I want to become a professional CG artist

(Mr. Hussain) #1

I want to choose CG as my career. I want to know how to become. How and what do I need to study, what do jobs require, etc.

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(Tom Kelly) #2

Hello Mr_Hussain,

I think that you need to go off and do some research into what you like and what you think would suit your skillset.

There no one size fits all program that will work, everyone has different strengths and weaknesses which means many people take different routes to similar jobs.

One thing that you can do is be more independent and start doing research yourself. There are plenty of resources out there that you can read and educate yourself on what career paths there are.

After you know what you want to do, you’ll need to start learning everything you can and create a portfolio. Additionally you’ll probably have to do some sort of degree or qualification at school/college.

Nobody here will be able to tell you the right path - only you can find that out.

Good luck

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(kakapo) #3
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(rawalanche) #4

^ This pretty much :slight_smile:

These days, there is so incredibly much of knowledge and learning resources already that one of the worst things you can do is start creating multiple threads on internet forums and waste time waiting for people to respond with often low quality answers.

If you are a beginner, then vast majority of your questions will be beginner questions, which means there’s pretty much 100% chance they are already answered somewhere. Only when your skill becomes at least a bit advanced is it worth to start creating forum posts and ask about advanced questions for which the answers are a bit more difficult to find. But even then, in many cases, they can be found too. Now, in 2019, it’s really rare to have a question about something that’s not been answered on the internet yet.

So if you want to learn really fast, then I suggest you take a challenge to not ask any question on the internet for let’s say 6 months. Only use the knowledge that’s already there. Search already existing forum threads, watch youtube tutorials, google a lot, etc… You will find that you will actually be able to learn much faster, because you won’t fall into the mindset of posting a question and then sitting idle, waiting for answer for hours or even days. Instead, you will get into a habit of finding the answer immediately or finding your own workaround.

The only exceptions to make in this challenge would be a non-question posts. Posts about something you have figured out and want to inform others about, or bug reports, to report bugs for any software you use, so that you lower the changes of those bugs slowing your work down in the future :slight_smile:

Just take all the 3 questions you’ve formulated in your original post, and google them, one by one. I would be extremely surprised if you have not found at the very least 10 answers for each of them.

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(ManuelGrad) #5

Harsh but true!

(Mr. Hussain) #6

Thnks everyone for your advice, I will do my research.
I was a bit stressed about what education I will need to get a job in the industry.

#7

Usually most valuable and effective action is to:
Visit studios, either in your area or where you’d like to work and ask them directly.

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(sundialsvc4) #8

To broaden upon burnin’s comment … "think about companies, big or small, in your own home-town(!)," that are likely to be using computer-graphics right now. Architects come to mind, as do advertising agencies and video producers. Send them a polite letter – maybe an e-mail – or make an equally-polite phone call and express your interest in talking with them. I’m pretty sure that they would be happy to tell you about what they do. (Who knows, they might even offer you a job, or an internship.)

“Your reputation precedes you,” even when you don’t realize it, and, “those who are faithful with little will be faithful with much.” There’s really nothing more important than the fact that “others will speak well of you.”


When you’re looking for a role in which you can prosper, remember – “it’s not all DreamWorks and Pixar.” It’s not all movies or architectural visualizations. Furthermore, there’s so much work to be done that it is massively farmed-out to sometimes very-small companies … who can, for the most part, be located anywhere that a high-speed Internet connection can be found. You want to be an “artist?” Would you be happy working with print, too?

Blender(!) has done more than anything else to make professional-quality digital graphics available to Everyman, and the sky’s probably the limit with regards to what they are today doing with CG … even in your own home town.

“Think outside the movies.™”

… and … welcome!

(Mr. Hussain) #9

Im 16 years old and i live in Pakistan. So, there are no studios in my area. I want to move out from Pakistan when im 20, to a city like London or Paris. And until im 20, I need to study and I dont know what to but I will do my research.

Thnks for the replies by the way.

(sundialsvc4) #10

Even if you live in Pakistan, “the Internet is everywhere.” And, users of computer-graphics in your area might well not be “studios” … who said they had to be? :slight_smile:

I very well remember the desire to “leave town and fly.” In fact, we did it, my wife and I, and I don’t regret it (even though we eventually moved back). Therefore, I’m not telling you to abandon your dream – indeed, as a fellow voyager I wish you bon voyage. But at the same time, “expand your horizons.” The digital computer has become phenomenally powerful (and “Moore’s Law” shows no sign of stopping). The Internet is everywhere. The production of “art” in virtually all forms has become digital.

“And here you are, 16 years old with your life ahead of you, and born smack-dab in the middle of all this wonderfulness.” Oh, The Places You’ll Go! … (Yes, maybe, “even right home in Pakistan.”)

With the world of technology changing, literally, “right under our feet,” any predictions of “the future,” and therefore of what your future career-path “must” be, might very-well become obsolete almost-immediately, as new possibilities open up almost every day. Keep your eyes open and do not automatically assume that you must “take a voyage to a distant Promised Land” to get to where you want to be.

