Visual Development Artist Career Overview & Outlook

Entertainment and visual effects are two areas with strong growth. If you are artistically gifted, sensitive to animation, and desire to work in the entertainment industry, a visual development artist is your potential job.

This field offers stable salaries and attractive career prospects. Yet, to work as a visual developer, you need a solid understanding of the industry’s fundamentals.

With many years of experience as a professional visual artist, I will help you navigate your career in the article below. The helpful information I provide can also assist you in considering your suitability for this profession.

Job Description

To become a visual development artist, you will need basic information to understand better what you must do. I will help you to generalize this career overview through the following aspects:

What Is A Visual Development Artist?

Visual development is a term in many different fields. You can see this concept in illustration projects, TV shows, cartoons, video games, or otherwise. It is the field that lays the groundwork for the visual arts.

Motion pictures and videos are the most intuitive and emotional means that a movie or video game can give viewers what they need to convey.

The visual development artist is responsible for setting up the environment for the animation. Everything you see on your screen is related to these experts. You can easily see their initials, like visual development artists in some places.

They will create the context space for the virtual world, mainly movies or video games. These professionals may also be involved in advertising projects and application development.

The buildings, trees, or other plot details you see in the game are exactly what the visual artists did.

Their work will determine the movie’s color tone to express the characters’ emotions clearly. The orderly, logical, and implicit arrangement of things is also the responsibility of these artists.

Visual development

Thanks to the rich imagination, the visual development artist builds and draws the audience into the virtual world of the character. They also guide the emotions and moods of the most engaging viewers.

Artists develop visuals by working with the media. They can incorporate both 2D and 3D perspectives in their products.

Their ultimate goal is to make a visual impression. From there, they give viewers all the emotions and information about the plot and characters in image format.

Duties and Responsibilities

A visual development artist performs many different tasks. The responsibilities of the visual developers focus primarily on creating and maintaining the virtual world’s character look, setting, and atmosphere.

This work allows artists to be creative and make the most of their imaginations. For each different position, image development specialists have various tasks.

There are several tasks a visual development artist may need to perform.

  • Imagine and brainstorm ideas for graphic projects
  • Analyze the character’s emotions and storyline to come up with the best way to convey emotions to the viewers
  • Design the environment and objects in space
  • Adjust background colors and lighting
  • Character interface design
  • Contribute ideas for costumes and character expression
  • Manage the image movement when the character is active
  • Editing and perfecting images
  • Collaborate with actors, content staff, and director team to finalize the publication before the release

Where Do Visual Development Artists Work?

The working environment for a visual development artist can vary by specific positions. Most professionals work in studios, professionally setting up models and backgrounds for their characters and storylines. Some people will need field trips to gather the information or footage required for the job.

Image development specialists work at video game production companies or with animation and film producers. Graphic design, web construction, and advertising production companies can also recruit for this position.

Some electronics manufacturing businesses may also need visual development artists to design and evaluate image quality on their technology products.

Image development professionals will be exposed to different visual effects. They use advanced technologies to bring the best picture quality to the viewers.

They may have to work long hours in a row to complete the project instead of fixed office hours like other office jobs.

Education Requirements

Visual development artist is a field that requires highly specialized knowledge. Employers will place different requirements on their candidates for this job regarding qualifications and experience.

Education & Training

To work as a visual development artist, the first thing you need are qualifications that show your education level.

Graduation from image-related majors is a prerequisite to help you realize your dream in this job. You can pursue majors in graphic design, fine art, animation, character design, or multimedia.

Companies may require a master’s or doctoral degree in these disciplines for some highly specialized positions. These professionals will handle the technical work professionally and become the key to a successful project. These heavy responsibilities will require a deep and solid knowledge base.

Work Experience

It would help if you remembered that positions in the entertainment industry are often highly competitive. Hence, in addition to the fact that you need to prepare for a good education degree, practical experience is also a plus.

With a degree and real-world experience, you’ll be more likely to beat other candidates and land the job you want.

Many companies will require less than three years of experience for specialist positions. Jobs with more responsibility may require 3 to 5 years of employment.

You should participate in internships from the time you are a student to meet the recruitment requirements. The practice time will also give you the sound, practical knowledge you hardly learn from schools and teachers.


In addition to the two primary factors above, you can also enroll to receive certificates from reputable courses in the field. These certifications will be the advantage that your CV can impress employers.

Some valuable certifications that companies appreciate in you may be:

  • Graphic Design Elements for Non-Designers Specialization
  • Adobe Certified Associate (ACA)
  • UX Design Professional Certificate
  • UI/UX Design Specialization
  • Professional Certificate in Graphic Design
  • Graphic Design Certificate
  • Graphic and Digital Design certificate
  • Graphic Design Specialization

Essential Skills

You will need basic skills to do an excellent job as a visual development artist.

