What is a 3D Graphics Artist?

Written by 90 Seconds
Last updated: October 4, 2023
What is a 3D Graphics Artist?

A three-dimensional (3D) graphics artist designs digital animation or footage that is used for characters, landscapes, backgrounds and other elements in film, television or video game production.

The still or moving creations have the appearance of depth in addition to height and width. While some artists prefer working solely with sophisticated computer or film technology, others will design their creations by hand, and then transfer them into the appropriate software.

The illustrations or designs can be animated or sequenced to give the illusion of motion.

Graphics artists conduct research on design concepts, and they may develop and draw storyboards that present an overview of the project’s final form.

Artists work closely with a creative director and other team members throughout the production and post-production process. Creativity is an essential characteristic for any 3D graphics artist.

She must be able to envision an abstract concept and help transform it into a concrete reality, while adhering to deadlines and receiving consistent feedback.

Primary roles

Develop visual images

Graphics artists are responsible for creating original designs and images using photography, illustration, image editing, computer programs and three-dimensional modeling.

While many different media are used in the creation of animation and graphics, and artists may specialize in a specific form, they can maximize their career opportunities by cultivating varying artistic talent, as well as computer skills.

For instance, some fine 3D artists produce sculptures, both large and small, from a variety of materials, including metals, wood and clay.

Working with a team

The majority of graphic artists are self-employed and individually freelance and consult, but often their work is meant to be a piece in a larger puzzle.

A project’s workload usually is divided among many members. As feedback is received from directors, clients, managerial animators and/or game designers, the 3D graphics artist edits, touches up and further develops animations and their corresponding effects in response to assessment.

Artists must possess a willingness and desire to collaborate with other creators and artists, as well as clients.

Secondary roles

Make elements come to life

With the help of the other production team members, 3D graphics artists apply their graphic design skills to coordinate their visuals to motion and/or sound.

They must conceptualize how their graphics should be animated or designed to give the appearance of making a certain sound.

While rendering, lighting, shading and texturing graphics, artists should be cognizant of how each part fits into the whole.

Participate in concept pitches

To find new jobs and projects to work on, 3D graphics artists often must demonstrate their knowledge and abilities to potential clients during concept pitches, performed alone or as part of a team.

To fulfill this responsibility, artists should have proficient networking and business skills, as well as the ability to showcase completed projects through a portfolio to prospective clients.