Technical Artist Career Overview & Outlook

The technical artist’s duties will differ in many companies. They can help development teams create compelling video games for consoles and apps.

Technical artists also apply their art and coding skill set to complete artwork and animation into complex game systems. If you’re interested in a creative career in video game development, becoming a technical artist is the ideal choice.

I will describe what they do in this article and explain their skill requirements and education. I’ll also mention their salary, career development opportunities, and working environment in the technology world.

Now, let’s explore together!

Job Description

Technical artists work with the limitations of software systems in video game production. They have close connections with software engineering advisors, game designers, and programmers.

Like other team members, they also have specific duties and responsibilities. In particular, their role is more evident in the video game industry.

In the section below, let’s explore the duties and responsibilities of the technical artist and their primary workplace.

Technical artist

Duties and Responsibilities

To bridge the gap between issues in a team, a technical artist must clearly understand their vast role and responsibility. It is also the most helpful key to opening the resounding success in game production projects:

  • Stay in touch with the developer’s team, technical creatives, and designers
  • Research, build and develop specialized support tools
  • Establish and monitor the production process
  • Always check, motivate and support team members and engineers in the 3D art development process.
  • Control game performance and assets
  • Solve complex engineering problems such as material defects and collisions
  • Provide development direction and select software and tools for game production
  • Develop and maintain resources throughout the design and production
  • Forward the finished product to the game engine
  • Ensure the highest and complete image resolution
  • Manage file size, plays, and download speed
  • Enforce standards and regulations set by the team leader
  • Prepare and develop tools and software to match character design, effects, and ragdoll collision
  • Optimize the environment and set up physical barriers
  • Write custom software with a standard language system
  • Responsible for developing game frame rate and memory performance
  • Technical document storage and security

Where Do Technical Artists Work?

Technical artists often work in the video game companies or entertainment companies that produce and develop video games.

Due to the nature of the job, they may work full or part-time and choose to work remotely, such as from home. That said, they can be flexible about their time and work from anywhere as long as the task is complete.

Education Requirements

Are you interested in technology and want to become a great technical artist? I’d recommend looking at its education-related requirements as a priority.

We determined that 68.4% of technical artists hold a bachelor’s degree. Meanwhile, those who are more professional with high education, such as a master’s and doctorate, account for about 8.2%.

The most basic and standard qualification you should have when starting in this field is a bachelor’s degree with a major in graphic design.

It will take you 1-2 years of experience to master practical knowledge and skills.

A university degree will help you quickly grasp Technical Artist career opportunities. Those who don’t go to college can still become technical artists with just a high school diploma or GED.

The prerequisite is that they have enough passion and good thinking to hone their knowledge and meet the employer’s education requirements.

Essential Skills

Technical artists are technical and creative executives and a solid bridge between artists and developers. So they require visual skills and programming knowledge to understand both fields and solve cross-departmental problems.

Let’s take a closer look at the soft and hard skills needed in a technical artist.

Hard Skills

  • Master the skills in the VFX training system
  • The skill to smoothly run an extensive portfolio or demo roll
  • Understand the process and techniques of creating animation
  • Familiar with game systems and master game development
  • Precisely identify the best tools and software to maximize game delivery and enhance game performance
  • Rendering skills and post-effects
  • Shader development and physics simulation skills
  • Digital art content creation skills such as high modeling, unwrapping, low-poly, baking, level art, and textures
  • Solid in advanced coding language

Soft Skills

  • Good creativity
  • Sharp and specific thinking
  • Ideation and script-writing skills
  • Don’t give in to technical challenges
  • Effective leadership and teamwork skills
  • Great attention and meticulous attention to detail
  • Excellent written and verbal communication skills
  • Understand image scaling, color, and layout allocation

Essential Tools

Key tools to consider for the technical artist

As a professional technical artist, you must understand the fundamentals of CGI software, animation features, modeling, and special effects.

You must have a solid knowledge of platforms like C++ and Javascript. They are vital integration components to handle game content at the highest quality.

Yet, more than just grasping theoretical knowledge is required. I recommend mastering the essential tools to ensure a smooth and successful game production process. Some essential tools are useful for technical artists below.

  • C, C++, Java
  • Python
  • Unreal Engine
  • Perl
  • Maya
  • 3D Studio Max
  • MaxScript
  • Adobe After Effects, Photoshop
  • Houdini
  • Substance Painter

Job Outlook

Becoming a technical artist is difficult, as it requires significant skill sets and experience. So, why do so many young people want to pursue this difficult and complicated profession?

