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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:

Mike Myers
Follow Your Work since probably Blade. Love Your Tutorials and Podcasts. Thanks again
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!!
AB186
great video! thanks
Sukhmeet Dhingra
Hello, I was trying to work towards specializing, but for my personal goals, Character Fx (cloth and hair), there doesn't seem to be many tutorials to delve into it, and I don't know whether there is a low demand, or not enough supply for getting into Character FX and don't know whether specializing in it was still worth it.
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! :-)
Mr Kuraf
please translate turkish and english translation
Parth Prajapati
Awesome sir clear the mind and changing my perspective Good thinking
Renat Mansurov
Thank you!
nelpiper
I think I know this guy. Sounds familiar. Just kidding! :) Great video as always. Thanks Allan.
Mike Myers
Thanks