7 vital soft skills for digital artists
While artists focus on the hard skills needed in the industry, sometimes the soft skills can become overlooked. Let’s take a look at seven vital skills every artist must learn for success…
Soft skills are the set of different character traits which improves the ability to communicate with other people, affects the working process, and helps a person to perform better and avoid conflicts. We talked to three digital artists from Mondlicht Studios to find out how soft skills are helping them in their career.
Hard skills are the set of your professional skills. In other words, a list of things you can do. In digital art it could be drawing, modeling, concepting, retouching, texturing, and so on. Soft skills are related to emotional intelligence, which helps us to interact with the people around us. The society was used to perceive soft skills as natural ability. However, they could be raised and improved.
“Emotional intelligence: Why it can matter more than IQ” by Daniel Goleman could be very interesting for those who want to learn more about emotional intelligence.
Soft skills are essential for any specialist across all industries. What’s more, a lot of digital artists don’t have them, and that’s a common reason for an artist not to get a job. Mastering hard skills and making their renders more and more realistic, artists tend to forget that they are part of the team. This problem becomes obvious when an artist gets a job in a studio. And it’s also relevant for freelancers, who have to communicate with clients and partners, do their job well and on time.
The ability to express your thoughts most politely and efficiently helps you to communicate your ideas and reach your opponent. But communication skills are not only about talking or writing. Sometimes it’s even more important to understand when you should better be silent and listen very attentively. Not by chance, the nicest person to talk to is the person who listens more than talks.
Communication is only one part of the job. Another is to build connections inside a group, trust its members, and accomplish the tasks together in the most effective way. This type of skill is not so important for freelancers, but vital for those who want to work in a studio. The company can work effectively only if all its members do so, collaborating and redistributing the tasks.
“When I was working at Daimler, I couldn’t imagine my work without colleagues – so many people were involved in projects in every step of production. To deliver a good result on time, you have to communicate and collaborate with the people around you. Sharing ideas, looking for a solution, discussing comments, and so on. What’s more, it really improves results and makes the job way more engaging!”
- David Schäfer
The breakdown of one of the latest projects David was working on
Every new project has its surprises. Of course, you may create very similar artworks, polish your pipeline and never face problems, but stagnation is the death for an artist. The majority of CG-specialists are seeking new challenges and more exciting projects. In this case, there will be a lot of production problems. The ability to solve them is a very rare and valuable skill.
“When a client comes to me with the projects, he comes with a problem I can help him with. This moment, when I realize how to solve a problem, is one of my favorite parts of the job. Once, a studio came to me asking to create 200 automotive CG images in less than 2 months. The studio didn’t have resources to deal with the task on time, so I came there, created a small team, organized the process, and we managed to create high-quality images in a few weeks. I managed to solve the problem of my client, and that’s very fulfilling.”
- Dmitriy Glazyrin
Sooner or later, any artist faces a conflict with colleagues or a client. Conflict is not the end of the world; it’s the inevitable part of human communication. The question is: are you able to avoid it or find a solution suitable for everyone? The best way to do that is to imagine yourself in your opponent’s shoes, understand his arguments and worries.
The ability to manage time wisely and effectively helps to evaluate the amount of days an artist needs for a specific project and, what’s even more important, finish the work on time. Dealing with deadlines is vital for freelancers, who don’t have a team to help them out in case of sudden problems.
“Nowadays there are so many ways to make your job easier. Tools are becoming friendlier, and the amount of tutorials on YouTube is even hard to count. An artist needs to value his time and use new ways to improve his workflow. Otherwise, he will become noncompetitive in a short time.”
- Maksym Khirnyy
This set of soft skills includes a variety of character traits; one usually needs to demonstrate at work. Responsibility, initiative, self-motivation, and commitment will help your career at any studio on the planet. However, it’s very important not to push yourself over the limits too much. Otherwise, your work will fill all your life, leaving space for nothing more.
This could be incredibly useful for those who are seeking for project employment and eager to travel around the world. Every country will differ not only on a cultural level, but there will also be differences in pipeline, communication, and working process in general. The ability to adapt to any new circumstances will make this experience less stressful and help to build lasting relations with a lot of different employers across the globe.
“I have been working in different countries on four continents, and in every country I face new unexpected challenges. The ability to adapt will help you not only at work, where everybody knows where you are from and trying to help you. This skill is incredibly important, even for your personal life. To come to a different country, even for a year, is to begin your life from a new page in an absolutely different world. It’s an awesome experience, but it’s better to be prepared for it.” - Dmitriy Glazyrin
Attention to detail
The most important thing this skill may give to you is the ability to understand what a client really wants to get, and react to his comments in the most effective way. Moreover, it will also help to improve your artworks. In any CG direction accuracy, patience and attention to details are the keys to success.
“It’s funny, but sometimes people don’t hear what you are asking them to do, even if the task seems very simple. When a person receives a task, sometimes they try to overdo it and make way more than really needed, and sometimes – don’t make what was actually needed. Which is why it’s so important to listen and do your job carefully. Yes, you may and you should put in it as much as you can, but be sure you’re going in the right direction.” - David Schäfer