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Help a 2D Environment artist become a 3D Environment artist and land a job

Hello I'm Ryan and I plan to make a career change.
Doing 2D art for 5 years now, i have dabbled in freelance work but it never grew to make me stop doing my night-shift work in the weekends. I have been stagnating about 3-4 months between each new art piece I make and that rate of productivity is making me doubt my passion. So wanting to focus on 3D, i have around 4 days each week to dedicate to this new craft.

[What do i want?]

I want to make narrative environments that tell a story, make you feel a certain way with lightning and let you wonder about the world beyond the actual scene. If you check my current portfolio, I love to have a high emphasis on composition, color, mood and storytelling. I want to make environments for games or either movies, and wish to know what course of action is best to specialize on first to get to that level. I would love to hear suggestions where to focus on and learn efficiently as possible.

[What have i planned?]

  • I'm currently planning to make a laboratory in a walking sand crawler, inspired by the Dune novel. I'm drawing my own concept sketches and designing the props, bringing them to game quality level. Eventually texturing them in substance designer and importing them in UE4.
  • I want to place those in a closed scene environment where you can walk around in UE4, also doing the walls, floors, random props. However being quite new with 3D modelling and going through the whole pipeline, i plan to go things one by one slowly, but I already feel its a huge task and I wish not to stagnate by being clueless what to do, however I'm willing to tackle it anyway lol. Though I wish to hear from you if this is a good direction to start or maybe it's bit too ambitious with my end goal in mind. Would love some input here. 
  • I'm planning to dive into UE4, check out the marketplace stuff, understand the engine, checking out lightning options.
  • I'm planning to check out Substance Designer for texturing purposes.
  • I subscribed to Quixel megascans and have been trying out a scene in blender. i can see how it might be useful for movie scenes, but not so for game environments. Wanting to create scenes of my own, it might be a great resource for the more natural scenes.

I will wrap up this post and wish to update this discussion for the rest of my 3D career, updating it as i will go along with progress shots, documenting my thoughts and the like.

Cheers guys!


  • teodar23
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    teodar23 sublime tool
    Hello Ryan,
    You seem to be very good at 2d, i can only presume that one day you will be very good at 3d.
    However, you might want to start off small, maybe do some props, a small diorama, to get you going and to have a feel for the process. Taking the leap like that and "checking out" a bunch of tools might be overwhelming and off putting and in the end stopping you from acomplishing what you set out to do. Especially if you dont have a lot of free time to practice.
    Nevertheless, i wish you all the best!
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