Question about the 3D Graphics Industry.

Hi, I’m very new to the 3D Graphics arena and have been fascinated by Blender ever since I began to see what it could do. Since then my thirst for learning about the 3D world has been unquenchable. What I really haven’t been able to completely figure out is; how do 3D artists make a living? Where does one get a job in the 3D arena? What would that job be called (position title). Where does one begin in the 3D career path and where does one end up (other than in management)?

If someone could help me grasp that, I’d really appreciate that…

This is an absolutely fascinating field and I’d like to learn as much as I can.

Thank you for assisting me,

3D is very broad. There are many applications for 3D. ranging from product design, architecture to digital content creation.

For example, I use Blender to create digital contents for real time engines.

Another area of 3D that i work with is in creating concepts of product design/industrial design in 3D. For this area, i do not use Blender but CAD and NURBS programs.

I suppose your location helps some too. Where I live, there is a lot of demand of 3d artists for movie special effects, and in the same breath competition is quite tight. Getting your foot in the door doesn’t help, as the studios are often bidding against other studios, and more than one top freelancer I have talked to has at times considered leaving the industry for good during a dry period. And to make things worse, one top studio simply outsources 90% of their work, the place is populated with “sales” types, who will interview candidates mostly to assess their past employers for their leads.

Hi Simpo and KBot, thank you for your explanations. They were both very helpful in helping be connect the dots…from what I’m understanding, 3D artistry is not so much a career as it is a skill set. It’s not like an Electrician who studies electrical wiring and has a designated career path towards becoming a Master Electrician. Its more like a Computer Science, where you can either be a computer programmer or a network security specialist…its a skill set used for many different disciplines.

That said, and to KBots point, I’ve heard (or read about) a lot of 3D artists that are “freelancers.” I assume that’s a trend in this type of industry. I assume if you don’t work for a major corporation that employs you on a full time basis you simply crop out your skills on project work from client to client – which I goes could be very rewarding because you’re your own boss and you pick an choose the projects to work on, provided you have enough to choose from…which may be the down side of that endeavor.

Thank you for the explanations, they have helped me understand the industry a bit more.


Search through sites like for plenty of examples:
Also, check out the credits at the end of 3d animated feature films.

There are definite career paths in 3d graphics (and animation): lighting, modeling, animation, texturing, game design, etc.

Hi Kernord, thank you for the links. They provided some very good explanations of how the industry works. I wish I was 20 again and was beginning my career…I would most definitely go into the 3D Graphics world.

I’m fascinated by what I’ve learned thus far, but am struggling over how to apply it to real life, other than just a hobby, which is perfectly fine for me. However, I’d really like to be able to make use of these new talents for something that is more than “just a hobby.”

Thanks for your help,

Most who dive into 3d dream about Pixar.

But Pixar is not what makes CG.

3D can be used in

Product Design
Multi Media Design
Graphic Packaging Design
History Channel
Medical Field
Motion Picture
Forensic Field
Jewelry Design
Sculpture Art
Free Fine Arts
Print Making

Each field might have some unique requirements.
I have a background in communication design (graphic, multimedia, web)
and a degree in jewelry and 3dcg design.

I teach industrial design and also use 3D in jewelry work.

3D is just a tool there are so many applications for it.

The bigger question is would somebody also pay for it since it is a time consuming
and labor intensive process.

Hi cekuhnen, I can see that 3D is used in a lot of arenas. For now, my arena is the learning platform. I need to learn, practice, learn, practice and then learn some more before I can even begin to think of using it for anything productive, but it is A LOT of fun.

I’ve been involved in the computer industry for nearly 25 years and have done a lot of very interesting stuff, but nothing compares to this…wow, I’m simply amazed by how cool this is and how much you can do.

For now I’m going to stick to Blender, for two reasons - one, its free and two, it far more power than I can handle at this stage in my 3D graphics experience. If and when I grow out of it, maybe I can look at 3DS Max, or Cinema 4D or one of the other higher end products, but for now Blender will do just fine.

As for compositing video, I really, really like AE. I’d like to get it for Christmas, so I need to start dropping hits to the wife.

Thanks for all your help,

LOL - welcome to Blender the biggest time sucker Ton ever unleashed on humanity.

Have fun tinkering with it - it has so much to learn.
Small advice, set yourself some goals and follow them to the end.
I say that simply because there is so much to learn you can simply get side tracked,
lost in technicality, without building up 3d skill.

Last one is the most important one since the concept you learn in software A you can
easily apply to software B.

There is more one can learn in Blender then there is time for it.
And focusing on small doable tasks is also good for the self-esteem.

Since you mentioned C4D are you from Europe?

Thanks for all the good advice cekuhnen and everyone that has participated. I appreciate all the help.

And no, not from Europe…