I would like to know where did you get that information.


That is crazy - In Oklahoma 40k a year will buy you a modest home, a nice car, and you can live plenty comfortably. There aren’t many CG studios here though.
I decided early that it wasn’t a good idea to go into a saturated industry and just hope my skills would improve enough to make it, so I chose Electrical Engineering. If you change your mind, you know you can still continue to learn Maya in your free time and possibly be just as good as you would have been going through school. Whoever said that it was more important to learn classical art first is 100% right - you need to be able to see and understand before you can reproduce. I’ve been doing this since I was 16 and only recently began to really develop as a 3d artist. I didn’t know how to look at things correctly before. You don’t necessarily need school to teach you, but you do need careful study.

Best wishes.


40k ain’t nothing in LA. Its sad, but true. If you want to roll in the west side, have an okay ride, and eat well… you will need atleast 80K, but in reality you will have to break 6 figures to live nicely…

But everybody also has a different defintion of “living nicely,” and some people can be happy with a lot less money. So maybe I just have a twisted view of things thing…


Thanx a lot for all the replies, I think I am going to get a degree in software engineering like I said and keep this as a hobby and then probably a little later in my life get a degree in 3d animation or something like that. Thanx again :bounce:


Colleges definitely paint a utopian green picture to the new students. I happened to listen to the bs they are telling the new students in my college (academy of art in san francisco) and it was sad.

Advisor: “oh yes , all our graduates are hired by ILM , Pixar , dreamworks and many many other studios , you are pretty much guaranteed a job”

more like $100.000 student loan debt and taking another 12 months off after school to polish up that demo reel.

I am not saying college is bad , but most students go in without knowing what they are getting into.

but than there are those select few who bust their asses and get hired right away with those companies right after graduation.


Yes, beware of this with any major at any school. My school told me the same stuff about Boeing, Lockheed-Martin, etc.


it seems that high saleries are very important to alot of you. If thats the case, then you should probably stay away from work in the art field all together. Yes you can make a lot of money, it’s possible. It’s also possible I could win the lottery. But I probably won’t.


I work to survive. yes money is important and i would be very happy if my pay check goes up


To make money you need to take risks,

the people who make money in this industry are the studio owners, and the publishers.

Us standard artists (even the most talented ones) get a wage and possibly a bonus if we create a really good blockbuster title.

If you want a stable place to work, go for a big EA style company, where jobs security is garunteed, and bonuses are pretty annual. If you want to create decent art with a bit more freedom, but still want money, then work your ass off and start up a dev house of your own. if you fail tho, your talking about spiralling debts and credit companies sarpening their knives at the pros[ect of someone in negative equity. (that means they can charge you whatever they like on loans pretty much so getting a mortgage becomes a nightmare.)

If you want alot of money and arent prepared to risk it, then i sugest a big company, but dont expect it to be as fun or artistically challenging as company that breeds creativity, these places want sure fire hits with no creativity just clones banged out to the mass market.

Also if you become a studio head you wont do much art as you’ll be to busy running a company, something like art director at a company or lead artist will see you good. but again you lose the fredom to work on art as your manageing all the time.

My plan is this, im going to become a senior artist at a medium sized company, and marry a rich girl :wink: well thats the theory.


There is money to be made in VFX, but it takes time and experience to make it. Do not expect to get into your first job and see the money rolling in (although you’ll have enough to live on).

Most people I know have started out in staff positions and then left to freelance. Freelancing is where the money is (if you have experience), but there is also no fallback option if things go wrong (hence the big money).

The people who earn the most tend to be 2D ops running Discreet software (Flame etc), but they earn their money as 2D’s deadlines often get compressed by everything else overrunning. Especially in commercials where there is a lot more money than VFX.



It’s accurate.


Of course we all want a seat at a major studio, but if we can’t and our heart lies in CG It seem to me that one can also take advantage of this oversaturation. When you have this many people intrested in something you now have a market right? So you can sell accessories so to speak. Create tools to bennefit the industry. You can be a teacher too. Yes it won’t pay well, but personally I think it would be a blast to teach CG. For me, if I never make it into a major studio, I will hope that CG gets as saturated as hell.


nope thats terrible for everyone, saturation damages the stability of the industry. Look at jobs like McDonalds the turnover of staff is high, and the wages low, why? well because anyone could do it, all you need is enough brain power to wear the uniform and the rest is pretty damn easy.

If everyone could do CG, then it becomes like that, they dont have to pay well cause everyone can do it, if you step out of line at work you can be replaced, every job will have 1000 aplications, so unless your the best and prepared to work for a pittance then your buggered.

Also as for teaching, since there will be such saturation you will have to have made it as a artist first to even get the job, the school will use you as advertisement for the course, be trained by industry pro of 10 years.

