Career Opportunities in 3d

Hello everybody,

I am mid 30 have been trying to get to grips with Blender for a couple of months. This is a real question and I would like honest answers. I have no previous education or have been involved with anything artistic like before. But I have seen what is possible with 3d imaging in advertisement, architecture and movies. Is it realistic to pursue this career and if so what would be the way to go in terms of education. I am trying to do a lot of tutorials and read about different subject related to the 3d industry and related subject. Can somebody give his ideas about this and if someone has done this before.

I hope you can give me where necessary critique and or tips to steer me in the right direction.

Are there also people and or businesses that can make a living with working with only Blender and how did they make their first steps in the 3d industry.

Thanks everybody already for their time and effort.

The only answer worth giving is “hard work”. You could get a million different stories from a million different people about how they started working with Blender. I’m sure some of them would be interesting stories, some might even give you an idea on what to do to start getting 3D work, but ultimately, these people are different people, in different situations with different opportunities than you.

If you really want to get paid work with Blender, carry on using it. The only way you become a good modeller/animator/rigger/VFX artist is by doing modelling/animating/rigging/VFX. When you’re comfortable enough with it and you feel like you can take on a client, go out there and start meeting people. I’ve found a lot of my work through small production companies who are too small to have their own full time CG artist, but still get jobs coming in which requires one.

The main thing about getting work is having a showreel and the best way to make a showreel is to get work. I started off making graphics for projects my friends were working on. These were unpaid projects, as my friends were doing them off their own backs, but still had deadlines, an audience and the fear of people thinking how terrible something would look if you did a bad job. Keep on doing these jobs as it’s experience for working in a team, people will see your work and it’s stuff you can put in your showreel. If you don’t have any friends who need your CG expertise, then there are many job forums on the Internet which are film related, often split up into paid/unpaid. There’s even one here on Blenderartists. There’s also, Creative Cow and I’m sure many more if you look. The main thing here is making contacts, it’s the most valuable thing you can do as these contacts are the people who will come back to you in the future with more work.

It’s worth thinking what exactly you want to do? I’m a 3D generalist if anything, so I work on smaller projects, but I work on all aspects of the 3D process. If you want to specialise in something in particular, e.g. modelling, you’d be working in a team on bigger productions which can afford specialist rather than generalists. This puts you at the mercy of the production company as far as what tools you use. If they want you to sculpt in Z-Brush, you’ll sculpt in Z-Brush. This isn’t a big deal though, it’s good to have many tools on your belt and having experience in different applications is great.

As far as proper education goes, it’s in no way necessary. It’s very useful to have, you can learn a lot and meet lots of like-minded people, but it’s not a requirement for the types of jobs we go for. I have degrees in Electronics with Computer Science and Documentary Film and Television. I’ve never been asked about my education for a job. They just want to see your work and for you to tell them what you can do for them.

Work hard, but have fun. There’s no point if you’re not having fun :slight_smile:

30’s? Ha, still a kid! But to answer your question, yes, there are plenty of people making a living with Blender as their primary 3d tool. Most probably also know how to use Photoshop or gimp as well as a few other graphic tools. But I can only speak for myself and my personal experience.

I create training videos for a living with a huge corporation. I “enhanced” (but did not lie) my resume to get the job. I use Aftereffects, Photoshop, Illustrator, and premiere as well as Blender for all my 3d work and a lot of compositing. Blender is starting to replace Aftereffects as my primary compositor in some cases. I freelance quite a bit on the side. My freelance work is almost 80% Blender and animations.

I have been using Blender for three years this month. Compared to other artists here at BlenderArtists I would classify my work as “adequate”. But my customers seem to come back for more because I do the job on time and they look pretty good.

If I was willing to give up health insurance and really work at it, I could probably go full time freelance, but I like the security of a big corporation. I have found that in the training community I am a big fish in a small pond. I have also found that most 3d artists want to make movies or video games, leaving the training video world wide open for people like me. I am a one stop shop. I do it all. I write copy, I create models, sets, and titles, I direct, do the lighting and the editing and the composting. For freelance I offer the same, but generally am limited to 3d models/animations and titles.

It is hard work. Between my real job and freelance I generally work 70 or 80 hours a week. But I love what I do and I am one of those people that wakes up Monday morning excited to go to the office and start working. Salary wise, This year combined I bring in very low six figures (and I do mean very low). So the ability to make a good living with Blender is absolutely possible. Education wise, I have none other than tutorials and this Blender community. My background before turning to graphics and animations was 20 years in system software development.

