Fady K.Z. Gayed, aka Fady Kadry, is a Generalist who has been in the industry for over 5 years in studios specializing in commercials,VFX and animation. Fady currently resides in New Zealand and works at Weta Digital in the Fur Grooming/Modeling department. He has shared with us a few pointers about what it means to be a successful generalist.

1. What is a Generalist?

If you've ever seen somewhere that there is an opening in a studio and the title is "Generalist," then let me explain what the company would be looking for in you. 
  • A Generalist is an artist that is able to work in multiple disciplines with equal proficiency
  • A self-driven artist that is eager for new tasks
  • A proof of abilities that will differentiate you from other artists applying for the same position, such as a strong demo reel that showcases your abilities in Modeling, Texturing, Look Dev, etc
These will give the company the chance to use your talent in multiple skills, and believe me it will be worth it. You will be responsible for a variety of tasks and sometimes in unrelated disciplines, like Modeling and Rigging, Lighting and Compositing, or LookDev and FX, for instance.

In some cases, you will find yourself doing Modeling, Texturing and LookDev along with some other surfacing work, like Grooming.

2. How to be a Generalist

To become a Generalist, you must have the appetite and passion for learning new things. This is a feeling overwhelms you when you see a fantastic FX demo reel while you are currently a modeler or lookdev artist, and yet you still seek to know how it was done by digging through resources and looking for knowledge. That is the first step.

The second step is to actually convert all of the passion you have into study time. In our industry, studying is the key. 

Another key factor is to not be afraid to ask for tasks outside of your disciplinary area. Being under pressure will drive you to learn faster because you will need to finish the task sooner or later ;)

For me, I started to realize how much I like being a generalist early on in my career when I had the chance of working in one of the biggest post production houses in Egypt. I had to work in multiple departments doing tasks that sometimes overlapped, and I gradually started to stray from my starting position as a Modeler. 

3. Finally, the benefit of being a Generalist

Being a generalist will pay off faster than you think. You'll find yourself to be a semi or completely self-sufficient artist that can produce fantastic pieces of art either by yourself or with minimal help. You'll also find yourself being interviewed by more companies, as your talent will now be sought either as a generalist, or for a single discipline. 

There are no caveats of being a generalist. In fact, it is nothing but a successful way to progress your career.

I wish you all good luck, and I hope I was a bit of help.

Cheers, everyone.