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Virtual Production Real-time 3D Artist for Film

What does a film real-time 3D artist do?

Real-time artists are professionals who create interactive 3D content and assets that can be rendered in real-time. They usually work on a project from start to finish, collaborating with filmmakers to bring a broader vision to life. Real-time artists are responsible for maintaining the quality and optimization of visuals, ranging from entire environments to small 3D props, or assets. Additionally, they add lighting, textures, and other visual effects to enhance the final product.

Real-time 3D artists are often generalists who collaborate with other artists, designers, and programmers to realize a broader vision, commonly known as virtual production.

What is virtual production?

Virtual production is similar to traditional production, but with one main difference: it allows for real-time rendering. This opens up new and improved workflows for the film industry, bridging the gap between real-world and digital platforms. Filmmakers and content creators are increasingly using virtual production as a tool to visualize what they would have previously only been able to see in post-production, during the pre-production and production stages.

Film real-time artist job description

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 are also responsible for maintaining visuals in both quality and optimization — from entire environments down to small 3D props, known as assets. Role & responsibilities of a real-time artist in virtual production for film and TV:

  • Mockup concepts and adjust as directed

  • Work with the Director and Real-time team to design interactive experiences using a game engine

  • Worldbuilding (create and layout assets in a real-time engine)

  • Light scenes for a better cinematic experience

  • Optimize content through profiling and enhancing performance with the help of diagnostic tools

  • Collaborate with programmers to develop and test new features, prototype shader code, and provide useful feedback during R&D phases.

Skills required to become a film real-time artist

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.

Film studios may look for the following skills in a real-time artist for film:

  • Experience in a real-time engine

  • Real-time ready asset creation (props, characters, etc.)

  • Texture/Shader knowledge

  • An understanding of animation, animation rigs, and anatomy

  • Scripting languages like MEL, Python, C#, and Javascript are useful

  • A general understanding of cameras and how changing their values will contribute to how you might block, light, and shoot a scene.

  • Basic knowledge of film production processes (e.g., scripts, concepts, sets, storyboards) and the production pipeline.

What software and tools do real-time 3D artists use?

When you begin your journey in the competitive field of real-time graphics, it is essential to concentrate on learning a real-time game engine. However, it is equally important to have a good grasp of the fundamental principles of art. Real-time artists often have to perform a wide range of tasks, so it is worth learning other software in addition to the game engine.

Real-time artists may need knowledge of a combination of the following software:

  • Unreal Engine

  • Unity

  • Motionbuilder

  • World Creator

  • QuadSpinner Gaea

  • Substance Painter

  • Blender

  • Maya

  • Houdini

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