What Is a CG Artist? Definition, Jobs and Skills

CG Artists (also known as computer graphics artists) create 2D and 3D art, usually for Cinema, Advertising or animation movies. A CG artists work usually revolves around finding balance between artistic sensibilities and technical limitations while working within a development team.[1]

In a game development context, CG artists work closely with game directors, art directors, animators, game designers and level designers. CG Artists (typically, technical artists) will also work with game programmers to ensure that the 3D models and assets created by the art team function as desired inside a game engine.

CG artists are typically skilled at creating both 2D and 3D digital art, and often specialize in one or more subsets of content creation such as: hard surface modeling, organic modelling, concept art painting, architectural rendering, animation, and/or visual effects. If the CG artist is a technical artist, they will usually also have programming skills such as shader and script writing, character rigging, and/or skill in languages such as Python, MEL, C++, or C#.[2]

CG artists often begin their career with a degree from an animation school, an arts discipline, or in computer science.

Types of CG Artists

Types of CGI artists

There are many departments in the CG industry giving CGI artists a wide variety of creative and technical job opportunities and areas to specialize in, from coders to illustrators to non-artists. Here are some of the common CG departments and areas of specialization where CG artists can work:

What is a CG artist?

A computer graphics (CG) artist, or a computer-generated imagery (CGI) artist, is a professional who creates moving images, still images or visual effects with computers, digital tools and software programs. CGI artists create digital versions of characters, objects, environments, locations and special effects. They use these digital creations to make video games, television shows, commercials, films and other multimedia.

Where can CGI artists work?

Because of the wide variety of disciplines within CG work, there are numerous industries that hire CGI artists. Some of the most common industries where CGI artists work are:

Qualifications for CG artists

Here are the basic qualifications to become a CGI artist:

Earn an education

Although not all employers require a degree, most CGI artists learn their craft through relevant degree programs. Common bachelors degrees for CG artists are game development, entertainment design and animation. Some colleges and universities offer CGI specific degrees, programs or coursework. Common coursework for related degrees include graphic design, computer programming, studio art, computer science, 3D animation and video art.

Build a portfolio

Most CG artists show prospective employers a portfolio of their best work, technical proficiency and artistry. Its common practice to put the portfolio on a CD, DVD or website so that its easy for employers to browse. It also makes it easier for CGI artists to tailor their portfolio to a specific position or to emphasize a particular style or skill. Its good to limit your portfolio and carefully choose pieces to not overwhelm employers with too much information or imagery.

Gain experience

Many employers require professional experience for CGI positions. Recent graduates and new artists often start with entry-level or assistant positions in order to learn on the job and gain hands on experience. Freelance work is another way CG artists can gain experience, as well as volunteering for nonprofit organization or schools. Sometimes cable access stations look for CG volunteers to help with production services, and you can add these projects to your portfolio. Internships can also provide valuable learning opportunities and relevant experience.

Stay current

As technology advances and dynamic and new CGI methods develop, CG artists work hard to stay up to date on the newest product knowledge and technical skills. Many CG artists take continuing education courses or vendor courses to stay competitive. Its also common for CG artists to build their business acumen through courses and programs to prepare them for leading a team, advancing to senior positions or starting their own freelance business.

CGI artist skills

There are many hard skills and soft skill that security software engineers need, including:

CGI artist software skills

CGI artists use tools like:

Hard skills

There are many hard skills CGI artists need, like:

Soft skills

There are many soft skills CGI artists need, like:


What does CG artist stand for?

CGI stands for “computer-generated imagery.” CGI Artists create still and moving images and visual effects using computers. These images could be anything from characters to environments to special effects.

How do you become a CG artist?

CGI artists use technology to create visual effects and characters for film, television and video games. To get into the field you’ll need a healthy dose of creativity, some artistic ability and a bachelor’s degree in art, computer graphics or a related program.

What is a CG used for?

Computer-generated imagery (CGI) is the use of computer graphics to create or contribute to images in art, printed media, video games, simulators, computer animation and VFX in films, television programs, shorts, commercials, and videos.

Is CGI artist a good career?

Yes, being a 3D artist is a good career.

3D artists earn good money at an average of $69,000 a year, and demand for qualified 3D artists is expected to continue. Working as a 3D artist provides a lot of versatility in the type of industries and projects you can work on.

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