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Make a living?
Posted: 19 February 2013 01:17 PM   [ Ignore ]
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How do 3D artists make a living? 

I have been dabbling in Carrara for several years but always towards my own ends of one project or another.  I usually use a 3D piece as an intro or outro for a video project, but it’s been strictly a “nice-to-have” feature.  Largely, it’s been a hobby, rather than a money maker.

I’m curious as to how other 3D artists make a living, and how prominently Carrara is a featured tool. 

Where does one get gigs in which they can utilize their 3D skills?

If I were to expend the time and energy ramp up my Carrara skills, what kind of paying opportunities exist out there?

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Posted: 19 February 2013 01:30 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 1 ]
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It really depends on your skill level, but most don’t. For most CG artists it’s pocket change, or a supplement to another income. I doubt even stonemason is making a living at this. The ones that are making a living at it are working for some big CG house like pixar.

But it depends on just what you want to do. Carrara can be used to make commercials. Carrara can be used to render pictures for print, comics, book covers, ect. Or you could use it to model and texture content. Then it;‘s just a matter or rigging it in Studio.

As I said, it has a lot to do with your skill level. I’ve been at this for years and am still a novice at best. I can model and have made cloths for figures. But it was too frustrating for me to do regular, and I’m not that good at modeling.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 02:55 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 2 ]
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I found a very informative thread on cgsociety.org in which several people working in graphics relate their experiences and opinions.

http://forums.cgsociety.org/showthread.php?f=2&t=1093330&page=1&pp=15

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Posted: 19 February 2013 03:00 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 3 ]
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ManStan - 19 February 2013 01:30 PM

It really depends on your skill level, but most don’t. For most CG artists it’s pocket change, or a supplement to another income. I doubt even stonemason is making a living at this. The ones that are making a living at it are working for some big CG house like pixar.

But it depends on just what you want to do. Carrara can be used to make commercials. Carrara can be used to render pictures for print, comics, book covers, ect. Or you could use it to model and texture content. Then it;‘s just a matter or rigging it in Studio.

As I said, it has a lot to do with your skill level. I’ve been at this for years and am still a novice at best. I can model and have made cloths for figures. But it was too frustrating for me to do regular, and I’m not that good at modeling.


Actually, based on my own income vs. what a monster of an artist he is, I think he probably is. wink 


But this also depends on what your standard is for “making a living.”  If you can’t settle for less than a hundred thousand US per year, then yes, 3d is only for the top one percent, or those with bachelors’ degrees from Vancouver Film School.  I am nowhere near this category but I certainly make enough to support my modest lifestyle, more than I ever made at minimum-wage or lower-echelon medical support jobs (so glad I don’t do that any more!).  So don’t quit your day job if it’s in tax accounting or dentistry and you’ve already got kids, but for those of us already used to a middle-class existence, this is just fine.


In my case I started out doing this as a hobby while working part-time.  I couldn’t get a job after college that was in my area of training, so I bounced around and ended up in a coffee shop.  Then I made a couple or three very bad products and sold them for very little.  Then I did some more research into the art aspects and improved my texturing somewhat, which is how I made my first product that sold well at Rendo.  At that point it didn’t take long for my digital income to outstrip what I was making as a grumpy barista, so I quit and did this full time. 


It took two years to get to what I would consider a ‘real’ income.  Last year was pretty good (being a PA sure helps), and I have every hope this year will be even better.  Carrara… well, that’s something I can’t help you with.  I would expect it to be harder to make a living at just that, since your possible customer base is smaller than with Poser or DAZ Studio, but I can’t tell you no one does.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 05:41 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 4 ]
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Well, I’ve been making a living at it (an excellent living at it…) for over 30 years, and here’s what I can tell you:

Gone are the days when it was a fun job. When CG and visual effects were new and were blazing new ground, it was a blast to work in the field. There were a few big studios, good 3D artists were in high demand, you were doing new and innovative work, and getting paid excellent $$ for it.

