Vancouver Film School: Production, Animation, Game Design, Acting and more

Career Paths - 3D Animation & Visual Effects

The 3D Animation & Visual Effects program grants students the skills they need to become excellent 3D artists.

The jobs and/or fields we specifically train for are detailed below. Depending on the size and style of the animation studio, hired artists may specialize in one field or work in many. The 3D Animation program counters this by granting all students a working knowledge of a range of fields while urging them to specialize in one.

Visual Effects Artist

The effects artist is responsible for the creation of natural and supernatural phenomena and the compositing of them into a finished image. Effects can range from the subtle (removal of wires, gunfire, etc.) to the extremely complex (water, explosions, etc.).

Texture Artist

A texture artist creates and applies textures, colors, and other surface attributes to 3D models. They often work in Photoshop, painting their textures by hand or by manipulating photographs of real-life surfaces.

Technical Director (TD)

A Technical Director (TD) is the glue between the artistic and technical departments within an animation facility. TDs are jacks-of-all-trades; they may design new software tools, rig and weight character models, or specialize as technical assistants in the other disciplines on this page.

This relatively new position may vary from company to company and is in high demand.

Lighting Artist

Lighting artists apply a lighting scheme to the characters and environments within a production's 3D environment. Lighting artists may apply lighting schemes to characters, scenes, or entire sequences.

Previsualisation Artist

The "previs" artist assembles the 3D sets and props into the scenes as defined in the script and establishes preliminary camera moves. For visual effects in live-action productions, the artist previsualizes shots using 3D models to support the Director of Photography for the live-action filming.

This function sometimes replaces hand-drawn animatics and is a relatively new position in the animation world.

Character Animator

The character animator interprets animatics and scripts and uses that material to create the performance of 3D character models. Some animators - especially in games - use and manipulate motion capture data to inform their animation.

Like all animators, 3D character animators must have have an intuitive understanding of physical and emotional performance.


Using a designer's conceptual drawings, a modeler creates the 3D geometry that animators later use to create motion. A team of multiple modelers may be broken up into different positions, including character modeler, prop modeler, and environment modeler.