How Do I Get into Freelance 3D?

G. Wiesen

Many companies that hire people to create freelance three-dimensional (3D) Computer-Generated Imagery (CGI) look for candidates with an educational and professional background in the industry. One place to start is with an education at a college or art school in which you can learn to create freelance 3D images. Professional experience can be difficult to find, especially if you are just starting out, but a strong and effective portfolio can offset some of this difficulty. There are a number of websites that can be used to find contacts and potential clients for freelance 3D work, and attending professional conferences or seminars can also help you find work.

Freelance 3D animators are expected to be familiar with different types of effects software.
Freelance 3D animators are expected to be familiar with different types of effects software.

Freelance 3D work often involves the creation of certain art assets for use on a larger CGI project, in which you provide assistance to other artists. There are also situations in which a company may need part of a smaller project completed without hiring a full time artist. This can also be an excellent opportunity for you to find freelance 3D work and build contacts for additional work in the future.

Your education can be of great importance as you get into freelance 3D work, especially if you have little or no professional artistic experience. There are a number of colleges and art schools that offer degrees in computer graphics or similar fields, which you can use to learn to create various 3D objects and scenes. Different types of software are often used for the diverse processes used to create a final scene, and learning each of these programs can be valuable.

As you are completing your degree, the creation of a portfolio that demonstrates your work is very important. This portfolio shows off your artistic skills in general and your work in 3D more specifically, to demonstrate how effective you will be in freelance 3D. You can have a physical portfolio, such as a book or media disc, but a digital version is important and hosting this online allows you to easily reach a wider range of potential clients.

Professional experience can help you find work in freelance 3D, though it may be difficult to come by. There are typically more people interested in working in computer graphics than there are positions within the field. Freelance work can be a great way to start, but is often just as competitive as established positions at a company. You can use a number of websites to look for potential clients. Local businesses in your area might need assistance with website design or advertising, which can provide you with an opportunity to showcase your abilities.

There are also a number of professional organizations for artists working in Computer-Generated Imagery or CGI. Joining this type of group can give you access to more employers and help you network within the industry. Attending conferences and seminars related to CGI can also give you opportunities to meet potential clients and establish your presence in the freelance 3D field.

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