3-D Art Technician Career Requirements

Learn about a career as a 3-dimensional art technician. Read the job description, duties, education requirements, salary and employment outlook to decide if this is the right career for you.

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Career Definition for a 3-D Art Technician

Artists who work with 3-dimensional (3D) imagery may do so in a variety of sub-industries, such as video gaming, film production, website design or medical illustration. Most 3D artists in graphic design create images for websites or the advertisements that line web pages. Artists who collaborate on video game or movie productions may play a large part in the development of new characters for companies like Disney, Pixar or DreamWorks.

Another growing field in 3D arts is medical illustration, which calls for artists to create anatomically correct computer images of both human and animal specimens for research and diagnostic purposes. Regardless of how the 3D images or videos are used, 3D art technicians spend a lot of time on computers working with the imagery and the film. Some artists are able to work from home, while others create their art on site in a computer lab for a production company.

Education Certificate, associate or bachelor's degree recommended
Job Skills Manual dexterity, good color vision, creative thinking, team and individual worker
Median Salary (2017) $49,520 for fine artists, $70,530 for multimedia artists and animators
Job Growth (2016-2026) 6% for fine artists, 8% growth for multimedia artists and animators

Source: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics

Educational Requirements

Graphic arts technicians and video animators may be able to perform freelance work without formal training, but salaried positions for 3D artists often require a certificate, associate's degree or bachelor's degree. Typical courses include art, computer graphics and animation. Video game or 3D movie production careers require the completion of coursework in design, animation and technical drawing.

3D artists who pursue medical illustration need a bachelor's degree in art with a minor in biological science, which includes courses in art, computer design and anatomy. According to the Association of Medical Illustration, many artists pursuing careers in medical illustration choose to earn a master's degree in medical illustrating from one of five programs offered in North America.

Required Skills

The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) reported that 3D art designers must have the following traits:

  • Knowledge of computer design programs most commonly used, such as Vray, Flash and 3D Imaging
  • Broad familiarity with art as a whole and an understanding of movement
  • Ability to produce a portfolio of past projects
  • Manual dexterity and good color vision
  • Creative thinking skills
  • Ability to work well as part of a team and as an individual

Employment and Salary Outlook

The job market for multimedia artists and animators was expected to grow about 8% between 2016 and 2026, according to the BLS. Fine artists, including illustrators, were expected to see a 7% growth over the same 10-year period. Over half of multimedia artists were self-employed, and there was intense competition for freelance and salaried positions, according to the BLS in 2016.

Earnings vary widely and are hard to predict. In 2017, all multimedia artists and animators earned a median salary of $70,530, while fine artists earned a median of $49,520.

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