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With so many exciting positions, jobs and styles available to artists in the digital arts world, sometimes making the right decision about which career path to pursue can become extremely difficult. 

Do you stick to your illustration roots and aspire to be a concept artist for Disney? Or maybe you want to make like Swayze and craft models out of digital clay? Animation is an amazing way to feed the actor that lies within all of us. Maybe you’re looking for something a little more explosive? Or maybe your quest for perfection will lead you to the exciting world of compositing and lighting?

There are so many options and they are all great.

So, we put this list together to highlight some of the positions that are most in demand by studios. Because, in the end, we all want to get that awesome job we’ve worked so hard to gain the skills to do.

CHARACTER RIGGERS

DESCRIPTION

Character rigging is the perfect job for those with an eye for detail, thrive on precision and have a flair for the creative.

Riggers have a great understanding of anatomy, movement and physics. They take digital models and apply the controls that the animators will then use to bring the model to life.

SOFTWARE USED

Autodesk Maya, 3D Studio Max, Motion Builder, XSI.

AVERAGE WAGE ($US)

$46,000

COMPOSITORS

DESCRIPTION

Compositing is one of the final steps in the digital art pipeline. Compositors combine all the previously created digital material to create the final seamless shot.

Good compositors combine strong artistic vision, solid technical skills and the ability to problem solve to bring everything together into an awesome final shot.

SOFTWARE USED

Nuke, Shake 4, Combustion 4.

AVERAGE WAGE ($US)

$55,000

VFX ARTISTS

DESCRIPTION

VFX artists are the ones responsible for creating the computer-generated special effects and animations for films and television.

VFX artists are able to come up with ways to create the impossible and make the unbelievable believable. This is a position all about persistence and knowing when to tone it down and when to turn it up to 11.

SOFTWARE USED

Houdini FX, Autodesk Flame.

AVERAGE WAGE (US)

$65,000

ANIMATORS

DESCRIPTION

Animators take pre-rigged 3D models and apply believable movement to them, bringing them to life.

Great animators understand physics and how things move. They can explain a character’s personality, motives and even history without having them say a single word.

SOFTWARE USED

Autodesk Maya, Cinema 4D, Blender.

AVERAGE WAGE ($US)

$50,194

MODELERS AND TEXTURE ARTISTS

DESCRIPTION

3D modelers and texture artists take concept art and written design briefs and turn them into digital models to be used by the animators.

An eye for detail, pursuit of perfection and a flair for the artistic are what makes a great modeler and texture artist.

SOFTWARE USED

Mudbox, ZBrush, Blender, SketchUp.

AVERAGE WAGE ($US)

$65,000

That’s just five of the more in-demand positions in the digital arts industry. All require a strong understanding of the skills used and, just as importantly, a strong work ethic and the ability to work in a team environment.

“There’s a lot of artists out there. There are not as many skilled ones as I thought there would be.” CG Spectrum head of animation Mark Pullyblank admitted to us when we interviewed him.

Mark is known for his work on AvatarThe Hobbit movies and many others. And in his experience, it’s not just the skill level of the artist that makes them hirable it’s whether they would be a good fit for the team.

“It’s not really the skill that’s in demand. It’s the people. I’ve hired people who seemingly had very little skill, but I liked them.”

If you’re interested in starting a career in the Animation and VFX industry check out our full offering of courses in the link below.

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Kevin Nice

Author Kevin Nice

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