Posted by Kathleen Moore, CastleView 3D:
A career in 3D modeling and rendering — sounds very exciting and cutting-edge, doesn’t it? Movie premieres of the latest 3D films, gaming conventions, consultations with leading architects on their newest skyscraper or high-end real estate development. How thrilling!
But trust me, that’s far from reality — at least MY reality. Although this occupation certainly has its moments of excitement, it’s actually pretty nerdy and requires a high tolerance for sitting at a computer and working by yourself most of the time.
And it doesn’t lend itself to a jet-set lifestyle, either, in terms of time OR income. At least in the beginning, you end up doing pretty much any job that knocks on your virtual door, just to be able to make some money.
I was lucky: early in my rendering career (way back in 2007) I landed a dream job — clients who wanted to pay me a handsome sum to create a complete “as-built” (i.e., an exact detailed model of an existing structure) of a gorgeous multimillion-dollar house they were buying, which they would then use for remodeling and redecorating the home. And I accepted, because I was too green to realize that it was way beyond my skill level at the time. Luckily my 3D mentor, Kay Nordby, was willing to help with some of the trickier bits. I completed the job, the clients were very pleased, and I learned a lot and cemented a lasting virtual friendship. More on that big job — including further developments — another time.
So far I haven’t done any other project that has been on the same scale as that one, and certainly nothing so grand as a skyscraper. One recent job was really the antithesis of glamour — a quick rendering of a bunch of self-storage units for a developer, something he could take to the town for permit approval.
But no matter whether it’s the big cool challenging jobs or the quick moneymakers, I’m happy with my second career in 3D modeling and rendering:
- It allows me to combine my artistic and technical skills with my love of architecture and interior design.
- It’s always full of new challenges, new design problems to solve, and new rendering techniques to practice and perfect.
- It allows me to be my own boss and run my business the way I want to.
- I can work in my jammies and bunny slippers if I want (not that I would ever do that, of course — I don’t even OWN bunny slippers. But you get the idea).
- People pay me to do something I really enjoy and am passionate about.
- It provides daily opportunities to be helpful to other people by using my skills to translate their 2D ideas and plans into 3D images — and sometimes into gloriously detailed photorealistic 3D images, if that’s appropriate for their needs.