But now, every single kid on this planet with a computer fancies himself a 3D artist. There are TONS of studios and freelance 3D “artists” out there who will do crappy work for peanuts. It’s not fun, which is why I retired (well, semi-retired) last year. It sucks.

For someone who hopes to get into the business, good luck. You’ll be competing with 136 trillion kids all over the planet with computers and free software, who have no clue what to do with it, but they call themselves artists and get people to believe them and pay them for their work.

And if you want to work for one of the big studios, forget about it. The competition is insane, and the pay isn’t all that hot, and the work has become more like a sweatshop than a fun place to work. Some exceptions, of course.

Years ago I’d be encouraging people to consider working in the field, but those days are, unfortunately, gone.

But if you really want to do it, the very first thing you need to figure out is this: do you have any talent for it, or is it just something you WANT to do cuz it’s fun? There are a jillion guys out there who WANT to do it cuz it’s fun, but have no talent whatsoever. And talent is what’s important to an employer.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 06:53 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 5 ]
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For starters, Here’s what Daz3d has to say about it.
And the opportunities are really quite endless due to the nature of it. My brother is lead engineer for an antonymous vehicle worth millions, and the studio that they contract to do their 3d animations are a Father and Son team using Carrara Pro!
Carrara is such a versatile suite that it lends well towards doing nearly anything you want. The hardest part being the “Coming up with ideas” part. A Daz3d artist once told me that you need to find your niche and run with it. It’s amazing how many people shoot weddings for a living. With Carrara’s rotoscoping abilities, this is a possible lead as a freelance. If you can add really cool 3d stuff to family videos that could easily set you apart from the competition. Website studios, even in small population areas seem to be growing nicely as well. Carrara can render directly to GIF smile

Many opportunities exist, even those that don’t currently exist! lol

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Posted: 19 February 2013 07:49 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 6 ]
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Dartanbeck - 19 February 2013 06:53 PM

And the opportunities are really quite endless due to the nature of it.

Good advice. Glad we have experienced experts here who can give their insights.

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Posted: 19 February 2013 07:59 PM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 7 ]
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JoeMamma2000 - 19 February 2013 07:49 PM
Dartanbeck - 19 February 2013 06:53 PM

And the opportunities are really quite endless due to the nature of it.

Good advice. Glad we have experienced experts here who can give their insights.

Whew!
I just re-read the OP. He didn’t say anything about wanting expert advice only.
(Joe just likes to pull on my strings and he knows I’m no expert wink )
But I know people too! cool hmm

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Posted: 20 February 2013 02:33 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 8 ]
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Things change, people change, markets saturate…

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Posted: 20 February 2013 03:00 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 9 ]
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just to say, (as I’m Illustrator), that 3d skills are difficult to sale (not impossible, doing content and that sort of things, ) if you don’t know how to draw really well… best hint to teen ageers wishing to go in the pro field is “just draw, you will open a software later…”

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Posted: 20 February 2013 03:58 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 10 ]
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celmar - 20 February 2013 03:00 AM

best hint to teen ageers wishing to go in the pro field is “just draw, you will open a software later…”

Absolutely true. But if you’re like the vast majority of aspiring 3D “artists” out there you’ll never understand that and will always think it’s about playing with software. It’s not. It’s about art, and it’s about talent. Anyone with half a brain can read a software manual and figure out how to use the software, but only a very few can make wonderful art with it.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 06:23 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 11 ]
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There are some common perceptions presented in the modern world about art and talent that don’t actually exist historically. That art is some ‘talent’ that people are ‘born with’ and other aren’t. Yes, there is historically a recognition of outstanding talent some people are born with, but that “isn’t” the historical basis art comes from. Before people get up in arms, let me explain. Art traditionally comes from craft. One would join a craft, work in that craft, and after much training and learning of the fundamentals of the tools and forms of that craft, some would excel to the point of artistic. There are a number of historic quotes which actual great artists have said ‘one cannot hope to produce art until they have mastered their tools and medium.’ Unfortunately I don’t have links atm so this will fall into the category of hearsay but I still put it forth as a fundamental truth I personally live by.

