The skillsets an industrial designer is trained to have (and pick up along the way) can often be transferred to other fields. Two of the more lucrative are Hollywood concept design and "pre-viz," or pre-visualization, whereby designers render out a movie's characters, environments and even action sequences, under the supervision of the director, to show the moneyholding producers what the movie would look like before they commit to deep-pocketed financing.
Ex-Hollywood designer Feng Zhu remembers that "his parents tried dissuading him from enrolling in the renowned Arts Center College of Design in Pasadena. However, he recalls that as a concept designer, he was earning more than the combined incomes of his parents - both doctors - by the age of 21."
After earning an ID degree from Art Center and embarking on a successful career with his own design firm in Santa Monica, producing work for the likes of Michael Bay, James Cameron and various videogame producers, Zhu moved to Singapore. What happened next is rather interesting:
When [Zhu] came to Singapore, his intention was to set up a game development company. But what he ended setting up, however, was the FZD School of Design, which aims to teach students how to conceptualise designs that will sell.
A dearth of talent needed to develop computer games led him to veer from his original business plan. Singapore had no shortage of capable and well-trained designers who could draw and operate design software, he says. But most of them lacked the 'fundamental skills' needed for conceptualising design.