Specialist or Generalist in Your Career as Digital Artist?

One of the most common questions I get asked — and this week alone I’ve received a lot of email about this is exact question:

“Should I be a specialist, or should I be a generalist?”

This question applies to you — whether you’re a designer, an FX TD, animator, you work in video games, or you create portraits of celebrities to sell on Etsy. Whatever you do, as a creative artist, we always wonder if by specializing or “nitching down”, we’re eliminating the opportunity for other work and jobs.

I think the misconception is that by specializing, you’re really saying no to everything, except for a very specific job, and that it’s going to be a massive massive risk.

I wanted to cover this question and reveal a lot of insights to not only put this topic to rest, but also how you can apply these mindsets to what you’re doing, to position yourself as the obvious expert.

Youtube comments:

Amazing video although that's now how things are going for me... I started out years ago wanting to become a 3D vehicle artist for games and I still want to and will always want to and I've worked on a lot more things excluding that , including modeling things other that cars, in different styles,editing, a bit of music and sound mixing, drawing and animation, yet I think I'll from start to finish be a vehicle artist ,won't say I ever was a generalist even if know my way around other things enough. I hope I find a job soon it's not that saturated
Samuel Watterson
great thanks
jas karan
Sir are u busy u don't reply me
Nicola Borsari
Hey Allan, great video as usual. Just a question, what would you say about comp? It's a bit more difficult to "specialize" on that
Ignacio Lopez Larsen
really great video, from begin to end
Compu Tron
Being pigeon-holed is a great thing when your skills are in demand, but not so great when you have 40,000 other competitors that drive down the market rate. I knew plenty of people who really wanted to be concept artists at high profile companies. That's a specification where the competition is insane and the demand is extremely low. Full red ocean.
prasenjeet Anand
Can I say (3d Generalist/Animator) ? Awesome video thanks sir..
Jean-Claude Conradie
Absolutely Brilliant Allan. There's so many key points, I'm going to be re watching a few times. Thanks so much!!
great video! thanks
Isis Sousa
Hi Allan! first of all, thanks a lot for taking the time and creating these podcasts/videos. They have been very helpful to me and certainly many others who would like to make it on the CG industry! Good points of the much talked subject of generalist vs specialist. I wish I had listened to this many years ago :-D I have a weird career path where I have been a specialist in print advertisement design, specialist in characters/portraits for book covers and now started to expand my skills and started learning painting environments and I feel as thought I am becoming more of a generalist at the moment, to discover new techniques and where I can excel - sort of self-discovery path! I can relate to all the ups and downs you stated. Much success to you and thanks again! :-)
please translate turkish and english translation
Parth Prajapati
Awesome sir clear the mind and changing my perspective Good thinking
Renat Mansurov
Thank you!
I think I know this guy. Sounds familiar. Just kidding! :) Great video as always. Thanks Allan.