If you want to become a 3D artist to earn a living, you should first get familiar with the best and worst case scenario. Here is how much a 3D artist really earns.
What drives people towards becoming a 3D artist?
Was it the excitement of making your ideas alive, the emotion designing evokes in you, or the vast choice of textures, sounds, and graphics all at your command?
Most of the time, when starting to pursue a passion or a dream, we care less about the material rewards we’re getting.
In today’s world, people go above and beyond to pay less. Merge that with the undervalued 3D skillset and growing competition from all over the world - the pressure for 3D artists is definitely on.
How is it then possible to be fulfilled in this kind of job environment and still make a decent living?
Just a couple of years ago, the income of a 3D artist was probably limited to a job at an animation studio or a freelancing career.
However, in the past three years, many interesting alternatives came up, giving these creatives can finally earn a nice living by doing what they enjoy.
How Do You Earn as a 3D artist?
3D Softwares Need Their Tools and Plugins
Knowing how to code in any of the Software scripting languages immensely helps self- marketing and earning some money on the side. If you’ve gained enough knowledge in coding, use it to write and sell scripts and plugins for 3D Software.
Odds are, you’ve already coded something to help you in your own projects. If you simply share those, and they turn out to be very helpful to others, users won’t hesitate to voluntarily give you money in return.
Material Packs need specializing
Artists are constantly in need of materials usually as a starting point in their work. Even though there’s a bunch of different 3D packages out there, many need specially designed ones, and that is exactly where one of the sources of income is.
Udemy and the like need more courses
Make your own course and tutorial on trending learning –platforms such as Udemy. Selling those can be a well-paid job. Some of the courses go up to 3000 enrollments, multiplied by the price of each pop, the result is a nice pay. All the equipment you need is a camera and a mic, and add a screen recording software to that. Then sign up as a content creator with the tutorial you’ve made, and keep that money coming!
3D printing needs more problems to solve
Because it solves them as easy as ever before. Buying your own 3D printer is not as fictional as it was. After you’ve done the purchasing part, boost your 3D modeling skills, and just like that, you are set for printing products - almost anything you can imagine, straight from your home.
3D Modeling and Selling 3D Models
3D models are very needed, but it’s up to the artist to provide high quality, special software formatting, to be creative enough and think of additional features that may highlight and put that particular model above the rest.
Sites you should check out if this is your way to go are most definitely DAZ3d, Unity Asset Store, Turbosquid, CG studio etc.
3D Blog and Website
There are so many reasons (income being one of them) blogging is an awesome way to go for artists. EmptyEasel has this post by Dan on the topic if you’re looking for details and insights.
The key point is regularly publishing interesting posts, making people more eager to comment on your work, and if you’ve risen to the challenge, the word about your refreshing and unique content is going to spread.
Whether you’ve designed a 3D model, a plugin, or any kind of material, it’s a good money-making strategy to give some for free, because that keeps the visitors coming back for more. If you're knee-deep in blogging, you shouldn’t pass on affiliate marketing. Selling other people’s products on your blog brings you a commission, and most retailers pay nice amounts, sometimes 50% or more.
If You Know How Here Are the Numbers You Can Expect
Bureau of Labor Statistics (BLS) says the average annual salary of 3D Artists and Animators in America is around $72200. The numbers also say that beginners in the field rarely earn more than 40 thousand dollars per year. On the other side, if you’re experienced enough, you can cash your expertise for around three times more than the newbies.
The variation is proportional on the hourly level, ranging from around 20 to 60 dollars, depending on where you stand on knowledge and practical work.
Another great influence on your salary is your employer, so it is advised for artists to always be on the lookout for the highest-paying ones.
There are some who stick out of the industry with the highest salaries for their employees on an annual level:
1. Wholesale Electronic Markets and Agents and Brokers – around 81 thousand dollars
2. Other Information Services – around 80 thousand dollars
3. Software Publishers – around 76 thousand dollars
4. Independent Artists, Writers, and Performers – around 75 thousand dollars
5. Motion Picture and Video Industries – around 73 thousand dollars, which applies also for Motion Picture and Sound Recording Industries, Information etc.
1. Graphic Designers – around 50 thousand dollars per year
They use various methods in order to design, sketch, illustrate a great range of demands.
2. Art Directors – around 97 thousand dollars per year
They generate design ideas, and how to present them, have great skill in advertising and broadcasting. They are also in charge of the artwork’s layout.
3. Film and Video Directors – around 75 thousand dollars per year
They take care of editing all kinds of media, but mostly video and film. They often take care of synchronization of sound and images.
It’s clear as a day that payments for 3D artistry vary depending on many factors, but it’s indisputable that your numbers may skyrocket no matter the circumstances if you’re up to date with the industry’s novelties and therefore new ways of receiving proper monetary credit for your work. Good luck!