How to balance life with career in 3D art?

I’m looking for a different kind of support today. I hope one or two of you have experienced the same thing!

I’m a husband and father of two. I love my family and love to support them. My career in 3D is extremely rewarding, but as with many careers is very demanding on my time! Between managing deadlines and projects I can get lost/buried in my work. I work full time as a 3D generalist, as well as freelance clients on the side. I’m also chasing down a long time dream teaching digital art online with a side business. I’d love to just leave my job and do this, but I need to pay my bills!

Those of you with careers/businesses and families, how do you balance things? Family is my priority, but I also want to succeed as an artist/business owner. Thanks in advance for any advice you have to offer.

Nose candy.

Edit because this community is full of differently smart people.
They give you enough sugar to stay awake and complete all your tasks.

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A guy asks for help and you tell him to snort cocaine?


Go freelance and cut down your spending. I find that parent’s freelancing has a positive impact on the kids. However freelancing is hard and tedious.

I would not advise adding a drug addiction to your list of problems to solve.

but it does sound like, if you need more time, either that primary job, or the freelance jobs have to go. If the primary job isn’t paying you enough, it might be time to negotiate a raise, or find a new one.

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I work as a freelancer. With my first kid I took 10 months paid paternity leave and stayed at home for 12 or so more months unpaid after the 10 months were used up. During these 12 months my wife worked full time and I only did a couple of very small jobs which I was able to finish during my sons 3.5 hours per day in the nursery.
I was a bit concerned about losing customers, which I did, or at least some of them have not come back yet, but others stayed and i was able to find new ones quickly.

Now with the second kid which was just born 6 weeks ago my wife is taking the full 12 months of maternity leave and I´ll only be taking the two extra months in the beginning of next year. I´ll be freelancing as usual but scale back a bit and try to work mainly from home.

What I have learned form the long leave I took for the first kid is that you don´t have to worry that much about losing customers or having disadvantages in your career. Customers come back, you find new ones and just because you´re gone for a while doesn´t mean that your career necessarily suffers significantly.
And even if it does don´t worry too much. If your country offers decent parental leave go for it. It is really exhausting but worth every minute.

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It can help in the short time, but I do not recommend it, anyway the right recipe not exist I think, but one most important rules is organization of time free and not. manage your work in the entire week, with sub tasks. and even forget some dream like teaching online, is very time demanding. With a well time schedule, you can solve many issues.

It might take a good bit of time at first. But if you can get a decent course out there and up for sale, it provides a passive income source that’ll potentially give you more free time.

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It was a joke ffs! :man_facepalming:

Better go with LSD microdosing (Joking).

Every situation is different, there’s no one who can give you an answer. (Not joking).

The answer is inside you, but it’s wrong.(Joking again).


Not to go off-topic, but do you freelancers have portfolios online?

I would love to see the quality of work that grabs freelance clients.

I’m just a rank beginner with no real plans beyond hobbying, but I’d still like to see how the big boys (& girls) play, if you don’t mind. :^)

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Wow! :+1::+1::+1:

All these years seeing product shots in ads, I had no clue they were actually 3D renders instead of photography.

Mine eyes have been opened. :slightly_smiling_face: Thanks.

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I think the question is - what are you willing to give up on a macro and micro level? I think the best thing to do is to sit down and make a list with absolutely everything which you do during the day. Afterwards start prioritizing what is from absolute importance to you, what could be managed better and what you have to give up for the new stuff. Also schedule having free time/ a break, because this is essential, otherwise you would burn out. The rest is good management inmo, you can make a schedule for the day , but also for the week. For example lets say you have [X] amount of hrs a day to freelance, set Thursday and Friday for your course preparation, this would mace the course longer to finish, but with patience and persistance you would get everything done. See how much time it takes you to go to work, are there faster ways? This way you can have extra time in the morning. So … yeah… i think its just a question about what you are willing to give up and if its worth it for the thing you want to replace it with, making a good schedule and analysis of how much time you spend on things. People are usually very bad at managing that if they don’t write it down. I hope this helps !

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I think this is one of the core questions in life in general. There’s no one real answer. Each person has to make their own balance. There’s never a perfect solution.

Many people regret working too much and not spending time with their family, but if they weren’t career oriented in the first place, they might not have a family at all, or failed to support them.

I guess how I would go about it is: do you have enough money to survive for a year, do you have enough money to tackle some disaster situations like sudden illness and the like. If you do, I would spend more time with family. If not, having a solid foundation to rely on the case of emergency is quite crucial.

Ambition simply for ambitions sake seems excessive to me. Just my thoughts about it, nothing less, nothing more.

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I’d like to chip in. First i"M jealous that you are perusing your passions. I was so scared/concerns that my passion, once changed into a job would loose its fun. As such I’m now working as IT RIsk Manager on day to day basis. With a bit of adhoc/freelance on the side.

Now, as I to have two kids to support, along the house dept… I can’t drop my job as freelance simply won’t support me. “to late for me” in a way.

The only solution I have to have both Money and still enjoy animation is … reduce amount of sleep. 5-6 hours per day… not good (and there are days where i just get home and sleep). But I can spend time with kids before they go to sleep, and with my girl after. Then finally few hours for myself.

So as long as you have backup funds to ensure your family has a roof over the head and food on the table (for a few months - up to one year), then it would be safer for you to attempt to go that route. Also any decision, talk with the lady of the house, hopefully she is supportive of your passions.

No matter what we say, she should be your primary feedback.

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I disagree. Many very helpful answers here.

Thanks for the advice. There are many good suggestions in here. I agree, sacrifice is a big step on the way to becoming who we want to become, and accomplishing our goals.

Thank you! This is helpful advice. I agree with your last note as well. I think it’s important to keep the goal in mind. Or else why would I work so hard just to be busy?

Good stuff here! Thank you.

I know you’re not asking for advice, but I appreciate you sharing your situation as well. I can relate, so I just want to share a thought:

It’s cliche to say, but honestly it’s never too late. I have two kids as well. I was often told the same thing:
“Don’t do what you love for work or you’ll learn to hate it.”
All I can say is that is false. In my experience doing what I love has only enabled me to be a better provider and expand my horizons. (Hence the ambition in wanting to build more).

I see providing for a family as two fold:
First, providing money. Obviously kids need food and a home and other things to survive.
Second, providing is about providing growing experiences for my family. Providing them with the joy that Dad is happy and cares about their lives. I can’t do this if by the time I get home from work I’m so exhausted that I ignore them.

I used to be a salesman (not for me). I went to work and hated it almost every day. I came home and was a total bum. I quit that job with nothing more than a hope that I could work in the 3D industry. I had a home mortgage, kids, and a car payment. I prayed and worked hard at it and somehow I get to do that now! I think you could too, regardless of how deep you are into your career. (If that’s what you really want).

Now I definitely have difficulties keeping things in balance. I appreciate the advice! Particularly the bit about keeping the “lady of the house” in the loop.


Wow! Looks like you have some fantastic parental leave! I’m extremely jealous. Unfortunately I live in the US, where this really isn’t a thing.

The company I work for is one of the few that offer paternity leave (most only offer maternity). I had a total of 4 days off, and that is considered a luxury and a big perk by the company.