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How real-time 3D is building new worlds for artists

Above video - World building in Unreal Engine: The Frozen Lands epic fly-through by CGS student Marc Carratala Arce

Are you an artist or creator looking to create more interactive and immersive experiences for your audience? Then consider learning real-time 3D technical art production techniques.

Not only can you take your art to the next level, but the growing demand for jobs that use game engines like Unity and Unreal Engine indicates a promising future for real-time 3D technical artists!

The growing demand for real-time artists

Global demand for real-time skills is expanding 10 percent faster than the overall job market, and demand for real-time skills has outpaced information technology skills by 50 percent, according to labor market analytics firm Burning Glass Technologies. What’s more, companies are willing to pay premium salaries for people with the right real-time skillset.

To help meet this increasing interest in real-time engines, reputable schools like CG Spectrum — an Unreal Authorized Training Center and Unreal Academic Partner — are helping filmmakers, game developers, and other creators keep abreast of the constantly evolving job market. In their Realtime 3D Technical Art and Virtual Production Course, real-time experts teach students how to build incredible worlds and create film-quality cinematic shots using Unreal Engine.

Somber war trench fly-through in Unreal Engine by William Faucher, Mentor of the Real-Time 3D & Virtual Production course.

What is the difference between a real-time artist and a regular 3D artist?

Like a more traditional 3D artist, a real-time 3D artist harnesses similar skills found in one or more areas of the traditional production pipeline. The main difference is, a real-time 3D artist works within the software and its limitations to see and interact with their final images in real-time (as opposed to rendering out your work).

Real-time artists focus on content or asset creation in a real-time environment such as a game engine, often working on a project from concept to completion. They collaborate with other artists, designers, and programmers to realize a broader vision.

Real-time artists are also responsible for maintaining visuals in both quality and optimization — from entire environments down to small 3D props.

The biggest perk of real-time is the ability to iterate faster, dynamically, on a moment’s whim.”

William Faucher

Alpha Project, Alien Planet: CG Spectrum student work by Marc Carratala Arce and Benjamin Oman

What industries use real-time 3D technology?

Besides game development, real-time is carving out new and exciting ways for digital creators to tell stories. What’s more, it’s helping to break down common creative barriers, such as time and money, allowing artists more freedom to create than ever before.

For example, traditional filmmakers can now visualize things they’d usually only be able to view in post-production during the pre and production stages. This gives the client more creative control and ensures better communication throughout the pipeline.

Film is certainly not the only industry to benefit from the seemingly limitless opportunities offered by real-time engines. There are many uses yet to be discovered! So far, some of the ways real-time has been used—both full-​​CG or blending in live-action footage—include:

  • Installations and projections for events for exhibitions and concerts for more interactive and immersive experiences
  • Marketing and commercial purposes
  • Broadcasting, such as reporting the weather
  • Architectural and interior design visualization
  • Product design
  • Environment and theater design
  • Automotive
  • Training and simulation
  • Surgical training for medical physicians [medical and pharmaceutical industry]
  • Designing compounds for pharmaceuticals
  • Fashion design and fashion shows

In CG Spectrum’s webinar, creators William Faucher, Deepak Chetty, and Simon Warwick delve into the exciting and varied roles of a real-time artist, some of which we cover in this article, and how real-time is being used in the real world. Watch the full webinar on How to become a real-time artist.

6 skills a real-time artist needs

To be a successful real-time 3D technical artist, outside of learning real-time production techniques, the Mentors of CG Spectrum's real-time 3D course suggest brushing up on the following skills:

  1. Problem-solving (possibly the most critical skill to accompany content creation)
  2. Good foundations in art, like those of a DOP (Director of Photography)
  3. An understanding of animation and animation rigs
  4. Basic knowledge of film production processes (e.g., scripts, concepts, sets, storyboards)
  5. A general understanding of cameras and how changing their values will contribute to how you might block, light, and shoot a scene.
  6. It is also beneficial to have a grasp of the traditional production pipeline and its various stages, especially because virtual production is non-linear.

How to get a job as a real-time 3D artist

If you want to be a real-time 3D artist, learning a real-time tool like Unreal Engine or Unity is essential, even for established content creators and artists.

There are plenty of free real-time courses available online. However, if you are looking for more personalized career training and mentorship from established real-time artists, CG Spectrum’s Real-time 3D Technical Art & Virtual Production Course is a great place to start.

Using tools like Unreal Engine, Maya, Motionbuilder, and Substance Painter, you'll learn how to create spectacular 3D environments from scratch using world building, lighting and camera principles, and graduate with a film-quality cinematic shot for your portfolio.

By the end of the course, you'll have a good understanding of real-time 3D and virtual production techniques, plus how to work with characters, rigs, digital humans, and motion capture. Apply your plethora of new skills either to enhance your own creations, for job roles on a stage volume, or in one of the many other industries looking for skilled real-time 3D artists to bring their stories to life.

“​​There is a HUGE demand for real-time artists. Now’s the time to get as big of a head start as possible.” -William Faucher

Visualize your future in real-time and start your journey as a real-time 3D artist with professional career training and mentorship at CG Spectrum College of Digital Art & Animation!

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