The truth is that this profession is in high demand with handsome salaries.

Many studies have shown that technical artist recruitment demand will grow by 4%, with more than 3,000 job openings across the US between 2018 and 2028.

Vacancies at studios and entertainment companies are all for technical artists. The main job for a technical artist is a mid-level position. To take on this role, you typically start as a texture artist, character designer, or animator.

As such, the most helpful advice I can give you is to have a robust skill set and experience in coding or programming. That will open you up to endless career opportunities in this field.


As a technical artist, you will receive from $45,000 to $106,000 per year, depending on the business and the experience you have accumulated.

When starting a career in this field, I recommend looking at ideal states like Nevada, Connecticut, Rhode Island, and New Hampshire first.

Here, you will be able to work with experienced professionals and friendly and dynamic team members. In particular, the median salary in these states is very high, at $143,672, $131,683, $130,607, and $130,353, respectively.

Advantages and Disadvantages

In this section, I have researched and summarized some pros and cons of the technical artists. Examining these factors helps you make a better direction.


  • Attractive income
  • Great career opportunities
  • High demand for recruitment


  • Work pressure
  • Complicated work
  • Requires high knowledge


Is it hard to be a technical artist?

It is not difficult to become a technical artist as the barrier to entry into this profession is relatively low. Yet, you still need to meet some requirements, such as the education and skills I described above.

In addition, practice is a valuable key to becoming a great and successful artist. Focus on building and developing projects to add to your portfolio to give you an edge in applying for jobs.

Is a technical artist a programmer?

The answer is Yes. As mentioned, technical artists are the engineering, creativity, and connection between art and programmers.

To succeed in this field, you need visual skills and programming knowledge. Moreover, you will quickly solve any problems that arise between departments.

Why do you want to be a technical artist?

Technical artists use coding skills and combine them with art to develop complex game systems that are highly engaging. A technical artist is a perfect choice if you are also interested in a creative career in video game development.

How long does it take to become a technical artist?

To become a true technical artist, you must have at least 5 years of experience in related fields such as games, animation, or computer programming. On the other hand, you can start as an animator or effects artist to hone your skills.

What GPA do you need to be an artist?

You don’t need to aim for a perfect score if you have an excellent portfolio and an ideal spot to compensate for other shortcomings. Even so, achieving at least a 3.5 GPA to increase your competitive edge over other applicants.

What is the highest-paid job in art?

Getting a high salary is something that any technical artist is interested in. You can consider the highest-paid job in art as follows:

  • Producer & Director
  • Art Director
  • Landscape Architect
  • Art Curator
  • Graphic Designer
  • Drafter
  • Video Editor
  • Interior Designer

Is an Art Degree worth it?

The answer is yes. Art is an excellent opportunity for technical artists to develop, hone their skills, and build fulfilling careers. The truth is that most training programs allow students to learn with tools and software related to the field.

Do technical jobs pay more?

Sure, technical jobs are getting the hottest offers in the world. Yet, only some related positions pay as well as a technical artist.

Why is tech salary so high?

Strong development in digitization has boosted the demand for technology talent. Many employers are willing to pay large sums for tech worker positions.

From the research results, the average annual income for tech jobs in the US reached $104,566, an increase of 6.9% since 2020.

Is the tech field stressful?

Tech is an excellent job with advancement opportunities and high salaries. Yet, it also comes with certain disadvantages, including stress and time constraints.

It takes you more than four years to study and get the required degree. Also, to keep up with the ever-changing technology, this job requires you to code fast and develop creative ideas constantly.

Career Advice

Due to the experience, knowledge, and skill set required, only a few people enter this video game industry as technical artists. If you are a newbie, start from the art or programming side because that is the more common and simple path.

With so much to learn, pursuing this career can be considerably daunting. To overcome those difficulties and challenges, you must have enough passion and determination to stick to your chosen path.

You can start with your hobby or collaborate with other technical artists to brainstorm ideas and grow your portfolio.

Degree and experience will make you a great technical artist. Besides, proficiency in languages like Python, C++, Unreal Blueprint Scripting, and other helpful tools will make you more successful in this role.

Did this article meet your requirements? Do you have any questions regarding the content of the article? Don’t forget to leave a comment below so I can assist you as soon as possible! Thank you and see you in our next update!