What happens to older artists?

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  11 November 2017
What happens to older artists?

Hello,

Looking at how unstable the vfx, games and 3d animation industry is as well as how I hear more of people in their 20s and 30s working in this industry and nothing at all from those that are in their 50s or 60s. Do they move up to management, go into teaching, freelance, start their own thing or they continue working with studios as an artist?

I'm worried by this because If I get to be 50 or 60, would I still be able to work at a studio or will I have to rely on other forms of revenue like freelance and such?
 
  11 November 2017
as long as you are learning new workflows and keep up with the rest its no problem at all...
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  11 November 2017
What you loose in sheer power you gain in experience. I'm not (only) talking about specific experience in your field, but general experience on how to manage things and cope with problems. While you might not be as flexible as in the past you might actually be more productive and chances are you can handle tougher problems without mucking up. This of course means that the kind of job you do changes over time, if you do the exact same job with 55 that you did with 25 you very likely did something wrong.
As for the visibility, older people are less likely to participate in public forums etc. and often they found a work/life balance that does not include taking much private time for public participation.
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  11 November 2017
CG is not something that requires great physical effort. Its all about how experienced you are in CG software, technology, workflows, problem solving.

So its not like professional soccer/football, where once you pass 35 your career is drawing to an end.

An older experienced artist who's been doing CG for 25 years has a massive advantage over younger artists in this regard.

The only bad thing about ageing is that once you pass 40 or so, stuff like not sleeping for 1 night, or even going to sleep at 3am and waking up again at 7am the next morning has a brutal effect on you.

A 21 year old artist can easily pull an all nighter or 2 at work, or work late nights for a few days in a row. Over 40, doing that becomes harder and harder. The adult body is less tolerant of things like overworking and sleep deprivation.

If you are a really experienced older artist, chances are that you will have moved up to a managerial, directorial or supervisory position by then.

Some CG artists who get tired of grunt work also switch to CG tool development instead of CG artistry.
 
  11 November 2017
Originally Posted by skeebertus: The adult body is less tolerant of things like overworking and sleep deprivation.
Unless you have a newborn. Im 41 and I can barely sleep because of my son. I dont have time to turn on my computer, though.
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  11 November 2017
Originally Posted by skeebertus: The only bad thing about ageing is that once you pass 40 or so, stuff like not sleeping for 1 night, or even going to sleep at 3am and waking up again at 7am the next morning has a brutal effect on you.

A 21 year old artist can easily pull an all nighter or 2 at work, or work late nights for a few days in a row. Over 40, doing that becomes harder and harder. The adult body is less tolerant of things like overworking and sleep deprivation.

On the other hand experience will give you options to handle such situations differently, or allows you to prevent them.
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  11 November 2017
I think people move up in their career into project/team management or slowly migrate to a slightly different area than they originally envisioned. After 15 or 20 years, you may get a little bored doing the same production job, but you may have enough experience and wisdom to tackle larger scale problems with coordinating teams together and managing them. Or maybe you do keep doing the same job for 50 years if you're perfectly good at it and content - as long as you're keeping up.

I've seen some people not keep up at all and have no idea about the technologies that the industry are using. If they don't outright get fired due to others complaining about working with them, they'll be sidelined to stay doing a specific thing rather than expected to proactively branch out and lead others.
 
  11 November 2017
Think you're asking if we live in a throw-away society...at least how I interpret it. Probably...maybe...no...but most likely yes.
 
  11 November 2017
Older artists....

Some just retire and take it easy. 
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  11 November 2017
Also if you live in a thriving city for CG you actually can afford to pick and choose between studios that do not abuse the work life balance.
Those studios that do abuse this balance also tend to have a hard time getting senior artists. And just jam through the juniors.
 
  11 November 2017
have a very strong network. My best money opportunities come from 15-20 year relationships. I'm 46, been doing this CG stuff since I was about 22. I've got 4 kids and support them, my wife and myself with my income(s). I work about 7 days a week, but find balance when I can. Right now, I've got  a rough go as one of my gigs requires me to be onsite and it's a 4 hour drive and I'm on location about 4 days a week and home on the weekend. I've got about 2-3 freelance gigs going too. I roll out on Monday mornings at 3 am to start the week.

My health habits kicked my ass. I got high blood pressure and type 2 diabetes. However, I started exercising more, cutting way back on my sugar and carbs. I lost about 30 pounds. I eat and drink healthier. I had to give up alcohol too as it really exasperated my gout. So now that I have a cleaner lifestyle, I can handle the workload. Plus, it's not like I'm working physical labor, its computer graphics.

My advice before getting 40+ is to live a very clean life, build a strong network and heavily diversify your income. Seriously figure out how to make money while you sleep and how to leverage your money to make money. Trading time for money only lasts so long.

I risked everything, became an owner in a company, had money in stocks. I lost it all, including my own assets (house, etc). Family is still strong though and supportive and I'm going at it again. Hopefully smarter this time.

At my one gig, I work with the best team I've ever had the opportunity to work with. Everyone is excellent at 3d modeling and then they all have a specialty after that. The youngest is maybe 32? I think the oldest are in their mid-fifties. Some of these guys started back in the late 80's early 90's. I'm totally blown away that they've stayed relevant. More inspiration for me to know I have plenty of years to make money with my skillset!

Experience is your guiding light. Passion is the fuel that keeps you going.

Last edited by XLNT-3d : 11 November 2017 at 04:54 PM.
 
  11 November 2017
Old artists are turned into Soylent green. I have around two years until I will be served in the cafeteria of a local VFX company.
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  11 November 2017
what happens to older artist, two words: Soylent Green
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  11 November 2017
Originally Posted by skeebertus: A 21 year old artist can easily pull an all nighter or 2 at work, or work late nights for a few days in a row. Over 40, doing that becomes harder and harder. The adult body is less tolerant of things like ove
I can't say that really. I am 50 and have done this often busy for 14-16 hours, got to bed 5Am, up at 10 and continue. Older people tend to have less sleep.( more short periods of sleep ) Years of workout and endurance training helps a lot to be better in shape.
 
  12 December 2017
Sorry for the late response,

Thank you guys for your insight.

I was doing some research and found that the games industry becomes even harder to break into when you are over the age of 40. They even consider being 35 as "old" . While I do think this is mostly unique to the industry in games. Is this the same in other cgi industries like vfx and film/television? Also, is it possible to make a good income through freelance work?
 
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