Personal Qualities You Need to Have to Become a Successful Freelance 3D Designer

 |  Ryan Pell

9 Important Personal Qualities You need to a Successful Freelance 3D Designer

One of the most promising areas of design now is 3D design, which emerged from graphic design. This profession requires that a person have good knowledge and experience working with 3D editors and professional 3D modeling programs. Not just desire and artistic taste, but unique creative education is also required to become a specialist in this field. The work outcome of 3D designers has a lot in common with the creations of graphic designers. The 3D freelance artists have to combine visualizers, modelers, animators, and the work of other specialists.

3D modeling

The 3D designer is a professional in 3D graphics who customizes computer characters for game animation and causes movement of drawn models and objects. The art of a 3D designer is to breathe soul into a character and create a living, animate world. Let's take a look at some of the 3D animation specializations:

  • 3D visualizer is a specialist who creates design projects based on documentation, plans, sketches, and drawings. The destiny of an entire project depends on its visualization. The professional can translate any ideas into 3D: from architectural structures and interior design to clothing collections. The visualizer must have many qualities and skills, both creative and technical, for successful implementation in the profession: volumetric-spatial thinking, artistic taste, a sense of style, awareness of the latest trends in design, and perfect master computer programs for 3D modeling;
  • The 3D animator is a professional who can customize computer characters for game animation and high-poly models for cinematography and video. The 3D animator creates 3D dynamic objects that perform a wide variety of movements by applying classic principles of animation. The profession is based on the traditional principles of animation even though the 3D animator uses modern tools, and this is a cornerstone for the 3D animator;
  • A 3D modeler is a person who builds their visual models based on natural and fictitious objects while working out every detail: from dimensions and bends to all the roughness and imperfections of the modeled object. This occupation has a shallow entry threshold and attracts more and more creative people like artists, architects, and sculptors. You need to work hard and know the basics of topology, shading, and lighting to become a professional in this field.

What Personal Qualities Should a Successful 3D Freelancer Have?

Being a freelancer requires a lot of responsibility: financial, professional, and personal. 3D design freelancers have to possess more qualities to achieve success in the field. Let's talk about them.

Spatial Thinking and Imagination

Spatial thinking is a type of mental activity that uses spatial images and their operation in solving practical and theoretical tasks. This type of mental activity is designed to perform many functions and is essential for engineers, designers, sculptors, and architects. This kind of thinking is crucial for a successful 3D designer. It helps them visualize the objects to create and to produce them with the tools.

Understanding Dynamics and Movement Principles

3D modeling

Character Production workflow. Image source:

The principles of dynamics, offset, and latency relates to timing. The focus of subordination refers to the relationship between objects. Transforming, changing values, masking, blending, and cloning all refer to continuity which is highly useful to a 3D designer. Focus refers to the temporal hierarchy while dimming, dimension, zoom-in, and zoom-out refer to spatial continuity, and a designer can't work without knowing the dynamics.

Speaking Foreign Languages

Being a freelance 3D designer requires speaking foreign languages, and here is why:

  • Knowing one or more foreign language helps a designer gain more clients;
  • It helps a designer communicate clearly with the clients to improve his work;
  • It promotes the expansion of the customer base;
  • It increases the number of sources of information for professional development;
  • Boosts the number of exciting projects;
  • It gives the ability to communicate with people from all over the world, which means broadening your horizons;
  • It raises the level of wages;
  • It allows a designer to get certification abroad, confirmation of professional level through international certificates.

Languages boost brain activity, which can influence the creativity and the outcome of a project. Most freelancers are independent people, and they know how to learn a foreign language on their own. It should not be difficult. It can be entertaining. There are some great approaches to that:

  1. Watching movies in a foreign language can improve the speaking, comprehension and vocabulary of a person;
  2. Playing computer games while listening to podcasts in foreign languages improve listening and makes the vocabulary more sophisticated;
  3. Create a portfolio in a foreign language. It's even better if you create a website. You need to know English at least at the Intermediate level to do so;
  4. Register on an international freelance platform.

A Quick Eye

The ability to notice the details that determine the "character" of the object is one of the essential qualities of a 3D freelance designer. How so? Creating the textures, objects and composing the right dimension requires a quick eye. A designer cannot perform perfectly without that, just as any other artist can't function without knowing the basics of art.

Artistic Education

Most 3D artists are self-taught, but learning is not a quick process. Taking online courses, practicing for a year, and getting good orders right away will most likely not work. People take up studying and doing something themselves because they are interested. There are several cases where a person decides to become a freelance 3D designer, passed a course, and became a professional. It is a miracle when people without extensive experience in design start getting hot freelance projects. Self-education and other types of education are essential for 3D designers.


Freelancers are usually people who can take responsibility for their actions and know-how to make decisions. They also do not need constant guidance. It is logical because the ability to start organizing your life on your own requires the listed character traits. Due to this, you can significantly save the time you usually spend on communication with employees afraid to step without guidance. It is essential not to confuse politeness and the desire to please the customer with indecision and the inability to act independently when being a designer. It is where the responsibility comes from.

Social Skills

It includes the ability to listen and ask questions, and in general, the ability to build a rapport with other people – both customers and colleagues. The skill is also essential for a 3D freelance designer. Many freelancers have communication problems. They do not know how to ask questions and listen carefully. The freelancers often have to read questions from clients in specialized communities: "the client said this, what would it mean?" The problem is still not solved – a freelancer has to ask questions.

The ability to ask, in essence, to listen carefully to the client often simplifies the work. The same is true when working in a team: by asking the right questions, you will never look like an amateur in the eyes of your colleagues. By doing so, you will show yourself to be a very interested employee in the process.

Sense of Purpose

This quality of a freelance 3D artist can help with the challenging tasks involved in executing a project. The ability to concentrate on one task at a time is essential for providing quality services. A designer has to know how much time to spend developing this or that feature. They should have a strong sense of purpose.

Ability to Adapt

The ability to adapt to new working conditions is one more core characteristic of a 3D freelance designer. Especially true for those who dream of working and traveling. Some "couch potatoes" also need to quickly join a new project, quickly find a common language with the client, and reshape their usual schedule if the success of the project depends on it.

You can say that this is not why you became a freelancer—working according to your "uncle's" schedule. But then, you will not be able to work on some projects because of your principles. The client will choose a more flexible person.

Wrap Up

Mastering the profession from scratch is feasible, problematic. Without the help of experienced colleagues, it will be impossible to understand many of the work features. A designer needs to read many materials and figure out which ones and for what knowledge are required. It is possible to master programs for working in 3D design independently. You can do so by watching these video tutorials.

One more way to master a specialty is through vocational education at a higher education institution. This training has characteristics that are not suitable for everyone. It would help if you studied many additional subjects that will not be useful in practical activities. In universities, the emphasis is on theory, so it will not help you build a portfolio and experience. This will negatively affect you when communicating with future customers, and can in turn affect your income. Being a freelance 3D designer means you have to be an artist and a manager at the same time, and practicing the skills is a great way to achieve success.

Enjoy powerful modeling, rendering, and 3D printing tools without the steep learning curve.

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