FORUM PRIMER: The Unofficial Truth about The Industry


Succinct. Great. Finally - the scoop. I just wanted to say that while getting my 3D education the software tools I learned in school actually upped my yearly gross salary since I was able to put the softare I learned on my resume; and dependent on which industry you end up in your salary can increase upwards of 30%.

Just food for thought …


Thanks for sharing your knowledge, -dc-! As someone with very few contacts within the industry, that kind of information is very useful…thanks again for going into so much detail :slight_smile:


Thanks, great advice and I want to initiate me into this world (the building is no longer working).

thank you very much


Thanks for the great advice!, although I still have some time before I have to worry about this.

I always think that if your doing something you enjoy, you shouldn’t care if you get paid less, since your getting some of the enjoyment, so you wont have to pay for.


Since this was posted in '06, I’m assuming the software mentioned is out of date… or am I wrong? Apologies if I’ve missed a thread concerning this, I’m not very familiar with navigating forums.


^ Just based on asumption by reading stuff here (these questions asked and answered here constantly) Nuke is getting hotter for composition, otherwise seems still quite relevant.


Very informative! Thank you so much for posting this valuable information.


Definitely out of date on the compositing side.

Double Negative is still Shake I believe but just about everybody is quickly moving to Nuke on the compositing end of things. Combustion is all but dead. Especially now that Max and Maya ship a free copy of Toxik. After effects is still the king of motion graphics.

Maya is still somewhat FX king but it’s being supplanted by FumeFX for 3ds Max, RealFlow and other specialty tools.


Do you guys know where I can find info about the average salary for a game artist (specifically environment artist) ?


Amazing that this thread is so old. Definitely great advice


As a new member and a new person to this field of study I thought I’d read this thread first. The first post was very informative.


I just graduated myself. I’m finishing up my reel and hope to start flooding the market soon myself. It’s really nerve racking climbing out onto those skinny branches, but that is where the fruit is… so out I go. Thank you for your advice and comments. They have given me a boost in realism which, oddly enough, makes me feel a little more confident. Maybe because I have an idea of what I can expect… it’s less scary than… ‘I think the company will take a week or two to get back to me if they are interested… right?’ Thank you very much for taking the time to write this for all of us who are just starting out. -Tara


Thank you for your advices, and very helpful.

However, I would like to add one more advice for the students who are deep in debts with student loans. If you are from one of the top schools or Ivy Leagues and with a computer science or engineering degree, you could consider to get your first job from higher paying industry such as investment banks, Microsoft, Google, or Facebook in order to pay off your debts. These industries are paying about 1.5 to 2x times more with many other perks, and you could probably pay off your debts at first year. Then, you could still find a job in CG in second year, debts free! You could still be considered fresh grad within 3 years after graduation. And, the experience from these renowned software companies will help your career in CG in long term too.


see original post


SIGGRAPH has been a waste of time as far as the job fairs are concerned. Every year they get smaller and smaller. The best part? This year only two studios of the “24 booths” were accepting demo reels, the other half were all online, and the remaining studios were art schools trying to sell their education to you. Save the money if you ever plan on going. One recruiter in particular had no one in their line as they shouted out that they were only hiring online.

So why be there in the first place physically?


This is definitely going under my bookmarks. Thanx so much for taking the time out to type this stuff up. I’m still trying to really break into the industry like a lot of recent grads and this will be super helpful.

@ AgentJ - if what you say about SIGGRAPH is true I’m super disappointed, I was planning on going next year, and my main goal was to possibly find some type of work. I’ve never been so I can’t draw on my own experiences. Too bad.


thanks, very interesting and helpful


thanks, very interesting and helpful :slight_smile:


I think cfjda9sf hit’s it on the nose. Recently I’ve been heavily researching job applications / working in the industry etc for a webinar I’m hosting. I’ve noticed some interesting trends, but I’ll make it brief:

[li]Internships or working for free if you can is incredibly invaluable if you can get in at some respectable places. The experience is worth it. This is a double edged sword, as Bobby Beck pointed out on his blog a couple of months ago, working for free can be abused too by some.
[/li][li]Marketability. More and more I see the non premier jobs (that is, Animator at PIXAR for example) looking for people who can script, or have experience in rigging, or who know about lighting. The reason being, you may not be doing it fulltime, but you need to jump in there, help out, or at least interface with those who do.
[/li][li]I’m not sure about big job fairs, I’m still not sold on it. CTN looks promising however, as was Evolve3D (I was at that one.) The networking is invaluable however. Just not sure about the “getting hired at a job fair” theory.
[/li][li]a LOT of jobs are in Vancouver, London and Signapore… a lot…


Very good stuff here. A lot of pitfalls here that I managed to avoid by sheer luck.

Oh and Collage, if you’re fairly good is a great place to work on your reel.
It’s hard for a student to get his hands on a render farm, software and video editing equipment outside of school, so I would almost recommended skipping some classes from time to time (let’s face it, not everything in school is worth your time) if it means working on more important demo reel work. Oh and get a lot of feedback as soon in your development process as you can. Stuff you think that’s good while working on it will seem awful when you look back on it later and try not to be too ambitious with the work. You don’t need to do everything at once, just focus on one thing at a time if you can.

Oh and back up your stuff as often as possible.

Again, great advice you’ve given. Spot on.