How To Become a 3D Generalist

How To Become a 3D Generalist

What is a 3D Generalist?
A 3D Generalist is an individual who can work in any number of capacities on projects in the film, games and animation industries. They are fairly common in the field, and most students with little specific career experience will be prepared to start as a Generalist while they sharpen their skills.

What is the job?
The role of a 3D Generalist varies from studio to studio. However, in most positions, Generalists are responsible for modelling, rigging, animation, motion capture, painting, and sculpting. On top of this, the 3D Generalist will be responsible for anything else that the studio needs done at any given time. It’s not expected for the 3D Generalist to be an expert in every field, but it is expected that they have basic knowledge in a variety of niches.

The 3D Generalist must be able to be relied on by the Studio Director, as they are seen as someone who they can turn to with any project and be confident that the task is going to be completed efficiently and competently. As a result, 3D Generalists often have to prioritise workflows and must be able to identify the right order in which to complete tasks. Working in this role often means you’ll have several simultaneous tasks that need completing – and it’s up to you to get everything done on time.

If you’re unsure whether being a Generalist is right for you, take a look at this video:

Key Skills

  • Ability to quickly move from one task to another
  • Professional VFX education
  • Ability to cope under pressure
  • Basic knowledge of most areas of the industry
  • Experience in 3DS Max, Maya, and Photoshop
  • Be able to take charge as the sole 3D resource of a team
  • Good communication skills
  • Reliable
  • Able to mange workflows efficiently and prioritise tasks when needed

Salary & Working Hours
The average salary for a 3D Generalist working in London is £35,000, however this can range from £25,000, right up to £70,000 depending on your experience, and the scale of the projects you’re working on.

With regards to working hours, contracted working hours can vary from studio to studio. Some studios may work on a normal 9am-5pm schedule, and some studios may be more flexible with when you work. As you’ll be doing an array of different tasks, working hours can vary – expect to have to work overtime or long hours when deadlines are looming.

How To Become a 3D Generalist
As with most careers in this industry, creating a portfolio/showreel is highly important in convincing potential employers that you are suitable for the job. The role of 3D Generalist can be an ideal role for students who have just graduated, as you need little specific knowledge, but a basic foundation in most areas.

Gaining as much experience as possible is highly important in being able to prove to potential employers that you are the most suitable candidate for the job. The more skills you have and the broader your knowledge, the better your chances of landing a 3D Generalist position.

If you can’t land a job as a 3D Generalist, the most important step is then to simply try and get your foot in the door of a VFX company – it’s not uncommon to start as a Runner or an Assistant, as this may give you the opportunity to shadow artists, build your contacts, and then apply for opportunities as they come up – all whilst you work and gain experience in the environment.

Where Can It Take You?
The role of 3D Generalist can provide you with an opportunity to build up skills and experience, as you’ll be carrying out a wide variety of tasks daily. This can allow you to specialise in other areas in the future.

In addition to this, if you are a talented artist who is proficient in many areas of the industry, it will provide you with the opportunity and flexibility to decide whether you want to choose to focus on a niche or head in a more general direction.

Latest 3D Generalist Jobs

Become a 3D Generalist
If you are ready for the next step in your career, why not take a look at the latest 3D Generalist vacancies on our jobs board? You can view our latest vacancies here.