Hey guys,

 Uhmm I am a very artistic 17 year old who is just getting into 3D Animation and generally maya. I am pretty good with it. I love doing stuff and learning new things and I have a passion for this stuff. I was planning on going to the Academy of Art University in San Francisco. The thing is I just went to the Highend3D forums and read a thread called Salaries and it really scared me. Most of the people there were complaining on how they were only making about 40,000 a year on average. About 17 dollars. They said it was because of all the students without talent. They said the industry is getting way over saturated wich I know it is. My question to you is this-Is this true? Is the industry in a crisis? Should I go for a Bachelors in Software engineering and keep Animation a hobby? Or maybe come back when the industry is doing better? I know that asking about salaries is pretty personnal and if you dont feel like saying it its ok.


your not going to get much answers in salaries around here due to the fact that alot of guys and gals have co-workers who visit these forums and it could start some trouble at there jobs. most will either tell you that they cant say or say that it is between 15k -350k a year.

when I read your post I was wondering to myself if I didnt write it myself because I also am 17, learning Maya, and will most likely go to the art institute of San fran.

of course if you are still interested you could do a search there are tons of threads asking this exact same question they all have over 10 pages so if you have the patience to go throug all of them go ahead. of course most of those responses will go along the lines of what you I wrote earlier.


Its a question on how your demo reel looks like. the better the chance you get in and then they will judge how much they will pay you by looking at the quality of your demo and your work quality.

As for students without talent: they will never get the change to get in the industry. not a single foot to a studio.

But here in japan is different then america. they are starting to hire diplomatics then talented ones. but that’s for 1 reason. its our country’s population. Anyways… YES ! Is the industry in a crisis ! Just like that american idol show.

Just dont make a William hung demo.


Well how about that!

I’m also 17 and learning Maya. I plan on going to Bowling Green to major in Digital Arts.


I wish I knew about CG when I was 17. I just played videogames all day. I never thought to find out how to get involved. Well, better late than never. Unlike everyone else, Kudos to you kids who are doing something worthwhile. Best of luck to all of you.




well judging from his album, his radio show, his numerous apearences on TV shows, his deal with sony being a mascott for the Eye Toy Groove, his numerous Fan Sites, and the fact that everyone knows his name I think that he did something correctly

might not work in 3d though.


Heck yeah! Do (almost) anything stupid for money! :wink:

OK, since we’ve found that salaries are based on skill, why don’t the three of us (the 17 year olds) help eachother out? The pros are great help, but they have work to do. I bet between the three of us, we can learn Maya pretty well.

If we start now… we’ll be better later…
If we’re better later… we get paid more!



Depends on what you do. In gaming it is from 20k to 100k a year plus bonuses. Some individuals can earn more.

The problem in film industry is that it’s very unstable job. Entry level positions are almost exclusively contract ones and you get laid off after the show. Then you need to find another one, until you reach staff position somewhere, which doesn’t guarantee anything though. You have to take it into consideration when calculationg your income (you basically lose money when you wait for a next gig)

I’d say, for beginners gaming is a way to go. It’s more stable, often more fun. You can move to film later if you want. But for now, someone who just graduated from the school has next to zero chances to get a job in larger film studios, unless you are a prodigy.

There was an article on Gamasutra about salaries in gamin recently.

P.S. If you want one more advice… learn art not software. Software is very easy to learn comparing to composition,life drawing etc. You will get better that way, financially too. If I’d have 17 years again I’d go to traditional art school and learn software at home in my spare time.


I’d say, for beginners gaming is a way to go.

That’s a pretty clever idea man, you may have changed the path of my career :thumbsup:


gaming = working in games industry. Sorry for shortcut :wink: Of course you will play games a lot while working there :slight_smile:


im 17 too, just starting to learn maya.


ok, They way I’ve looked at the whole salary thing is would i rather be making that $40,000 - $350,000 dollars a year doing something a enjoy everday or would i rather be making more doing something I dreaded doing each day. For me at least it was an easy choice of picking the CG path. In case you were wondering yes im 17 and using maya.


Heh… 17 must be the popular age to learn it.

I decided on CG because I didn’t want to be a programmer anymore. I do web-design now, so I know how to program CGI and HTML. That got my feet wet in programming, and I found it to be fun… but nobody else could understand what the code did.

I want to share my work with everyone… so I think CG is the way to go.


Yes, the industry is suffering several problems stemming from an insanely huge number of people trying to break into the industry. I would guess that in a couple of years there will be at least 20 times the number of people trying to get CG jobs than the industry needs, if not 200 times as many. An endless army of young folks willing to work for less than anyone else will rapidly drive salaries down to diddly squat. At this point I never encourage anyone to try and break into the CG industry. I do encourage people to learn CG skills if they want to do it for fun, but kids are massively miss-informed by colleges as to how many jobs there are in this industry.


I am 18 now and I am using my beloved Cinema 4D.

I think that being an artist/designer or whatever you call it is not only a matter of money, at least not for me. sure it is important but it doesn’t decide about my life - i decide about it.

just my 1$ :buttrock:


" My question to you is this-Is this true? Is the industry in a crisis? "

The industry is’nt in crisis, if anything its going strong, 3 or 4 years ago it felt like it was in the crapper, but at the moment its going strong. Yes, there is an over saturation of students, not necessary with no talent, just lots of them. But its actually starting to be a good thing for the people with experience. Time and Time again I’ve heard producers saying that they need people WITH experience, the people that run the companies are realizing that you get what you pay for, and now the people that have some experience are getting the jobs, in stead of the job going to a student right out of school, willing to work for food…
The people crying about only making 40 grand a year, how old are they? How long have they been in the industry? What projects have they been involved in?
Like any other job you have to work your way up, if someone has worked on a lot of projects and has been in the industry for 5 years, working on film, games etc…and is still only making 40 grand then they are the ones that are doing something wrong. My firt job I made 10 bucks an hour, my second I made 16 an hour, almost 5 years later I’m doing alright. Damn, if your really talented and you know your stuff you could start out making 35 grand or more a year at the age of 20, thats damn good. For the rest of the people, you have to work your way up, like any other job. That means starting out making 10 bucks or less an hour…or, if your lucky more…

In my opinion its a good time to be in the industry, Companies are expanding, they are looking for more people and there projects are getting bigger and bigger every year.



Its hard to talk about salaries, since the ‘value’ of your wage depends on the cost of living in the area you reside. 40,000/year in L.A. is enough to have your own apt (a decent one), pay your car insurance, and live barely comfortably IMO.


agreed. 40 large in L.A. is enough to live on, but you can forget about saving any money for retirement.


damn and Bus drivers in LA make 40k a year. and they always complain. if you ever have a bus driver complain tell him that he is driving a f***ing bus and that he is making more money than most teachers.


Your damn right, many bus drivers keep complaining about it… i mean cumon. Just shoot a rock to that bus. :wise: