Architects have been around for a long time, but the position of 3D artist has only recently emerged as a job description. Even though this is the case, a lot of people can’t tell the difference between the two and have no clear understanding of what they do.
If you want to pursue a career in one of these two fields, you should understand what they are about. Most importantly, you should know the differences between them to help you see which position you like more and make the right career decision.
People are often mixing up the responsibilities of architects and 3D artists. Even though they are similar roles that have to do with construction, they are very different. Here are some of the most significant differences between architects and 3D artists.
All 3D artists are positioned at an intersection where various creative work powered by technical knowledge and an artistic approach is required. This means that 3D artists need to have a wide range of skills. Simply put, there isn’t a single successful 3D artist that does only one thing.
On the other hand, there are a lot of architects who work only in the area they specialized in. A lot of 3D artists have experience working in painting, photography, illustration, design, and so on. 3D artistry unites all these skills and uses them to create great digital forms.
For example, 3D modelling and sculpting are closely tied. Depicting a complex form requires knowledge of dimensions and proportions. When it comes to photography, it can help 3D artists learn how to use angles, shot positions, and lighting to create beautiful scenery.
3D artists do little to no design at all. In most cases, they have a project ready in front of them, designed by an architect. So when you see those 3D visualizations done by 3D artists, understand that they didn’t build those projects from the ground up. They had all the important details in front of them before they started working.
The whole idea was someone else’s, and they just visualized it and digitalized it while adding some cosmetic details. It’s not in their job description to make any decisions and design new things into projects that weren’t there before. On the other hand, architects have this kind of power.
A lot of leading architects design houses, warehouses, bridges, buildings, and so on, but they also need to complete a lot of smaller projects before they reached this point in their careers. Not all architects get to design new constructions, and you need to work hard to get there.
This is where the two really start to go their separate ways. Architects need to have construction knowledge to do their jobs while 3D artists don’t need this kind of background. As we mentioned earlier, the work the architects do directly affects the construction of an object.
What they do affects stability, reliability, quality, safety, and so on. This means that they need to have fundamental construction knowledge, which will help them understand, analyse, and finish projects. They need to consider the public interest, constructability, codes and building laws while doing their jobs.
Otherwise, they would find it difficult to get a permit to build a structure that doesn’t meet all the safety criteria. It’s not only about making a structure look great, but also making it functional and durable.
3D artists are computer geeks, and even though some people might not like this, it’s the truth. These creative individuals like to spend a good part of their day alone and work on something interesting. 3D artists specifically work on a computer where they create images or visualizations of different objects.
In most cases, 3D artists receive a project from their clients or their boss, and they have little to no contact with other people until they’ve finished working on the project. Of course, there are revisions and tweaks which are done during the project, but this is nothing compared to how many people architects communicate with every day.
Architects usually work in offices where they talk to clients, work on drawings, develop reports, and communicate with engineers and other architects. Additionally, many architects are also required to visit construction sites to ensure that everything is going as planned.
3D artists use a lot of different 3D software for their work. The more software someone uses, the more qualified they are. This is a general rule of thumb. Artists have a wide choice of tools used for graphic design, drawing, animation, sculpting, modelling, and 3D rendering at their disposal. They constantly have to upgrade and improve their tools.
Better software solutions mean better results, and this is why all 3D artists are constantly keeping up with the trends and trying to upgrade their workstations to the highest level possible. The whole 3D visualization industry is driven by technology and to stay relevant, professionals have to keep up.
A single piece of 3D software used for visualization could have several upgrades during a year. Now think about how many things professionals have to keep up with when they are using half a dozen different tools. On the other hand, even though architects use computers for their work, obsessing about the latest software is not an issue for them.
Nobody wants people without official qualifications building something for them. Most Western countries have some form of a licensing process for architects.
These can last for a long time, as it goes through heavy regulation, and they are focused on testing the architect’s understanding of welfare, safety, and health protection.
Having a degree isn’t enough to find clients and call yourself an architect. In fact, without a proper license, you might get into legal trouble if you represent yourself as an architect. Most architects who finish college have a designer title, but never an “architect”.
These exams and tests are necessary because architects have a lot of responsibility, both to the public and to their clients. Most countries have recognized this and have decided to add a licensing exam that will further test the skills of people who want to call themselves architects, ensuring that they won’t put anyone at risk.
These were the six major differences between 3D artists and architects. Keep in mind that 3D artists have less technically-demanding tasks and that they are basically specialized digital artists. On the other hand, architects need more technical knowledge, but their jobs can be more versatile and usually have more depth.