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Reel Opportunities

Modelling Artist

Also known as: Model Maker, Modeller

What does a Modelling Artist do?

Modelling Artists build the digital or physical versions of everything that is seen on screen in an animation, film or television project (using VFX). They translate concept art, character designs and environment designs into models ready to be animated.

In stop-motion animation the role is known as ‘model maker’. In 3D computer-generated animation and visual effects, it’s usually known as ‘modeler’.

They start with a brief, which might be 2D or 3D art produced by a Concept Artist. They can also work from reference materials (such as photographs or line drawing sketches) which can then be scanned into 3D software.

They first create a ‘wireframe’, commonly referred to as a ‘mesh,’ of the object. This looks like a series of overlapping lines in the shape of the intended 3D model. From the mesh, they are able to sculpt the model of the object to closely resemble what’s intended. They use digital tools, such as sculpting brushes, and a physical graphics pen and tablet.

Modelling Artists work at an early stage of the CG and 3D part of the VFX pipeline. The 3D models that they produce can then move on to be animated, given texture, and lit.

If a Modelling Artist specializes in creating a specific type of 3D model – for instance, characters – then they may refer to themselves as a Character Artist. In this case, they will likely create both the models and textures for characters.

What's a Modelling Artist good at?
  • Art

    Be able to draw, have a good understanding of form, color and texture, and know how these elements work together

  • Interpretation

    Be able to create a 3D model from a 2D brief, decide upon the best method to complete a 3D model quickly, while having a required level of detail and quality

  • Knowledge of 3D modeling programs

    Be adept at using relevant programs such as Blender, Maya and ZBrush, continuously learn new ways to fix problems in your models

  • Organization

    Work within the production schedule, manage files and meet deadlines

Who does a Modelling Artist work with?

Modelling Artists take the brief from the Concept Artist. They draw their models into the work created by Environment Artists, so they work closely with them. They then pass their work onto the Texture Artists, Riggers or Animators.

How do I become a Modelling Artist?

VFX companies or studios generally prefer it if you have a degree in graphic design, or another VFX-specific course. But the thing you need most is a strong portfolio that illustrates your abilities. If you can’t find a junior role as a Modelling Artist, it’s worth looking for one as a Motion Capture Technician and working your way up.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.

Reel Opportunities

Storyboard Artist

What does a Storyboard Artist do?

A Storyboard Artist visualizes a story for film or TV, and creates frame-by-frame sketches. Storyboard Artists may use photos, or they might illustrate the images themselves. They work under the supervision of the film’s Director and/or Cinematographer (DoP) to illustrate what the movie will eventually look like – sort of like a comic book version of the film that shows all the camera movements, angles and shots.

The purpose of storyboards is to help the Director, Cinematographer and crew plan how to set up certain shots. They can also sometimes be used by Producers as a way to illustrate the Director’s vision in a presentation to funders or other supporters. Animated projects are often pitched on the basis of storyboards alone (that is, a screenplay may not be written until later), and Storyboard Artists continue to work throughout the production to develop particular sequences. As a sequence is edited, the Director, Storyboard Artist and creative team may need to rework the sequence.

What's a Storyboard Artist good at?
  • Drawing

    Have excellent drawing skills and be able to produce artwork in a range of styles

  • Listening

    Be able to listen and execute the visions of the Director, Writer and creative heads

  • Storytelling

    Be able to communicate a narrative well

  • Learning by watching and asking

    Observe what’s happening in your department and company, take initiative, ask questions at appropriate times

  • Watching films

    Have a passion for the medium and a love of the industry

  • Computer software knowledge

    Many Storyboard Artists choose to develop their frames using readily available storyboarding software

Who does a Storyboard Artist work with?

Once the script has been broken down into a ‘shooting script’. Storyboard Artists work with the Director, and sometimes the Director of Photography and/or the Writer to create a visual rendering of the proposed frames and shots.

How do I become a Storyboard Artist?

The most important thing when applying for roles in storyboarding is to demonstrate good drawing skills. You need to show storytelling skills and an understanding of film. Many Storyboard Artists have a degree but you don’t necessarily need one as long as you have a strong portfolio and can show your experience. In some companies you can move into being a Junior Storyboard Artist from being a Production Assistant.

Educational requirements: Any art school with an animation or illustration department is a solid place to build fundamental skills. The essential part is strong illustration skills.

Develop Art and Illustration Skills: Regularly practise drawing and observing how people and things around you move and look. Carry a sketchbook with you.

Build a portfolio: Learn how to show story sequences cut together in an animatic form. Start creating work that you can show to admissions tutors or employers.

More tips

For more tips on finding job opportunities, lists of training programmes, and other great resources, check out our Career Resources page.

Our Partner, ScreenSkills UK is the industry-led skills body for the UK screen industries. For further information, www.screenskills.com.
Profiles and profile icons © 2022 ScreenSkills Limited. All rights reserved. No part of this publication may be reproduced without the permission of the copyright owner.
Job Profile Design by Dave Gray. Based on an original concept by Ian Murphy/Allan Burrell.