specialize within these fields. Within animated movies and video games, artists often specialize in characters or in scenery and background design. Video game artists may focus on level design: creating the look, feel, and layout for the levels of a video game.

Animators work in teams to develop a movie, a visual effect, or an electronic game. Each animator works on a portion of the project, and then the pieces are put together to create one cohesive animation.

Some multimedia artists and animators create their work primarily by using computer software or by writing their own computer code. Many animation companies have their own computer animation software that artists must learn to use. Video game designers also work in a wide variety of platforms, including mobile gaming and online social networks.

Other artists and animators prefer to work by drawing and painting by hand and then translating the resulting images into computer programs. Some multimedia artists use storyboards or “animatics,” which look like a comic strip, to help visualize the final product during the design process.

Many multimedia artists and animators put their creative work on the Internet. If the images become popular, these artists can gain more recognition, which can lead to future employment or freelance work.

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How To Become A 3D Artist

Most multimedia artists and animators need a bachelor’s degree in computer graphics, art, or a related field to develop both an impressive portfolio of work and the strong technical skills that many employers prefer.

Education

Employers typically require a bachelor’s degree, and they look for workers who have a good portfolio of work and strong technical skills. Multimedia artists and animators typically have a bachelor’s degree in fine art, computer graphics, animation, or a related field. Programs in computer graphics often include courses in computer science in addition to art courses.

Bachelor’s degree programs in art include courses in painting, drawing, and sculpture. Degrees in animation often require classes in drawing, animation, and film. Many schools have specialized degrees in topics such as interactive media or game design.

Training

Some animation studios have their own software and computer applications that they use to create films, and they often provide on-the-job training so that workers can use the specific software and computer applications.

Important Qualities

Artistic talent. Animators and artists should have artistic ability and a good understanding of color, texture, and light. However, they may be able to compensate for artistic shortcomings with better technical skills.

Communication skills. Multimedia artists and animators need to work as part of a complex team and respond well to criticism and feedback.

Computer skills. Many multimedia artists and animators use computer programs or write programming code to do most of their work.

Creativity. Artists and animators must be able to think creatively to develop original ideas and make them come to life.

Time-management skills. The hours required by most studio and game design companies can be long, particularly when there are tight deadlines. Artists and animators need to be able to manage their time effectively when a deadline approaches.

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3D Artist Jobs

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3D Artist Career Paths

3D Artist
Lead Artist Art Director
Creative Director
5 Yearsyrs
Lead Artist Art Director Creative Director
Senior Art Director
6 Yearsyrs
Lead Artist Art Director Designer/Art Director
Freelance Art Director
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Artist
5 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer
Senior User Experience Designer
8 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer User Experience Designer Senior User Experience Designer
Lead User Experience Designer
7 Yearsyrs
User Interaction Designer Senior User Experience Designer Creative Director
Creative Director & Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Senior Artist Creative Director
Chief Creative Officer
8 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Manager Principal
Design Director
7 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Production Manager Construction Manager
Design Manager
7 Yearsyrs
Video Editor Writer/Producer Senior Writer
Associate Creative Director
7 Yearsyrs
Consultant Architect Interior Designer
Senior Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Consultant Architect Design Consultant
Lead Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Consultant Architect Senior Designer
Senior Graphic Designer
5 Yearsyrs
Supervisor Shipping Supervisor Traffic Manager
Freelance Project Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Artist Senior Graphic Designer
Creative Manager
6 Yearsyrs
Senior Artist Senior Graphic Designer Senior User Experience Designer
User Experience Manager
8 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Instructional Designer Senior Designer
Senior Interactive Designer
6 Yearsyrs
Adjunct Instructor Instructional Designer Senior Graphic Designer
Graphics Manager
5 Yearsyrs
Web Developer Front End Developer Visual Designer
Creative Lead
5 Yearsyrs
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Do you work as a 3D Artist?

Help others decide if this is a good career for them

Average Length of Employment
Senior Artist 4.2 years
Multimedia Artist 3.4 years
Lead Artist 2.9 years
Technical Artist 2.9 years
Visual Artist 2.9 years
Animation Artist 2.7 years
Artist 2.6 years
3D Animator 2.2 years
3D Artist 2.0 years
Game Artist 2.0 years
Concept Artist 1.9 years
3D Modeler 1.6 years
Texture Artist 1.5 years
Top Careers Before 3D Artist
Artist 16.5%
Internship 12.0%
3D Modeler 6.6%
Animator 5.7%
Generalist 5.6%
Instructor 2.7%
Designer 2.1%
Top Careers After 3D Artist
Artist 17.4%
3D Modeler 6.8%
Generalist 6.2%
Animator 4.5%
Instructor 3.9%
Internship 2.9%
Designer 2.1%

Do you work as a 3D Artist?

3D Artist Demographics

Gender

Male

71.3%

Female

14.7%

Unknown

14.0%
Ethnicity

White

54.7%

Hispanic or Latino

19.4%

Asian

12.5%

Black or African American

9.0%

Unknown

4.4%
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Foreign Languages Spoken