If that period of time living in “London or Paris” materializes for you – by all means, carpe diem: seize the day!” But if life turns out differently, don’t feel shortchanged. You will, very-soon enough, find one-or-more places as a graphic artist. Just be prepared for the unexpected, and be sure to embrace it. Because, these days, that’s very likely what you will find.

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(Richard Culver) #11

If I could break it down for you, I would say, first, find what your passion is about 3D. What is it that attracts you the most about 3D. And then start with that.

Of course, you might not know, just looking at 3D work to determine what technical things are happening behind the scenes. But chances are you can understand the basics. There is the modeling, design and then there is the coloring (texturing) lighting and so on. Or maybe it is the animation which attracts you.

See if you can latch on to something that gives you the motivation to learn. It will help in the long run because learning can be challenging technically.

But don’t worry if you can’t do that right off. At some point this will show itself.

Also it might help to identify the industry that interests you most:

A general overview of industries that use 3D:

Film
Games
Virtual Reality
Simulation
Architectural design and visualizing
Manufacturing design and visualizing
Product Design and visualizing
Medical Visualization
Forensic Visualization

And of course a large variety of applications many people are not usually aware of.

In the last 30 years of CGI work there has not been any real drastic fundamental changes to the technical process - categorically. Meaning some of the technical processes have improved and changed, but each category has remained the same. So it is a good chance that the next 30 years of your life will not see that drastic of a change either. In fact much of the knowledge and know how that goes into 3D as an art form has been with us for centuries.

So here are the areas of focus and technical background you will need to have:

  1. A good fundamental knowledge of art basics. You can get this from any art study in your area or online searched. These things will never change in the fundamental ways.

  2. Art design basics for things like game and film. Some kind of knowledge of how things are worked out at the concept level. Look online for “concept art”, “storyboards” “pre vis”.

  3. Model creation and sculpting. At some point the model is then realized. Usually in a scupting application or other way to “concept” a model in its most basic form. Be that a character, scene or prop.

  4. Model preparation for rigging, textures and animation. Once the model has been concepted, it needs to be prepped so that it can be textured, rigged and animated.

  5. Animation Basics. Understanding how characters and objects are animated.

  6. Rendering, Lighting. How scenes and objects are rendered and lit.

  7. Game engines and working between 3D Apps and game engines. Exporting files to game engines.

Google these terms. “UV Map”, “PTex” UDIM" “Texture Painting” Likely these concepts will remain to some degree. But once you understand these fundamentals you will comprehend the programs that use some kind of proprietary format. Zbrush for example which allows you to paint on the sculpted model.

Google “Poly Folow”, “Edge Loops”, “Modeling for Rigging” “Articulation for Animation.”

Google, ““Rigging” Weight Painting”

Google “Blend Shapes” “Shape Keys” Facial Morphs" “Facial Riging”

These will open your eyes to the various methods for facial rigging and similar applications.

Google “Mocap” (“Motion Capture”)

Google “Animation Basics” “Animation Fundamentals” “12 Principles of Animation” “Disney Animation Techniques”

Google “Rendering” “Lighting”,

Google “Game Engines” “Fbx Export”

There is probably a lot to add here but this will get your started.

3D Apps:

Blender
Maya
Modo
Houdini

Sculpting apps

Zbrush
Mudbox
3D Coat
Modo
Blender

Painting/Texturing Apps

Mari
Substance Painter
Substance Designer
3D Coat
Modo
Blender

Apps that do rigging and animation.

Maya
Blender
Modo
Motion Builder
Houdini

Apps that specialize in visual effects

Houdini
Cinema 3D

Apps specifically that deal with rendering only:

Renderman
Arnold
V Ray
(many many more)

manufacturing design apps:

Solid Works
AutoCad
Rino

Game engines

Unity
Unreal
Cryengine

Of course I have not listed everything here. Just the most prominent - in my experience.

Best of luck.

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(Mr. Hussain) #12

Thanks for the breakdown, I am mostly interested in Landscape designing. And I want to work in either films or simulations. I am gonna take some courses for all this stuff.

I watched many interviews at blender guru it really helped, I am clear now on what to do.

And Btw i have to get out of pakistan for personal reasons so it would be better for me to move to a place where the CG industry is prominent.

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(Richard Culver) #13

Best of luck to you. :slight_smile:

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(Ace Dragon) #14

You could just be one guy working out of your house these days, though it is a bit harder if you live in a less developed area of the world because the internet, while present, may be a bit sluggish. It can still be done though.

If you’re a freelancer who can work with clients over the internet, and use the internet as the platform to transfer and upload work, then money can be made that way. You can also earn money by the month without doing professional jobs by starting a Patreon and creating on a regular basis to reward those who subscribe, though your options there might be different depending on the country.

To the original poster, things really get different though if you insist on working for a large VFX company, most of those jobs are in major urban centers in North America and Europe and working over the net might not be an option. Fortunately, it’s not the only option.

(sozap) #15

Unlike some other fields what really count is your portfolio. Where you’ve learn isn’t that much relevant, unless you came out a really good and known school , which mean you was already talented when entering.
Being a self learner is quite valuable in CG as it evolve a lot and you always find yourself learning new stuff anyway.
Taking art studies is a great plus and will boost you of course but being a self learner is more important.

Good luck , as long as you work hard and stay curious everything should came alright !

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