Saturisation causes low wages, longer hours to earn the same or less than you used to, less job security, less benefits, harder to break into industry, and very little positive to be honest.


Saturation is indeed very damaging for us cg artists. But im glad im at the point of my career where I will be able to have a little more freedom choosing jobs, knowing i will be one step ahead of the rest of the ppl that keep graduating by the thousands every year, so i dont mind, i’ll be a good boss for them :P.
As for salary, a lot of things are taken into account aswell, for example if you have dependants. so, being 17 living with your parents, you’d be lucky to get more then 20 a year.


I find that to be one of the worst analogies I have ever seen. Sorry, but that’s just bad. Think about this, Millions of people play basketball but only a handful can get into the NBA. Sorry, thats just a fact. Live with it. BUT if you are an optimist you can still invent new basketball shoes and sell to millions of people right? So a reality may be coming, you may have no better chance of making it biG in CG than you do in the NBA. However it doesn’t mean that you can’t be involved from a different angle and still go out shoot hoops with the boys. Saturation bad for the industry? From whos point of veiws? Of course your point of view because you some how think that you deserve a job doing CG work. But the industry? I think they like the fact that there will always be somebody to do the job. But not always, the difference here is that they will look for talented people always, Mcdonalds will just look for anybody.


Just a note to add to one of the comments earlier on… if you want to get into film, don’t bother with video games first. Take that time and work on your demo reel to get into film or advertising. Video game people rarely move to film because the skillset, timetables, and work environment is very different. There is also an attitude amongst many film folks, deservedly or not, that it takes more skill to be in film and therefore you’re fighting an uphill battle against preconceptions if you come from video games.

Do what you love to do, don’t do what you can. If your heart isn’t in it, you won’t make it anyhow. I love film. Period. I won’t work in video games, except maybe ID or Blizzard, but I really don’t have any desire at all to work on video games. If I were to graduate and not be able to break into film, I wouldn’t go for video games instead, thinking I’ll keep working and then eventually get into film, I’d keep working on getting to my first choice. People talk about saturation in the industry, and it is quite possible that a saturation point is approaching or already been reached (for film anyways, video games is still growing IMO)… but if you truly love what you do, and you devote the necessary time, sweat, and tears into it, you will succeed. There will always be people with more experience than you, so you just have to work harder. Another thing is to shoot for a realistic goal. My goal is to get a job in film. Right now I’m halfway there with a successful internship. My goal is not to get out of school and go straight to Pixar or ILM or WETA or DD or any other big successful house, it’s to get out and work in film. If that happens, then work on your next goal, say, a Lead or Supervisor position within 5 years. Then after that an Effects Supervisor 5 years after that or something. But set goals for a timetable. Almost every single person I talk to who claims they can’t get a job barely tried. You ask them where they apply and it’s invariably “Pixar.” “Well where else?”… “Huh? What where else?”. Take a job at a small company. Look at Jackdeth’s company. They’re starting to make it major bigtime and they started really small. Don’t knock the small houses or scoff at any offer.


I would suggest make something. A short film, a short movie, and full length indie movie, a online video game. Something that will entertain and get you seen.

I’d say do like the ol’ self publisher and publish!!! Publish your movies!! Get seen.

If you can’t find a job make your own job. Local tv stations, mom and pop shops who advertise locally, etc. Where there is a will there is a way to make good money.

If your current job only pays 40 K a year and you live in LA, and 40k is all you can get, move to another state with lower cost of living.

40k in other states is a good-great living. I mean in LA the house that costs you 300,000 would cost you 90,000 in Austin.

That 90,000 home in Austin would cost you 10,000 in Mexico.
You can always work remote in many cases.


Don’t go into cg for the money. You may get a big salary, you may not. Either way, you’ll be putting a lot of time and effort into it, so you’d better really love it. That’s actually rather true of any career you choose…


nevermind, this thread was a bit crazy


I would suggest getting a real degree (non-art) first if you are not absolutely sure, you can always go into cg later or just have it as a hobby. I would really make sure you want to be an artist. I can’t believe how many ppl think it’s so easy to learn 3d (or traditional), or get a job.

On the other hand, don’t give up an opportunity to jump into the biz, it’s going to be hell for a lot of ppl, but it’s going to be doing what you like.

I hear freelance artists in my state start around 12-20 k US and can start earning at least 10k more as soon as they pick up pace in a few years. I know a lot of places give internships too for students. Texas has some pretty good studios though, game/vfx/film and is a pretty decent film state, so I’m not sure about other states that aren’t known for graphics. It’s actually pretty good living standards and cheap prices (relative to the coasts of course).