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Top 10 Character Artist Certifications

This article outlines the top certifications for character artists, and provides advice on how to become certified.

Photo of Brenna Goyette
Brenna Goyette
Certified Professional Resume Writer, Career Expert

Published 16 min read

Certifications are important for a character artist in the job market because they demonstrate a certain level of knowledge and skill in the field. Employers typically look for qualified candidates who have some sort of certification or education that proves they have the necessary skills to complete their tasks. Certifications can also help an artist stand out from other applicants, as many employers prefer to hire those with certifications over those without them. Additionally, certifications can open up new opportunities and lead to higher pay due to increased credentials.

This article reviews some of the top certifications for Character Artists and explains how they can help advance a character artist's career.

What are Character Artist Certifications?

Character artist certification is a professional credential that certifies an individual's expertise in creating and designing characters for various media, such as video games, films, television shows, and animation. Character artists are responsible for designing characters from concept to completion, including their physical appearance, personality traits, and behavior. They also often provide the artwork used in marketing materials for these projects.

Character artist certification can be beneficial to those looking to break into the industry or further their career by demonstrating their knowledge and skills. Having a certification may give character artists an edge when applying for jobs or negotiating contracts. Additionally, having a certification may give potential employers more confidence in an individual’s ability to produce quality work. It can also help increase recognition within the industry and provide a sense of accomplishment after completing the program requirements.

Pro Tip: It's important to research the different types of character artist certifications available, as some may be more suitable for your particular industry or skill level. Additionally, make sure to take advantage of any available resources (such as online tutorials, forums, and webinars) to ensure you have a comprehensive understanding of the certification requirements before taking the exam.

Related: What does a Character Artist do?

Top 10 Character Artist Certifications

Here’s our list of the best certifications available to Character Artists today.

1. Certified Character Artist (CCA)

Certified Character Artist (CCA) is a certification program designed to recognize the highest level of skill and knowledge in creating digital characters. The CCA certification is administered by the Academy of Interactive Arts & Sciences (AIAS).

The CCA certification requires applicants to demonstrate their mastery of character creation, from concept art to modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, and more. Applicants must also submit a portfolio of work that showcases their skills and experience in creating digital characters.

To become a Certified Character Artist, applicants must pass an online exam that covers topics such as anatomy, design principles, 3D modeling techniques, rigging, animation principles, and more. The exam takes approximately four hours to complete.

The cost for the CCA certification exam is $150 USD. Once an applicant passes the exam and has their portfolio approved by AIAS reviewers, they will be awarded the Certified Character Artist credential.

2. Certified Digital Character Artist (CDCA)

Certified Digital Character Artist (CDCA) is a certification program designed to recognize and validate the skills of professional digital character artists. It is offered by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

The certification consists of two parts: an online exam and a portfolio review. The online exam tests a candidate’s knowledge of digital character art, including topics such as anatomy, design principles, 3D modeling, texturing, rigging, animation, and game engine integration. The portfolio review evaluates the quality and range of the candidate’s work in digital character art.

It typically takes around six months to complete the CDCA certification process. Candidates must first register for the program with IGDA and pay a fee before taking the online exam. After passing the exam, they must submit their portfolio for review. Once all requirements are met, candidates will receive their CDCA certificate from IGDA.

The cost of obtaining the CDCA certification varies depending on whether you are an IGDA member or not. For non-members, it costs $400 USD to take the exam and $200 USD for each portfolio review submission. For IGDA members, it costs $250 USD to take the exam and $100 USD for each portfolio review submission.

3. Certified Animation and Visual Effects Artist (CAVEA)

Certified Animation and Visual Effects Artist (CAVEA) is a certification program designed to recognize professionals in the animation and visual effects industry who have demonstrated excellence in their field. The certification is offered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences, the same organization that presents the Oscars.

The CAVEA certification process takes approximately three to four months to complete. The first step is to submit an application that includes a portfolio of work, a resume, and letters of recommendation from employers or peers. Once accepted into the program, applicants must pass an online exam that covers topics such as animation techniques, digital compositing, motion graphics, 3D modeling, lighting/rendering, and visual effects production.

The cost of obtaining the CAVEA certification varies depending on whether you are taking the online or in-person exam. For those taking the online exam, there is a $250 fee for registration and $100 for each additional retake if needed. For those taking the in-person exam at one of the designated testing centers around the world, there is a $500 fee for registration and $200 for each additional retake if needed.