Hope that helps answer your questions.

It isnt really about the tool. On these forums you will see alot of Blender vs. other 3D app threads. One thing that i have seen consitantly in these kind of threads is that it really comes down to the artist and and their talent. Many accomplished 3D artists prefer other apps, but ultimately it is his skill as an artist that is important.

In your post you indicated that you have not really pursued any artistic ventures. I would recommend that you start by studying some more traditional art before working with Blender. What use is a paintbrush if you do not understand composition, lighting, layout, forms, etc? I dont mean to discourage you, but I think you should avoid putting the cart before the horse.

Why not start out by studying professional photographers and their style? Look at different photographers and their usage of background material, lighting and camera angle. If you come to Blender with a good grasp on the artistic medium you will have a much easier time.

One example that I have always enjoyed is the Third & the Seventh by Alex Roman. In reality his video does not have a single complex model or material(with the exception of the camera), it just comes down to artistic style and execution.


I might sound a bit more cautious here than others so dont take it the wrong way.

This all boils down to three things:

Do you know the software and thus also the technology enough to meet the expectation of what a client
or employee demands? Many say they know Photoshop and can do graphic design. But Photoshop is a tool
and design skills and understanding is something very different.

Having an interest in doing art/design and having the eye or talent for it is also something different. One
needs to be very honest here. Yes there is the with hard work you can do everything slogan but hard work
does not guarantee results.

Without any previous education, question is what employer will be ok with that. A degree to a certain point
is also a statement or proof of acquired qualification. Some employers are ok with a good looking portfolio
and some are simply not.

With mid 30 starting brand new in design and art, you have a lot of catch up todo. So my advice is maybe to
look for a local well established community college for a 2 year or an art school with a 4 year degree.
Or see if maybe you can get an internship with a local design company and see if you like this area.

I think just watching few tutorials is not a good idea to build up a solid design skill set in 3D if you want to
became successful in this quickly. There are some who can do this but those are ueber talented. Most like
us are not.

I hope I put some thoughts into perspective.


I started 3d (Blender) when I was 31. Now I am 40.

Age does not matter what it matters is the end result

Software does not matter what it matters is the end result

The oldest I know of is grandma Mooses , she started at the age of 70 and at the age of 80 she was making millions of dollars. She is not even a rare example, plenty of famous sucessful artists started after the age of 50.

Its nothing complex, its just learning and doing , thats all. Its all about sticking with it. If you keep improving one day you may even be capable of making ridiculous amount of money with Blender. Its completely up to you.

In the end of the day all it matters is … the end result.

Hey,thanks for the quick and even better the good advice and tips.

Blurredmotion: You are right, trying to land the first job succesfully, is my first goal and everyday I am working with Blender I see that I am getting more comfortable with it and practice is the key word. Good quality work fit for a showreel is not in the pipeline just yet, but I am trying to find out what I can do with Blender and what I think I am good at.
The companies that you work for or have worked in what line of business are they (no company names of course).

Place 57: Well to be exactly 36 years and a kid that’s right. Have already been GIMPING but looking for other graphic programs which are prefably open source (free). Maybe MyPaint, do not know which programs are really the thing to go for as a beginner or when more advanced.

Greyoxide: seen the film original on website The Fixables. Niiiiiiice.

Cekuhnen: I asked for realistic answers and opinions and the ones you are given me are exactly that. Of course Blender is the technical tool to get the project in the final form and you need to have other skills and that is what I am trying to find out. Do you have to be a natural or can you make it with a lot of dedication because not everyone can be a Piet Mondriaan or Rembrandt van Rijn. I am trying to be a self taught 3d artist right now because moneywise that is my only option at the moment but I know there are online courses at Gnonom, CG society and Animation Mentor. Maybe these are good alternatives for the normal schools? Are real life drawing cousrses also good options.

Abc123: have seen the trailer. Haven’t played it yet. So this is what you also can do in Blender but I think a lot of programming work.

Kilon: Making money or my image one a poststamp though decision.

Feedback from real Blender users that was I have been looking for and be sure that you will hear from me again, maybe sooner than you think. Hahaha(creepy laugh).

