How to make it in CGI

CGI is rising in popularity year after year. This exciting technology is used in movies, video games, art, and more. Still, it can be challenging to figure out how to get your start in the CGI industry. This article will offer tips and tricks for those interested in becoming professional CGI artists.

Master foundational CGI skills

Several CGI skills are likely to always be in demand. Lighting, for example, is a CGI skill you’ll want to master to ensure your work is appealing to potential hiring managers. You’ll also need excellent attention to detail. Nowadays, movie studios and game developers want their artists to pay close attention to textures, such as threads on clothes, reflections on particular objects, and each hair on a character’s head.

Consider a specialty

There is a lot that goes into CGI between characters, environments, lighting, and movement. Luckily, you don’t have to master every element to become a professional CGI artist. It can be beneficial to decide whether you want to specialize in character creation, environments and backgrounds, rigging and animation, or lighting. In most cases, you’ll be part of a larger team that works together to create the final project.

Develop a keen eye for human behavior and anatomy

If you decide to work with character modeling or rigging, you’ll need an expert understanding of human anatomy. Your characters must have realistic proportions. If their arms or legs are unusually long, it will make them appear less realistic. Of course, your artistic style may involve unrealistic proportions. In this case, you’ll still need to understand human behavior to ensure your characters’ facial expressions and mannerisms are believable.

Consider getting a related degree

Due to the complex nature of CGI art, many jobs require a bachelor’s degree. Those looking to enter the field should consider getting a degree in art, computer graphics, animation, or computer science. Earning a degree takes time, and it’s easier said than done. Still, it can set you up for success as you begin your journey to become a professional CGI artist.

Practice time management

CGI artists must imagine intricate scenes and bring them to life. You’ll often face tight deadlines, so you must know how to make the most of your time. Planning tools, like the Eisenhower Decision Matrix, can be a lifesaver when you begin your first professional CGI job.

The Eisenhower Decision Matrix breaks your tasks into urgent, not urgent, important, and not important. This method helps you determine which tasks should take priority, which should be delegated, and which should be ignored. If structured planning methods aren’t for you, it can still be beneficial to break your tasks down into smaller subtasks and write them down in order of importance.

Begin networking

Some say, “it’s not what you know; it’s who you know.” This is true in many industries, but in the CGI industry, it’s what you know and who you know. It never hurts to begin making connections. Sites like Linkedin can connect you with professional CGI artists and others who work alongside them. You may not find a job immediately, but you can get your foot in the door.

Connecting with those in the industry can put you in touch with people that can teach you the ins and outs of how they landed their job. Sometimes, they may need to delegate simple tasks to you, which can be a great learning experience. More importantly, you can make friends that can further your career down the line.

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