Difference between junior and senior artist

Hey guys,
I have seen many artists here, some of them beginners, some of them masters of 3D. I am finishing highschool right now and one day I would really love to do 3D for living. I’ve spoken to some people while asking for job even as a volunteer to get some experience, but all I have heard was “You’re too junior for us.”

My question for you is where do you see the gap, what is the thing that moves you from junior to something more moving forward to senior? Noone was able to answer me this question and I would really like to know it so I can improve myself and my work.

I am adding my portfolio because I think it would be really hard to speak about this without any reference.

Thank you for all answers and any critique.

First, it depends on what industry you’re trying to get into, and the discipline.
Some of them are a bit more ‘forgiving’ with starters or juniors.
Some industry have so called ‘runners’, where you be the ‘jack of all trades’ and slowly move into the production process. But this takes quite a long time, and people often get discouraged and quit.
And most of the companies will like to see some form of dedicated education towards CG related things.

But simply put, the difference between a junior and senior is simply experience.
Can they hire you for a job, and are you able to do that job without any ‘hand holding’, and in time.
Can you translate the customers comments and wishes into a finished product?
Can you anticipate the needs for the other members in your team, and be sure the project doesn’t need to step back because you forgot something in your scene setups? etc. etc.

So… what do you want to do? Modeling, Shading & Texturing, Animation, VFX like destructions, explosions etc? Rendering Artist? Compositing?
All this will reflect back to your decisions to learn certain skills, and get good with it.

Also, remember Blender is not a ‘industry standard’, so also be sure to look at other 3D solutions as well, to be as broadly educated as you can be in the part you’re interested in.
Like I said, companies expect you to sit down and start straight away. Telling them you need to learn “appX” first because you use “appY” doesn’t work in your favor. Sometimes it doesn’t matter if the pipeline is up to it. e.g. just model in Blender, output a FBX and the next person will pick up from there.

I’ve been doing 3D work for quite some time now, and have seen my fair share of applications. I also put down jobs because it’s too hard to keep up with everything going on in a 3D app. And the more complex a 3d application becomes (e.g. Houdini), the harder it gets to keep up with it.
You can become the ‘jack of all trades’ doing things as best as you can, or become very skilled in one or two area’s of a app.

So… it’s all up to you :wink:


They mean, bluntly, that they see you are not displaying enough knowledge of the process, ability, or talent. Such that you might be perceived as more of an effort to train than it is worth.

This might not even be justified or correct. But something to understand is that they are very practical-minded. They have a work-process. And that is about 90 % of the job. And art-ability is only about 10% of it. That does not mean you have to be 1/10th of a good artist. That means you may have to be 300% better than anyone. But even then, it will only take up 10% of what you have to know to do the job.

It is that other 90% that makes you a senior over a junior. And getting in as a Junior means your talent has to be displayed such, that you are above average. Or the best they can expect is a below average artist that they have to train to become eventually a senior, and even remain, below average.

So what should your focus be? Making kick-ass art. Or at least display a high level of competence.

There is nothing wrong with your portfolio in terms of quality. Everything is professionally presented. But if there is anything missing is the wow factor. Something that stands out that shows your personal talent or style or an ability to tackle challenging work.

So the best way to accomplish that, is to find some artist that you really admire, and try to copy it. Take something you think you can do, and figure out how that artist did it. And then do it. And keep challenging yourself above your current ability this way, copying other artists work.

And in the process you will start learning the production pipeline. Like UV maps and textures and retopo and all of the rest of it.

And as a bonus you might even discover you have a style.

Then put together a killer portfolio that shows you can tackle challenging work, your style if you figured that out, and that you understand the process, by showing breakdowns of how you did it.

The rest will take care of itself.

Thank you so much for answer and tips. I think I do understand it clearer now.

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Thanks for these words and advice, I’ll keep them in mind.

You can hit me up any time, if you need more specific guidance. I run a small studio and every year I/we train interns from the local college. And I am constantly helping to guide the growth of the artists at my studio. So this is something I am not unfamiliar with. Additionally I built my own career from scratch.

PM me if you feel the need.