These are hard skills related to professional background and soft skills that improve work performance.

Hard Skills

The basic skills you need to start your career in image development are:

  • Digital painting ability
  • Illustration skills
  • Graphic design
  • Master the principles of color and light
  • Understand the direction of perspective
  • Capture the viewer’s psychology
  • Proficient in image editing tools

Soft Skills

Some soft functional skills for the job that you might consider are:

  • Communication skills
  • Creation
  • Rich imagination
  • The ability to grasp social trends

Essential Tools

What are the key tools for visual development artists?

As visual developers work, they will need the help of various tools. And the most effective ones are:

  • PicsArt
  • Designer
  • Mockplus
  • ProofHub
  • Fotor
  • Marvel
  • Freepik
  • Logaster
  • Filestage
  • DesignBold
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • Adobe Illustrator

Job Outlook

The recruitment demand for visual development artists is expected to grow by 4% to 8% in the 10 years from 2022 to 2032. It is an increase equal to and higher than the average growth in other professions.

In the future, tremendous growth in entertainment and advertising technologies will lead to more robust requirements for visual effects professionals.

So, people working in visual development will have more job opportunities. These artists will be able to pursue different fields, including:

  • Visual Development Team Leader
  • Animator
  • Color key designer
  • Art director
  • Lighting expert
  • Costume designer
  • Character designer
  • Environmental Design Specialist


There are no official salary figures for a visual development artist. Yet, according to the survey, top professionals in this field can get around $80,000 a year.

The industry’s income level will largely depend on your qualifications and work experience. The more expertise you have and the ability to work effectively, the more money you will receive from projects and employers.

Advantages and Disadvantages

You need to know about the pros and cons of becoming a visual development artist. I will help you summarize the key points in the section below.


  • Good growth prospects
  • Able to work in various fields
  • Free and professional working environment
  • Get exposure to specialized digital media
  • Get the chance to make the most of your artistic abilities and imagination


  • A degree is required
  • Requires specialized knowledge and skills
  • Had to work overtime to complete the project


What University Can I Attend To Become A Visual Development Artist?

Many universities and educational institutions worldwide provide training and degrees so that you can work as a visual development artist. Some prestigious universities include the California Institute of the Arts, Northern Michigan University, San Jose State University, and Savannah College of Art and Design.

After completing a certificate from these quality educational institutions, you can confidently apply for a job at any company that offers the relevant position.

What Are The States With The Highest Employment Rates For Visual Development Professionals?

The places where vis-dev artists can develop their careers with high prospects are Florida, California, Georgia, New York, and Texas.

You can choose from these states to start your professional career and develop the fastest career skills.

What distinguishes between a visual development artist and a concept artist?

Concept artists are people who build the first ideas that underlie visual representation.

The visual development artists will be the ones to perfect the images of these characters and backgrounds to bring the finished work to consumers.

What Are The Essential Tools For Visual Development Artists?

Many different tools support the work of the visual development artist. Among them, the essential tools today are Adobe Photoshop and Adobe Illustrator.

How Do I Become A Visual Development Artist?

To become a visual development artist, you need valid certifications and qualifications in the field. After that, you need to participate in projects to gain practical work experience and practice the skills required.

What Is The Work Done By A Visual Development Artist?

The product that the visual developers make is the detailed design of the setting, characters, and animation. They are a means of conveying content and emotions to viewers in stories.

What Can You Do With A Visual Development Degree?

You can work in related fields as you pursue becoming a visual development artist. Potential industries include advertising, animation, film production, and video games.

Is It Difficult To Become A Visual Development Artist?

Yes. Getting the degrees, certifications, and necessary job skills will take a lot of effort. Yet, with its growth potential and diversity of directions, here’s a job worth the trade-off.

How Long Does It Take To Become A Visual Development Artist?

Your university studies will take 4 to 5 years. After that, you will need more years of work to gain experience before becoming a visual development artist.

Can A Person With Color Blindness Become A Visual Development Artist?

Working as a visual development artist seems impossible for people with severe vision problems such as blindness or color blindness.

Several technical means now allow people with color blindness to perceive. However, they will need help pursuing this profession.

Career Advice

Visual development artists are known as an exciting yet challenging career.

You must equip yourself with solid foundational knowledge and skills to complete the tasks well. However, it is a potential career with a wide range of career goals. You will not regret your determination to work in this field.

This article will help you easily navigate your career in the future.

Thank you for reading my article!