Once applicants have successfully completed all requirements of the program they will receive their official CAVEA certificate from AMPAS along with recognition as an officially certified Animation and Visual Effects Artist.

4. Certified 3D Character Artist (C3CA)

Certified 3D Character Artist (C3CA) is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who have demonstrated mastery of the skills needed to create 3D characters for video games, movies, and other interactive media. The certification is offered by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA).

To become certified as a C3CA, you must complete an online course that covers topics such as character design, modeling, rigging, animation, texturing, and lighting. The course takes approximately 30 hours to complete and includes hands-on exercises with professional software tools like Autodesk Maya. Upon completion of the course, you will receive a certificate of completion and be eligible to take the C3CA exam.

The C3CA exam consists of multiple-choice questions that assess your knowledge of 3D character creation. It takes about two hours to complete the exam and costs $99 USD. If you pass the exam with a score of 80% or higher, you will receive your official C3CA certification.

The C3CA certification is valid for three years from the date it was issued and can be renewed by taking an online refresher course or retaking the exam.

5. Certified Character Design Professional (CCDP)

Certified Character Design Professional (CCDP) is a certification offered by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). It is designed to recognize and validate the skills of experienced character designers in the video game industry. The certification requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, experience, and proficiency in character design through a rigorous examination process.

The CCDP exam consists of two parts: a written test and a portfolio review. The written test covers topics such as anatomy, concept art, game design principles, storytelling, and visual communication. The portfolio review assesses an applicant’s ability to create characters that are visually appealing and appropriate for various types of games.

The CCDP certification typically takes between six months to one year to complete. Applicants must first submit an application form along with their resume and portfolio samples. Once approved, they can then register for the exam at an IGDA-approved testing center. After passing both parts of the exam, applicants will receive their official CCDP certificate from the IGDA.

The cost of obtaining the CCDP certification varies depending on where you take the exam and any additional fees associated with it. Generally speaking, however, it costs around $500-$1000 USD to become certified as a Character Design Professional.

6. Certified Modeling and Texturing Artist (CMTA)

Certified Modeling and Texturing Artist (CMTA) is a certification program offered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences. The program is designed to recognize the expertise and professional skills of those in the field of 3D modeling and texturing.

The certification process requires applicants to demonstrate their knowledge, skill, and experience in 3D modeling, texturing, lighting, shading, rendering, compositing, animation, and visual effects. Applicants must also pass a written exam covering topics such as anatomy & physiology; color theory; digital imaging; software applications; special effects; scripting languages; game engines; motion graphics; virtual reality & augmented reality; and more.

It typically takes between 6-12 months to complete the certification process. During this time applicants must complete coursework online or through accredited institutions. They will also need to submit a portfolio of work demonstrating their skill level in the areas mentioned above.

The cost for the CMTA certification varies depending on how you choose to pursue it. If you take courses through an accredited institution, there may be tuition fees associated with that. Additionally, there is an application fee for taking the exam which currently stands at $150 USD for members of AMPAS or $250 USD for non-members.

7. Certified Rigging and Animation Professional (CRAP)

Certified Rigging and Animation Professional (CRAP) is an industry-recognized certification that demonstrates a professional’s expertise in rigging and animation. It is designed to recognize individuals who have achieved a high level of proficiency in rigging and animation techniques, as well as their ability to apply these techniques to real-world projects.

The CRAP certification program is administered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS). The program consists of two parts: a written exam that covers topics such as rigging theory, character setup, deformers, constraints, dynamics, scripting, and more; and a practical exam that tests the candidate's ability to create rigs for characters or objects using industry standard software such as Maya or 3ds Max.

It typically takes around six months to complete the CRAP certification process. Candidates must first register with AMPAS and then submit an application form along with payment of the applicable fee. Once approved for the program, candidates will be given access to study materials and resources needed to prepare for the written exam. After passing the written exam, candidates will then be eligible to take the practical exam. Upon successful completion of both exams, candidates will receive their CRAP certification from AMPAS.

The cost of obtaining CRAP certification varies depending on where you live but typically ranges from $500-$1000 USD.

8. Certified Facial Animation Specialist (CFAS)

Certified Facial Animation Specialist (CFAS) is a certification program designed to recognize professionals who have achieved expertise in facial animation. CFAS certification is offered by the Facial Animation Certification Board (FACB), an independent organization that evaluates and certifies facial animators.