Spanish

43.5%

Japanese

11.3%

Chinese

8.1%

German

8.1%

French

6.5%

Italian

4.8%

Russian

3.2%

Arabic

3.2%

Korean

3.2%

Vietnamese

1.6%

Yoruba

1.6%

Carrier

1.6%

Tagalog

1.6%

Polish

1.6%
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3D Artist Education

Schools

Full Sail University

16.1%

Academy of Art University

13.9%

Art Institute of California - Inland

12.5%

Savannah College of Art and Design

9.3%

Art Institute of Pittsburgh

6.9%

School of Visual Arts

4.4%

Art Institute of Philadelphia

4.4%

Art Institute of Seattle

3.4%

Ringling College of Art and Design

3.4%

Art Institute of Portland

3.0%

University of Central Florida

2.6%

Rochester Institute of Technology

2.6%

San Jose State University

2.6%

Art Institute of Phoenix

2.3%

Art Institute of Houston

2.3%

Art Center College of Design

2.2%

Art Institute of Washington

2.2%

Otis College of Art and Design

2.0%

Columbia College Chicago

2.0%

Utah Valley University

2.0%
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Majors

Animation

26.9%

Graphic Design

20.8%

Computer Science

12.1%

Fine Arts

8.5%

Computer Applications

6.6%

Design And Visual Communication

5.5%

Photography

3.3%

Digital Media

2.5%

Entertainment Business

2.4%

Architecture

2.0%

Visual And Performing Arts

1.4%

Communication

1.4%

Electrical Engineering

1.2%

Drafting And Design

1.1%

Information Technology

1.0%

General Education, Specific Areas

0.9%

Business

0.6%

Graphic Communications

0.6%

Education

0.5%

Interior Design

0.5%
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Degrees

Bachelors

60.4%

Other

13.2%

Masters

12.8%

Associate

9.5%

Certificate

2.7%

Diploma

1.3%

Doctorate

0.0%
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Job type you want
Full Time
Part Time
Internship
Temporary
Average Yearly Salary
$77,000
View Detailed Salary Report
$36,000
Min 10%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$77,000
Median 50%
$164,000
Max 90%
Best Paying Company
Microsoft
Highest Paying City
Denver, CO
Highest Paying State
North Dakota
Avg Experience Level
2.0 years
How much does a 3D Artist make at top companies?
The national average salary for a 3D Artist in the United States is $77,291 per year or $37 per hour. Those in the bottom 10 percent make under $36,000 a year, and the top 10 percent make over $164,000.

Real 3D Artist Salaries

Job Title Company Location Start Date Salary
Senior 3D Artist Microsoft Corporation Kirkland, WA Apr 23, 2015 $153,816
Senior 3D Artist-IEB or Other Microsoft Corporation Redmond, WA Nov 04, 2014 $141,063 -
$161,063
Senior 3D Artist Microsoft Corporation Kirkland, WA Jul 07, 2014 $141,063
Senior 3D Environment Artist Kabam, Inc. San Francisco, CA Jan 05, 2015 $115,000
3D Artist WMBE Payrolling Inc. Los Angeles, CA Oct 16, 2015 $110,000
3D Generalist-Artist Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. LLC San Francisco, CA May 01, 2014 $99,840
3D Generalist-Artist Lucasfilm Entertainment Company Ltd. LLC San Francisco, CA Jan 05, 2014 $99,840
Senior 3D Environment Artist Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 04, 2015 $96,539
Senior 3D Artist GSN Games, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 28, 2015 $95,000
Senior 3D Artist GSN Games, Inc. Palo Alto, CA Sep 17, 2015 $95,000
Senior 3D Artist I Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 02, 2015 $93,914
Senior 3D Artist Blizzard Entertainment Inc. Irvine, CA Feb 05, 2016 $93,914
Senior 3D Environment Artist Blizzard Entertainment Inc. Irvine, CA Jun 19, 2015 $93,500
3D Artist Riot Games, Inc. Santa Monica, CA Aug 19, 2015 $92,726 -
$114,171
3D Artist Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 05, 2015 $72,862
3D Media Artist Transparent House Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 01, 2014 $72,080
3D Artist III Video Gaming Technologies, Inc. Reno, NV Nov 24, 2014 $72,000
Staff 3D Environmental Artist Zynga, Inc. San Francisco, CA Oct 09, 2016 $71,344
Lead 3D Artist Laundry Design LLC Los Angeles, CA Sep 12, 2015 $71,302
Senior 3D Artist (Multimedia Artist/Animator) Fablelabs, Inc. San Francisco, CA Aug 28, 2014 $70,429 -
$75,000
3D Artist Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Sep 05, 2015 $70,228
3D Artist Midas Touch Game Inc. Palo Alto, CA Aug 27, 2016 $70,000
3D Artist Red Cube Production Inc. South San Francisco, CA Sep 16, 2016 $61,443
3D Artist Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Dec 15, 2013 $61,006
3D Artist Blizzard Entertainment, Inc. Irvine, CA Aug 08, 2014 $60,210
2D/3D Artist Zynga Inc. San Francisco, CA Sep 14, 2013 $60,000 -
$90,000
3D Artist MR. X Gotham LLC New York, NY Sep 21, 2016 $59,467
3D Artist The Mill Group, Inc. New York, NY Dec 01, 2014 $58,594 -
$100,000

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Top Skills for A 3D Artist

  1. Texture Maps
  2. Adobe Photoshop
  3. Graphic Design
You can check out examples of real life uses of top skills on resumes here:
  • Designed and created all the photo real texture maps for every car model in the game.
  • Utilized Unity for story writing and Adobe Photoshop and Maya 3D for modeling and texturing.
  • Collaborated with graphic designers and editors to develop motion graphics and animations for entire show packages.
  • Commissioned character modeling for video game
  • Model, UV's, texture, rig and animated characters and vehicles for advanced military simulations.

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Top 10 Best States for 3D Artists

  1. Washington
  2. District of Columbia
  3. California
  4. Delaware
  5. Connecticut
  6. West Virginia
  7. North Carolina
  8. New York
  9. New Jersey
  10. Texas
  • (65 jobs)
  • (11 jobs)
  • (268 jobs)
  • (3 jobs)
  • (9 jobs)
  • (4 jobs)
  • (34 jobs)
  • (53 jobs)
  • (27 jobs)
  • (59 jobs)

Top 3D Artist Employers

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Jobs From Top 3D Artist Employers

3D Artist Videos

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