CGI Artist

Also known as

  • Cartoonist
  • 2D-Animator
  • 3D-Animator

Work Activities

As a CGI Artist, you will be producing animation images using computer software. You may be specialising in motion pictures such as in films and TV programmes or in the gaming industry.

You would firstly talk with your clients about the work that they need. They might ask you to produce characters, objects, special effects or locations for animation.

Then you would create a storyboard to show the narrative and script for your client, making any changes if needed.

Once the storyboard has been agreed, you would then use the computer software and your knowledge to draw 2D and 3D sketches, artworks and illustrations, which will be shown to the client.

You would then develop the sketches and start making the animations move using a sequence of images. This could be following a piece of music or an audio segment such as speech to include in the animation.

Once this is finished, you may work with Editors to produce the different layers of animation. This might be include the graphics, characters, any special effects and backgrounds.

You could be working with a large team of Printers, Marketing Specialists, Copywriters, Designers and Photographers.

Being able to read, write and speak Welsh may be an advantage when you’re looking for work in Wales.

Personal Qualities and Skills

To become a CGI Artist, you will need:

  • a creative mind and a strong visual imagination
  • an eye for detail
  • the ability to draw, make models and/or use computer graphics software
  • good communication skills, if you have contact with clients
  • IT skills and knowledge of using software packages such as Flash and Cinema 4D
  • to be flexible as you may be switching between different projects

Pay and Opportunities

Pay

The pay rates below are approximate:

  • Starting: £20,500 - £22,500
  • With experience: £24,000 - £27,500
  • Senior CGI Artists earn £29,000 - £32,000

Hours of work

Late finishes and work at weekends may be required, especially as deadlines approach.

Where could I work?

Opportunities for CGI Artists occur with employers in towns and cities throughout the UK.

Employers include:

  • computer games companies
  • broadcast production companies
  • advertising agencies
  • design studios
  • firms involved in electronic publishing

Where are vacancies advertised?

Vacancies are advertised on all the major job boards, on Find a Job, and at Jobcentre Plus.

Self-employment

Opportunities occur for experienced CGI Artists to work freelance or set up their own companies. Consultancy and fixed-term contract work may be available.

Entry Routes and Training

Entry routes

There is no set entry route into this job, though many new entrants have a degree, foundation degree or HND in animation or graphic design. You could also study alternative courses including:

  • art and design
  • computer - aided engineering
  • moving image arts
  • electrical engineering
  • illustration
  • 3D design

The industry Sector Skills Council, Creative Skillset, has a list of accredited university courses on its website.

An Advanced Level Apprenticeship is also great place to start. Take a look at our information article 'Apprenticeships – How do I apply', for more details about applying for apprenticeship positions.

You will need to build up a portfolio, including a show reel of your work.

Another great way to get into this career is through an internship. Take a look at our information article 'Internships', for more details.

Training

If you would like to receive more training, then Futureworks Media School offers a course in 3D modelling and animation.

It is designed for Artists working in visual design who have an interest in developing their animation skills.

By the end of the course, you will have learnt:

  • how to model complex objects
  • unwrapping and texturing
  • how to develop 3D environments
  • the latest animation techniques
  • character animation
  • character rigging
  • how to make textures and lighting look realistic

Other courses might be available in your area.

Work Experience

Previous experience working in graphic design or in animation would be really useful for this career.

Progression

Once you have built up experience and knowledge as a CGI Artist, you could work your way towards becoming an Editor or Publisher.

Qualifications

The usual requirement for entry to a degree course in animation is:

  • 3 A levels
  • 5 GCSEs usually including English and maths

Qualifications in art, design and technology, and technical subjects such as IT are useful.

Entry to degree courses can also be gained through successful completion of an arts foundation course.

To get onto an Advanced Level Apprenticeship, you'll usually need 5 GCSEs at grade C/4 or above, including English and maths, or to have completed an Intermediate Level Apprenticeship.

You will normally need to submit a comprehensive portfolio/show reel that shows your potential.

Some universities accept the Welsh Baccalaureate as equivalent to 1 A level.

Adult Opportunities

Age limits

It is illegal for any organisation to set age limits for entry to employment, education or training, unless they can show there is a real need to have these limits.

Experience

Relevant skills and abilities, gained while working at a studio or in a production company, will be an advantage.

Courses

If you don't have the qualifications needed to enter your chosen degree or HND course, a college or university Access course (eg, Access to Art and Design) could be the way in. No formal qualifications are usually required, but you should check individual course details.

Further Information

Apprenticeships: Get In. Go Far

National Apprenticeship Service (NAS)

Tel: 0800 015 0400

Email: nationalhelpdesk@findapprenticeship.service.gov.uk

Website: www.apprenticeships.org.uk

ScreenSkills

Skills for the creative industries

Email: info@creativeskillset.org

Website: www.creativeskillset.org

Careers Wales - Welsh Apprenticeships

Tel: 0800 028 4844

Website: ams.careerswales.com/

Futureworks Media School

Tel: 0161 214 4600

Email: info@futureworks.ac.uk

Website: futureworks.ac.uk

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