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How to Become a Unity Certified 3D Artist

Author:

Eastward is a Unity Certified 3D Artist, Unity Certified Instructor, and representative member of the Unity Academic Alliance.

What is Unity?

Unity is primarily a game engine used for development of 2D, 3D, virtual reality, augmented reality, and other types of games and applications. The engine is produced by Unity Technologies and one can get started with the free version available here at the Unity website. On the website, there is a wealth of information about certifications, additional learning materials (which we'll come back to), the Unity blog, forums, and more.

Unity uses C# programming language and offers tutorials, courses, and projects to help you get started. There are also some projects to build games visually, with no programming necessary. If you are interested in getting up to speed and need a little help in addition to what Unity offers, a guide like Learning C# by Developing Games with Unity 2019 will do the trick.

The scope of Unity is widening rapidly, and they are developing a wide array of industry partnerships and projects.


What is Unity 3D Artist Certification?

Unity offers two mid-level industry certifications, the Unity 3D Artist Certification and the Unity Certified Programmer certification. You'll of course want to choose the certification that best aligns with your skills, experience, career, and long-term goals. The certifications can help demonstrate your knowledge of Unity to hiring managers, studios and agencies, and peers in the field (along with giving you a personal and professional sense of satisfaction). In short, certifications are industry standards developed by Unity and Unity experts. The 3D Artist certification is for those seeking mid-level technical artist positions (generalist, rigger, animator, etc.).

You won't need to be a full-fledged C# programmer or computer scientist for the Unity 3D Artist Certification, though you should know the basics and how code applies to the Unity editor. You will need to know a great deal about Unity rendering, lighting, 3D objects, 2D sprites and images, UI, animation, performance optimization, Cinemachine cameras, post-processing effects, particle effects, collaborative tools, and more.

Unity also offers expert certifications for programmers and artists seeking senior industry roles.


How can I prepare to take the certification exam?

The certification exam is designed to be rigorous and one will likely need to spend a good deal of time studying and preparing for the exam. In my experience, the exam is more difficult than simply evaluating whether an answer is right or wrong. You will be presented with multiple possibilities and you must be able to accurately determine which of the possibilities is best for a given device and/or given set of criteria. For some examples of the types of questions that may appear on the test, check out the article, My thoughts on Unity Certified 3D Artist exam by Kamran Bigdely here.

On Unity's website, you can view the exam objectives, purchase the preparation courseware and exam with retake (or a bundle including courseware + exam + retake), and register for the Pearson-administered exam.

I'd recommend that you postpone scheduling the exam until you've completed the courseware along with additional study. The courseware available on the Unity website (Kannu learning platform) appears to be the same content offered through the Coursera Unity Certified 3D Artist Specialization. So, feel free to choose which you think you are most comfortable with.

The courseware covers the following topics:

  • Asset Creation and Management
  • Lighting, Reflection, and Post-Processing Effects
  • Integrating Scripts for Scene Interactions
  • Character Setup and Animations
  • Creating Cut-scenes in Unity

Not everything you will need to know for the exam will be covered in the course, but it will give you a great start. You will want to review as much of the Unity Learn material available on the website related to the topics mentioned in this article as possible. There is a lot of information available for free with Unity Learn and even more available on Unity Learn Premium (at the time of writing this article, you can sign up for a 30 day free trial, but be careful to turn off the auto-renew feature if you only want the one month of access). With the courseware and available Unity Learn material completed, you will be closer to ready for the certification exam.

In addition, I suggest you view the Unity manual documentation and try to memorize as much as you can (again on the topics mentioned in this article). This can be a bit tedious, but will likely pay off at exam time.

I'm ready to take the exam!

So, you've completed your courseware, studied all you could on Unity Learn, and reviewed and re-reviewed the Unity manual/documentation and you're ready to schedule the exam. Then, you'll visit the Pearson | Vue website for Unity test takers here and choose a time that works well for you. Depending on your location, you may be eligible to do the exam online. Otherwise, you can take the exam at a Pearson test center near you.

If you do the exam online, you'll want to test the software out in advance. You'll need your ID, and a work-space without interruptions or anything but your computer within arms reach. The software prompts and proctor will have you submit pictures of your ID (front and back) and surroundings (front, back, left, and right). The proctor also asked me to turn around 360 degrees with my web cam to show them my work area.

The exam is 120 minutes long and consists of 60 questions. The maximum score is 700 and you need at least a score of 503 to pass. If you fail the test, you can retake it again in 15 days. If you fail the second attempt, you must wait 90 days before taking it again.

During the test, you aren't allowed to move away from the camera (make sure you click the "exit" button even after getting the completion screen before moving). You can't have any notes, paper, etc. You can mark items for review during the text via a tick-box and come back to them before your final submission.

After you submit, you'll immediately receive feedback on whether you passed or failed, your score, and how you performed in various areas of competency.


After the exam

If you failed the exam, it's time to hit the books again (best of luck next time). If you passed, congratulations! You are now a Unity Certified 3D Artist and will receive two emails from Unity. One email will be from the Unity Certification Program and contain the link to your PDF certificate. The other will be from Unity via Acclaim and will contain your digital badge (for display in email signatures, on social media, on websites, etc.).

Your certification will be valid for two years, after which you will need to take the exam again.

Unity Certified 3D Artist Exam Poll

Conclusion

Becoming a Unity Certified 3D artist is a challenging, but rewarding experience that requires dedication and skill. Completing and maintaining your certification will help you be prepared to start a new career or move up the game/app development ranks. Have questions or comments? I'd love to hear from you below. Looking to enlist the services of a Unity Certified 3D Artist or a Unity Certified Instructor? I'd love to hear from you in that regard as well. Thanks for reading and keep making cool things!

This content is accurate and true to the best of the author’s knowledge and is not meant to substitute for formal and individualized advice from a qualified professional.

© 2020 Eastward

Comments

Eastward (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on February 03, 2020:

Thanks, for reading and commenting, Doris. This article admittedly has a pretty narrow scope. I appreciate you checking it out even if "half the time I didn't know what you were talking about". Haha. It's great that kids are being encouraged to code (I don't recall doing any coding until after high school).

Eastward (author) from Bangkok, Thailand on February 03, 2020:

Thanks, Liz. I'm hoping it can help some aspiring Unity 3D Artists. I couldn't find much online when I started the process!

Doris James MizBejabbers from Beautiful South on February 03, 2020:

No comments, yet, huh. I'm not surprised. I had a few computer courses back in the Dark Ages of mainframes before PCs, so most of my knowledge has gone away. I took coding for awhile, but then along came Basic and that need went away, too. Now all of a sudden kids are being urged to learn coding. Anyway, I found your article interesting even if half the time I didn't know what you were talking about.

Liz Westwood from UK on February 03, 2020:

This is a helpful resource for anyone considering a career in this area.

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