The point is, if one has vision, the only way to express it well is to learn the tools, the medium and what one has at their disposal to present their vision. It is only after working with the tools and the medium becomes second nature that one can truly express oneself. There is a reason behind it ‘needing’ to be second nature for the most part. If we are struggling with trying to get something to do what we want, we can’t focus on the vision itself. I guess the point is, one needs to be a great craftsman to be an artist, but not all craftsmen will become artists as it takes a level of devotion many craftsmen don’t care to put forth, preferring to live a more normal life.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 06:32 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 12 ]
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hmm, don’t misunderstand me… I just answer to the question: “how to go into the pro area, and is it possible to make a living from 3d”... it seems to me that the most asked characteristic is the ability to draw…  I wasn’t answering at all about the “artistic level” by itself.
( for example, talking about two surrealist painters, dali and Magritte… dali is an extremely ‘good” painter, and has an extremely accurate drawing, much more than Magritte, but I prefer definitively Magritte, for a lot of poetic and chromatics reasons…)

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Posted: 20 February 2013 07:15 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 13 ]
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Nothing to misunderstand there. Beautiful explanation of taste.
I was a sketch artist through most of my youth, then venturing into painting - Watercolors and pastels, then acrylic and charcoal, then oils. My teacher turned me onto an airbrush - and I was just getting the hang of it when she unveiled a beautiful piece of alabaster. It was about 11” high, 8” wide, and 6” deep. She bought me this beautiful stone and a set of chisels with a nice chisel hammer. I’ve always loved sculpting with clay, etching copper and enameling, etc., but this piece of stone was different. Hard yet soft. Solid but translucent. Numerous imperfections, yet perfect! At first I was very cautious not to cause an unduly split or chip in the precious material. As my hands got used to the feel of it, my caution was replaced with splendor. That year I was 17, and the local library displayed my entire collection of works that I had done that year. Even though the naked and winged angel, flying out of her cloud was not yet finished, Ms. Menieur still wanted it in the show. I agreed. It was my dragon year. I filled the halls with drawings of dragons and women. Two things that I really like putting together. Baby ceramic Dragons, with their exaggeratedly large heads compared to their immature little dragon bodies. Their Mother glorified in a painting larger than any table - heh, my brother always gave me crap that the frame would warp, being so big - it’s still hanging true in my mothers stairway! (edit - I became very proficient at stretching my own canvas. I can still perfect them - it’s all about ‘feel’ to me - not science) There was also a large ceramic dragon head incense burner - the stick incense actually designed into the work, so that the sculpture was incomplete without them. The whispers of sweet smoke drizzling from the nostrils came from a copper etched dish underneath. Prior to the alabaster, this was my prize. The dish was etched into what I felt looked like archaic writings of prophecy about the coming of the Great Dragon - or so I told…
After the exhibit, I gave everything away with two exceptions. My mother wanted the painting and I could never part with that stone. Two years later, in college, my precious alabaster sculpture was stolen. My biggest disappointment at the time was that I hadn’t finished her yet.

Funny how this discussion turned in this direction - as I was thinking about this very topic as I laid sleeplessly in bed last night. I was thinking about the demand that software users place on those who’ve already done a spectacular job of creating something so special - such a great set of tools from which an artist may spill fourth imagination - feeling - expression. Art is not right, nor is it wrong. It only has an opinion if the creating artist gives it one.

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Posted: 20 February 2013 08:06 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 14 ]
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been drawing for 65 years - that’s the short of it
now I could go on but who gives a dam

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Posted: 20 February 2013 08:36 AM   [ Ignore ]   [ # 15 ]
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bigh, I’m not sure to understand, (my English is, mmm , very very poor…)
  if you mean that beeing able to draw isn’t a totally always secure position, and artistic level isn’t also an always rags ro rich story, I agree, of course… all art history is claimed that…

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