No really thanks


I studied graphic design then jewelry design and made my hobby 3D CG as my main profession in product design and also do product rendering as a freelance service and I only use Blender and Cycles for this.

But I am a single person and I have the freedom to select what I need. Today with Cycles Blender can deliver quality rendering that are equal to VRay or MentalRay.

You also have one major advantage I did not have. Today you have the internet and access to a massive amount of resources such as tutorials and forums. Blender form will be great for learning Blender but for serious 3D advice I would rather go to a more professional forum such as CG society to get quality feedback.

Drawing is not only drawing. To draw well you need to be able to see and observe details. Only when you know what you see you can translate that into pencil strokes. As a teacher what I teach is often less the the trade but more the less visible abstract that is working in the background. There is also a difference between being a good drawer (technically) and what you compose with your skill(the artists).

That is what I said knowing photoshop is not equal knowing graphic design and translated that into Blender knowing modeling is one thing, being creative with it is a different matter.

I think all here agree that today things are more accessible then years ago and Blender is also an extremely professional application.
Next week I teach a workshop at Bowling Green university doing shoe - fabric design and rendering. I some years ago learned Maya and Mental Ray. It just took me 3 days to figure out how to model the same way in Maya and how to translate my Cycle materials into Mental Ray so I can teach the workshop perfectly.

If you understand how things work, and Blender can be the vehicle for that, it does not matter what software you might need at an employer. You will need some work time to get comfortable with the new software, but the concepts are the SAME.

Just my 2 cents for what its worth. I’m not going to say its not possible but to be honest with you, you are pretty much at a disadvantage on the industry. The 2 routes you can go-

  1. Get a job within the industry- At mid 30 without any commercial experience or a degree your not going to make the sift for a interview. The problem you have is the job market is saturated with highly qualified very skilled graduates who can’t get work. Every job literally has hundreds of applicants and the only way to start to find candidates is to sift the cv’s before they even start looking at reels. You could get lucky but the chances are slim. The old joke of what do you say to a guy with a media degree… Do you want fries with that. Unfortunately has a nasty ring of truth.

  2. Go freelance - i always am a little sceptical of guys calling themselves freelancers as there is a huge difference between running a successful business and earning a few bob on the side doing a bit of 3d in the evenings. The problem you have is there are literally thousands of guys who put up a website, throw up a couple of nice renders and hey your a freelancer. Competition is fierce and not helped by the increasing number of Chinese and Indian studios who are producing some amazing work for a fraction of the price of US and euro based artists. There are guys who do make a good living from freelance but there very much in the minority.

I hate to sound neg and i truly hope you make it, but the truth is its a cutthroat industry which is not easy to get into. I was very much in a similar position when i left the military in my mid 30’s. I couldn’t even get an interview after 6 months of sending out cv’s. i was lucky a ex navy buddy swung me a interview and i landed my first job. I would be in a very different career path if i hadn’t got that break.

For sure its great to have an education, and if the possibility is there I would take it. I just discovered Blender and digital 3d my self, though with an furniture making education in the background where design and art was a big part. Anyhow, my friends brother is a self learned animator except some short course he took for a more fundamental understanding and he is in the film industry now, he actually work in the latest batman film. so I guess dedication is a big part of it.

I’m actually curious about the training videos you do. Would you mind saying where you work, or at least what type of company you work for? I’m also interested in how one might find a job doing this? Where do you even start looking? I’ve worked for 24 years as an audio engineer and have done some audio post on training videos and educational media, but it’s something I’d like to be more involved in. In fact I’d really be satisfied having a full time job doing that kind of thing. I’ve taught audio production for 16 years, and developed a lot of training media for the schools I’ve worked for and I really enjoy doing it.

Also, specifically about your job, do you work for a corporation that produces training videos, or do you produce training videos to be used within the company?

I’m a geek for corporate work, be it audio, animation, compositing, editing or anything. Too many years of working with horrible bands that want me to make them sound like huge rock stars for no money. I’m too old for that crap.

Kaleb next week I do a workshop about modeling and rendering for shoe design and I have two other projects in the work for our cg scene. Main reason of rm wh I got those offers is because of m portfolio and approaching them as well. There are many training services out there. From to digital tutors and others. Build a sound resume and portfolio and contact them.

Place57 you are in the wrong country with that wish regarding healthcare. Maybe one day they will also introduce a single payer model like Germany where everybody no matter of income has the same quality insurance - no matter where you work!