It can be quite overwhelming, getting a start in the CG industry especially since the industry itself offers diverse fields. Although having talent and creativity are important, what does it take to make it in this business? How do you build an impressive portfolio? What do production heads look for in a CG animator? In this guide, we are dishing out insider tips on how to work your way into becoming a top digital artist:

Are You a Good Fit?

To reiterate, the 3D animation industry is divided into different fields and most artists are trained in the following:

  • Animation and VFX
  • Photography
  • Computer Science
  • Graphic Design
  • Computer Games Modeling and Animation
  • Industrial Design
  • Software Development
  • Engineering  
  • Illustration
  • Automotive Design

Most production heads choose a candidate based on strong technical knowledge, a keen eye for detail, creativity, and passion. Relevant experience is something that all creative heads look for in an artist. However, having the heart, passion, and commitment are just as important when breaking into the CG industry.

Knowing all the latest CG technologies, trends, and techniques is also important. An interest in animation, video games, and design culture are also something that creatives look for in a candidate.

CG animation

Build an Impressive Portfolio

There is really no shortcut to building an excellent portfolio; you have to put time and effort turning good ideas into stunning results. A keen eye for detail and creative flair are key to building an excellent portfolio.

When executing an idea, you have to demonstrate realism when needed and add subtle details to make the scene as life-like as possible. This involves adding deliberate imperfections and nuances to create authentic and visually appealing images.

Don’t hold back, showcase your creative flair and bring great ideas to life. Know how to adjust your work to suit your audience. Most creative heads look for a person with a lot of ideas so, be a problem-solver, think outside the box and let your imagination run wild.  

It’s tempting to go all out on the special effects, but apply only the effects when needed, not for the sake of it. The way scenes and objects behave in real life should mirror your work. Never ignore the laws of physics, use the right lighting and perspective to add realism to your work.

Creativity and technical skills go hand in hand in the CG industry. Make it a point to highlight both in your work. Context is just as important, it shapes the visual narrative of a scene so the idea is communicated to the audience in the most effective manner.

Fine Tune Your Technical Skills

Providing inspired work is key to making it big in the CG business. But to execute ideas into stunning digital images, you must have a deep understanding of the many applications that production companies use for VFX and 3D animation.

Fine-tune your technical skills to become an asset to your team. Learning new technologies give you more control over your growth. As you become adept to new 3D applications, your turnaround time improves too.

You don’t have to be an expert on Maya, Houdini, Nuke and the Adobe suite but you should be familiar with these applications because they are a huge part of most workflows. The great thing about technology is that it upgrades on a regular basis, which gives you plenty of opportunities to grow as an artist. You could attend seminars, watch tutorials, or take online courses to learn how to use different VFX applications.

CG animation

Be Versatile

Most animators are quadruple threats, they could be good at drawing as well as graphic design, costume design, and video editing. Part of the job is versatility so be flexible.

Knowing how to use different animation applications could lead to different career opportunities, allowing you to take on different roles. Be open to changes to expand your skill set. The competition in the CG industry is stiff that’s why versatility is everything in this line of work.

Find Inspiration Everywhere

Keep your eyes open for new ideas. Inspiration and great ideas exist all over the place. You have to keep your eyes (and ears!) open to keep the creative juices flowing! Being close to nature, going to art exhibitions, watching movies, and learning about photography, these are just some of the many activities that will inspire you to bring new ideas to life.

Artists with a genuine passion for their jobs and individuals that never stop learning are the most successful in the industry. Again, providing inspired work is part of the job and by opening yourself up to new ideas, you will become a better artist. And when you work hard, the payoff is even better. Your work will be seen by millions of people and it will inspire other artists to become better at what they do!

Learn How to Take Directions

Your job as a CG artist isn’t limited to your visual and artistic skills. Different clients have different wants and needs and you have to be an excellent communicator so you could turn their ideas into artistic visions. Being able to take directions from clients is a huge part of the job. Your own ideas could wait until you have built a solid relationship with your clients.

To win their trust and respect, you have to learn how to listen well. Do not let your ego impede your creativity, be prepared to have your work critiqued by your clients. Once you have established a good relationship with your clients, you will be given artistic freedom over your work.

Take the next step in your career by enrolling for an online course at TDU. Be the best artist you could be, TDU offers online courses in VFX & Animation.

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