Illustration and Visual Media
It seems more common for artist, designers and illustrators to have some experience with 3D software and use it within the workplace. Especially for smaller studios, they need people who are multidisciplinary and can create 2D and 3D work.
The visuals are cleaner, it can be perceived as more professional by clients, and the options for lighting the models can greatly affect the tone and atmosphere for the brief. Not to mention you can reuse the models by creating different textures and angles. It seems to be the norm that a design agency, a digital agency should have projects completed in 3D and be able to take on those briefs by clients and companies. My experience so far is within the entertainment industry so it could be different in different areas of the design world, but I have found that being able to use 3D software is a big advantage when applying for work.
Concept art I made for a personal project where I used Maya to create the main objects, perspective and lighting. Then I painted over the screenshot in Photoshop.
It's also worth noting that 3D software can be used even if the final product isn't necessarily 3D. One skill that is I have noticed is very sought out is visualizing. If the majority of the team's skills are technical and don't have a way to visually present the ideas and projects, the outcome falls short. That is why they need someone to create images in whatever form suited for the project. This skill of visualizing can result in a 2D or 3D piece. However sometimes there is use for 3D softwares to create perfect squares, or building, or perspective and then use that as a foundation for a 2D image. Not to mention there are artists who create models and texture it in a way that makes it looks 2D no matter what angle you look at it.
A good website to explore other artists' works and trends of 3D models is https://sketchfab.com/.
At my last internship at a game company, the team was small so my role spread beyond creating concept art and illustrations to helping with the game environment in Unity. Although I wasn't the one creating the 3D assets, it was my job to place them and create the 3D environment players would be navigating in. I have had experience with 3D softwares like Maya so it was easier for me to transfer to Unity, but since I was placing the assets I had to think differently. Such as taking into consideration what path players will take, and creating interesting and unique rock formations or asset combination that make the environment memorable and the players remember better the locations. Furthermore, I had to think of the environment overall, which isn't so different when creating environment concept art, but I have to look at the environment in a lot more angles than I am used to. Since I had to look at the location overall, the ground, grass and sky texture were as important as the assets created by the 3D modelers. It all had to come together and be of a similar cartoon style and have a nice color palette. I was able to experiment with the ground and grass texture to find what was best suitable for the environment and game style. Nonetheless, I noticed for games, it is ever evolving and nothing is set in stone, new assets are always created and switched out, thus there is always room for improvement or modification to keep up with the changing pace of video games.
Screenshots of the environment I worked on during my internship.
Triple O Games All Rights Reserved
I have seen many design studios utilize this new age of 3D projects, and I was intended to start an internship at an animation and VFX studio, where I would have again been working in both 2D and 3D projects. Unfortunately, due to the virus I was never able to start. I now realize what a valuable asset it is to have experience and be able to work with 3D software in the entertainment industry, even for artists. So far this year, I have come to recognize that I prefer to work on environments rather than characters, and for a while I will focus more on environments, especially when considering my future career. That isn't to say I won't continue with character design, but I will prioritize environment design. Of course, I will try to incorporate even more 3D design into my practice, starting with a self-initiated project with my brother. We are in the process of developing a video game and creating somewhat of a minimal viable product. This way I can incorporate interests in concept art, environment and character design, and 3D modeling. It is a way to expand and test my skills and create something that will be interactable rather than just a design you can look at.
Most of the foundation of design is translated into 3D design, but there are new aspects to consider especially if you work mainly in 2D, but it is a great skill that the design world today relies on. Extending not only your creative thinking but possibilities of new ways to create and gain a wider audience.