what certificates do you need to become 3d artist in a game etc?

like do you need a degree? a school certificate? etc or just good skills? thanks

Skills = what get you the job, certificate or not.

Certificates = impress some employers more than others. A certificate from somewhere like the Vancouver Film School would probably have far more job-cred than a generic visual art degree (depending on the Univesity), so things like that count too.

Would an art school (ie Savannah College of Art and Design in Georgia, or Micah in Baltimore) be good? I know places like FullSail and other As-Seen-On-TV colleges suck, but what about traditional art universities?

I thinks a good portfolio is a worthwhile investment. Invest in a graphics tablet and look out for volunteer work to help you. My mate who has no qualifications worked his way up from a mail room in a large corporation to IT as he was always helping out folks who couldn’t the caps locks key on their keyboard. Next thing you know, five years have gone by and he’s doing network work at a major airport.

Full Sail is actually a really bad-ass school. My brother graduated from there (the audio production stuff, tho… not game design).

All you need is a portfolio and talent.

a lot of employers get many many applications and in those cases an initial “vetting” usually takes place based on the CV… some kind of formal qualification shows you’re serious… if you want your “kick arse” reel to be seen a degree helps…

As too what, different employers look for different things… Electronic arts (for example) want sufficient software skills and specialities so that you can slot in and be usefull almost immediately… a smaller studio may be looking for someone with more traditional art skills…

Personally I think you can teach yourself software so would always recommend traditional art degrees as they teach you how to work ideas, how to generate them and the process of developing them…

Ok thanks, another question to add on-
What about if someone dropped out of school in year9? I’d imagine that would make things difficult.

There’s not a lot of your stuff on the forums, but from what I’ve seen of the cobra wip you’ve got going, I’d say that you have a pretty good fundamental skill-set in modeling. If you’re looking to do realtime graphics you should focus on that for a while. That cobra, for instance, you could use as a high-res mesh to make a normal map for a low-poly realtime model for something like a racing game. Something like that would look good in a reel if you were interested in a props / vehicle / environment modeling position.

Hang out on some of the game art forums, like Polycount or GameArtisans.org
Take some freelance jobs from some indy developers.
Finish projects and add the best ones to your portfolio.
Keep pushing yourself and try to avoid spending too much time in a comfort zone. Always be learning.

Having some actual work under your belt means a lot more to a potential employer than your general education stuff. Education is important, but I doubt there would be many studios who would turn down a skilled artist because they didn’t finish highschool.

You do not need a degree or certificate to get a job as a games artist. However, a degree is helpfull when trying to get work outside your own country(sometimes this makes it easier to get a visa). The key to getting a job in games comes down to your Demo Reel, and timing.

The biggest part about timing, is to send your reel to a company when they are actually hiring. If the company isn’t hiring, you won’t hear back from them for a very long time, if at all. The reel will just rot in the rather large pile of other junior artist reels. Also, never send the same reel to a company more than once. If they didn’t like it the first time, they won’t like it the second time… Suck it up, and make a better one.

Another thing to be wary of, is the company will most likely want you to work in their 3d package of choice. Which will more likely than not be XSI, 3d studio max, or maya. Some companies will let you model in whatever you want, but most, will not. So, take a look at what companies you’d like to work for, find out what programs they use, and get learning. Your reel doesn’t have to be made in that package… but when you start working you WILL have to be able to work at a profesional level in whatever package they ask you too.

Your demo reel should be sent out with a resume, and if the company has an application proccess you should definately follow it.

Demo Reel:

  • This should be a relatively short clip of only your absolute BEST work.
  • Your real will be judged on the single worst element inside it, so don’t put anything in just for the sake of filling it out. It is far, far better to have 20 seconds of awesome, than 4 minute of average.
  • The real should be anywhere from 1-2 mins. Keep it short and sweet.
  • Always have your name and contact details showing in the corner. If they like your work, you want to make it as easy as possable for them to contact you.
  • State at the start of your real exactly what position or role you think you can fill. Ei… Bob Smith: Animation and Character Rigging Demo
  • The real should have GAME relivent content in it. I’ve seen some good reels get turned down(or only barely make it through to an art test) simply because the lead couldn’t get a feel for if they can handle working to an appropriate polly budget.
  • Don’t put any fancy DVD menu’s or anything on the reel. Just keep it to the clip. The employer doesn’t want to know about your l33t DVD menu skills(Unless your actually going for a job as a flash artist for creating menus).
  • Provide your reel in a few different formats to make sure that it will play on whatever machine they decide to look at it on. DVD, quicktime, avi files, and my favourite, bink. Nobody is going to download codecs just to look at a junior artists reel.
  • Stick on target to what you are actually good at. If you are a character modeller, but you suck at animation, then, for the love of god, don’t animate your beautifull model… just do some nice panning pose shots, with a few wireframe fade in’s, and texture/none textured beauty renders. Similarily, if you are an animator, and you suck at modelling, then animate an obviously demo model.
  • If you use group work, make it VERY clear what is actually your work, and don’t wait till the end to do that either. Put a dot point at the bottom of the screen saying what is and isn’t yours. If you don’t do this, and somebody else from your group posts a real to the company, they’ll just think you both stole it and won’t hire you.
  • Target the company you are going for, research them, and try and have relivent things in your real. If its a company that makes war games, you are far better off throwing a soldier in there, than that “my little pony” model you made.
  • Oh, also, make sure your labeling on your CD/DVD is not only pretty… but also secure. I once saw a lead artist place a students CD into his comp… only to have the label come off, and munch his CD drive… That students work didn’t ever get looked at, and no, he didn’t get the job.[edit]
    I deffinately agree with Michael W, a Degree does help.

a lot of employers get many many applications and in those cases an initial “vetting” usually takes place based on the CV… some kind of formal qualification shows you’re serious… if you want your “kick arse” reel to be seen a degree helps…

Personally I think you can teach yourself software so would always recommend traditional art degrees as they teach you how to work ideas, how to generate them and the process of developing them…

I say, a degree may help open some doors and get your reel seen, but its not necessary.

CG is the profession of opportunities, especially as freelancer.
I started modeling with 3DS 3.0, tought me poser, autocad, solidedgem 3DS max and blender. I freelanced around a bit, made a higher school for surface construction and planning, started study civil engineer for surface construction but changed to computer sciences.
Get to know some ppl from the “scene” and you´ll get assignments. Your WIPs show talent and i am sure once in a while your name will be known.
I was lucky, a game company was looking for a blender artist, a friend was working in the office next door, told me about it, and there i had my job. send them some of my work, a skype meeting and it was settled, i signed the contract.
( i really like my company. we develop everything with blender :))

I think for beeing a 3d (game) artist you need:

The willigness to educate yourself in your freetime in new techniques and/or software
(basic) Anatomical knowledge.
The feeling for lights and materials
geometrical understanding (look at an object and understand its basic geometric components)
an eye for the natural imperfection (for doing photo realistic stuff)

Mostly you need talent as CGA… being able to handle a software alone isn´t enough.
And never accept a job where you have to work with a software you don´t know yet. The basics are mostly the same, but your workflow will be messed up and you´ll most likely shipwreck :wink:

At least thats what i think.

Thanks great information!