To become a Certified Facial Animation Specialist, one must pass a series of tests and evaluations that assess their knowledge and skills related to facial animation. The tests are divided into two categories: technical and creative. The technical tests cover topics such as rigging, skinning, shape deformation, facial anatomy, motion capture data processing, lip-sync techniques, and more. The creative tests focus on topics such as character design, acting for animation, storyboarding, directing for animation, and more.

The CFAS certification process takes approximately four months to complete. During this time period, applicants are expected to study the material covered in the tests and prepare for the exams. Applicants must also submit a portfolio of their work for review by FACB evaluators.

The cost of obtaining CFAS certification varies depending on the country where you are located; however it typically ranges between $500-$1,000 USD.

9. Certified Motion Capture Technician (CMCT)

Certified Motion Capture Technician (CMCT) is a certification program designed to provide motion capture professionals with the skills, knowledge, and experience necessary to work in the motion capture industry. This certification is administered by the Academy of Motion Picture Arts and Sciences (AMPAS).

To become a Certified Motion Capture Technician, individuals must complete an online application and pass a written examination. The exam covers topics such as motion capture technology, equipment setup and operation, data processing, animation principles, and post-production workflow. Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants are awarded a CMCT certificate.

The cost of becoming a Certified Motion Capture Technician varies depending on the provider offering the certification program. Generally speaking, it costs between $500-$1000 USD to participate in the program. The duration of the program depends on how quickly you can complete your coursework and pass your exams. Typically it takes around 4-6 months to complete all requirements for certification.

10. Certified Creature Designer and Animator (CCDA)

Certified Creature Designer and Animator (CCDA) is a certification program designed to recognize individuals who have demonstrated proficiency in the design, animation, and rigging of creatures for film, television, video games, and other digital media. The CCDA certification is offered by the Animation Career Review (ACR), an online resource for aspiring animators.

To become certified as a CCDA, applicants must pass an online exam that tests their knowledge of creature design principles, animation techniques, rigging practices, and other related topics. The exam consists of multiple-choice questions and requires a minimum score of 80% to pass.

The exam typically takes about two hours to complete. Applicants must pay a fee of $99 USD to take the exam. Upon successful completion of the exam, applicants are awarded their CCDA certification which is valid for three years from the date of issue.

Do You Really Need a Character Artist Certificate?

The answer to this question depends on the individual and their goals. A character artist certificate can be beneficial for those seeking to work in the video game or animation industry, as it may provide access to more job opportunities and open doors to higher salaries. However, a character artist certificate is not necessarily required for all positions within the industry, and some employers may prefer experience over formal qualifications.

For those who are looking to enter the industry or advance their careers, having a character artist certificate could be beneficial. The certificate provides recognition of one's skills and knowledge in creating characters for video games or animations. It also serves as proof that one has studied the necessary techniques and processes needed to create these characters successfully. Additionally, many employers look favorably upon those who have earned certificates in specific areas of expertise, as they feel it shows an increased level of commitment and dedication to their field.

On the other hand, if one already has experience working in the video game or animation industry, then a character artist certificate may not be necessary. Employers are often more interested in seeing what kind of portfolio potential candidates have built up rather than any formal qualifications they have obtained. Having a good portfolio is essential for getting hired in these industries, so make sure you build up your portfolio before considering obtaining a character artist certification.

Ultimately, whether or not you need a character artist certificate depends on your individual circumstances and goals. If you're just starting out in this field or if you're looking to advance your career then having a certification could be beneficial; however, if you already have experience working in this area then a certification may not be necessary.

Related: Character Artist Resume Examples

FAQs About Character Artist Certifications

1. What is a Character Artist Certification?

A Character Artist Certification is an official certification that recognizes the skills and knowledge of a professional character artist. It shows employers that you have the necessary skills to create high-quality 3D characters for video games, animation, or other media.

2. How do I get certified as a Character Artist?

In order to become certified as a character artist, you must pass an examination administered by the International Game Developers Association (IGDA). You can find more information about the exam and how to register at their website.

3. What topics will be covered in the Character Artist Certification exam?

The exam covers topics such as anatomy, modeling techniques, texturing principles, rigging processes, animation fundamentals and game production pipelines. You can find more detailed information about each topic on the IGDA website.

4. How long does it take to get certified as a Character Artist?

It typically takes between six months to one year to complete the certification process depending on your experience level and dedication to studying for the exam.

5. Is there any benefit in becoming certified as a Character Artist?

Yes! Employers often look for individuals with certifications when hiring new talent since it demonstrates your commitment and proficiency in character artistry. Additionally, having an official certification gives you an edge over other artists who may not have one - making it easier to stand out from the crowd!