Student work by Alexios Vasilakis
A real-time 3D artist in games creates and renders 3D graphics in real-time, using a game engine like Unreal Engine. This may involve modeling, texturing, animation, and lighting for in-game characters and environments. They also often perform tasks assisting with cinematics and various aspects of gameplay, which are executed in a game engine.
Real-time 3D artists are often generalists who collaborate with other game artists, game designers, and programmers to realize a broader vision.
Screenshot showcasing CGS student Vincent Velarde’s project: built in Unreal Engine 4 and assets from Unreal Engine Marketplace.
A real-time 3D artist in games harnesses the skills found in one or more areas of the traditional game development pipeline. They often focus on content or asset creation in a real-time environment. They are also responsible for maintaining both the quality and optimization of visuals — from entire environments down to small 3D props, known as assets for cinematics and the game itself.
Role & responsibilities of a real-time artist for video games:
Game retrospective for Vincent’s project, Proteus, made in real-time using Unreal Engine.
When starting in this competitive field, you’ll need to focus on learning technical tools and be proficient in a game engine such as Unreal or Unity, which often also involves some coding.
Video game studios may look for the following skills in a real-time artist for video games:
When starting in this competitive field, you’ll need to focus on learning a real-time game engine, but the importance of art fundamentals cannot be underestimated. However, because real-time artists often take on a more generalist role, plenty of other software is worth learning too.
Real-time artists may need knowledge of a combination of the following software:
The national average salary of real-time 3D artists is $62,053 annually in the United States. (Source: Glassdoor)
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3 months - 40 (minimum)hrs weekly
A 12-week virtual production intensive for media professionals and studios looking to up-skill their teams and foster the next generation of real-time artists.
3 months - 20hrs weekly
Go from installing the Unreal Engine to creating a fully playable character within it. This short course helps beginners wanting to work in film or games get the hang of working with the engine and surrounding pipelines including basic rigging, animation and motion capture.