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CGI and 3D

Jobs in CGI might be harder for me to achieve. I’d like to practice being able to create more realistic models using Maya and other softwares. Combination of softwares uses can help me achieve other looks that Maya alone can’t do. I think I should take up internships in 3D modelling even if its not in the genre that I’d like, just to build up my skills and gain some professional experience. Below is the information the website provides in what is expected from a 3D modeller:

http://www.creativeskillset.org/animation/careers/3D_computer/article_4637_1.asp

Modellers build three-dimensional computer models of everything that is needed for a CGI project. As they develop their skills and interests, Modellers may concentrate on different areas such as characters, objects, environments or special effects.

Further on in the process, Riggers will rig the models to enable them to be animated and Texture Artists will apply texture which will be further enhanced at the Lighting stage when tone and depth are added.

What is the job?
From designs, concept drawings and any other available reference material, Modellers create three-dimensional models using whatever software is applicable to the production.

They work to established designs and need to produce an accurate translation of the reference, staying on model (in style). There may be occasions when Modellers will need to do their own research or scan in a maquette or sculpture as reference.

The models they produce need to meet the creative requirements of the Production Designer and/or Art Director and/or Client, but it is just as important that they should satisfy the technical needs of the CG department and be efficient, reliable, to scale and easy to rig and animate.

It is important that Modellers understand and appreciate what will be required of their models in the later stages of production because this can affect the work they produce. Information about the action that is going to be required from a model will be provided by a Director, Supervisor or Animator, or can be found in the storyboard or layouts.

On smaller productions, Modellers may also rig, build textures and create lighting. On larger projects, they may be required to liaise with riggers, texture artists and lighters.

Typical career routes
There are several levels of Modeller from a new entrant taken on as a trainee or junior, through to a Senior Technical Director or Supervisor. This job profile relates to a mid-level Modeller. Modelling can be a good career choice or can lead on to other roles, such as rigging or texture.

Ideally, Modellers combine both modelling and texture skills which give them flexibility when progressing through the CG Department. With the appropriate talent and skills, a successful Modeller/Texture Artist may aim, eventually, to be either a CG Supervisor or a VFX Supervisor.

Essential knowledge and skills
One of the most important skills is to be able to think in 3D. In addition, it will be necessary to demonstrate at least some of the following within a portfolio submitted for a Modelling position:

  • ability to follow design reference accurately and work in a range of styles;
  • ability to create moderate to complex and organic models;
  • ability to model characters, props and environments, working to a good level of finish, if required;
  • good drawing skills including use of light and shadow and a good understanding of anatomy;
  • strong sense of scale, form, weight and volume;

Key Skills include:

  • good understanding of modelling with either Polygons or NURBS;
  • ability to do UV mapping;
  • ability to problem solve;
  • ability to communicate with colleagues and work as part of a team;
  • ability to take direction and willingness to address comments and make changes;
  • ability to work with a minimum of supervision and capacity to function as team leader, if required;
  • ability to deliver on schedule, working under pressure if required;
  • respect for the procedures and requirements of a particular studio, production or pipeline;
  • knowledge of the requirements of the relevant Health and Safety legislation and procedures

Training and qualifications
Modellers are likely to have gained a degree in one of a variety of different disciplines including Mechanical or Civil Engineering, Industrial Design, Architecture, Computer Graphics, Computer Animation, Sculpture, Woodwork, Metalwork, Ceramics, etc.

It is possible that a period of comparable professional experience, or working up from a trainee, may replace an academic qualification providing that a portfolio can demonstrate the necessary talent and skills.

Modellers will be expected to have solid experience in at least one of the 3D CG packages regarded as standard by the industry. Maya is currently the most widely used programme for film, television and facility houses in the UK. However, it is unlikely that knowledge of a specific programme will affect employment.

Some studios may provide the necessary re-training if modelling talent and skills are well established in a portfolio; alternatively, Modellers will need to upgrade their own skills and take training on the relevant software. Life drawing and experience of sculpting or traditional model building are an asset.

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