Triumphs, deadline-tragedies and millions of polys later, see what advice professional game artists have for students looking to start their career and for professionals looking to make it a long-lasting and successful career. Gabe Selinger, 3D Artist at Liquid Development (Batman: Arkham Origins, Firefall – Creating a Game-Ready Monster Insect […]
Triumphs, deadline-tragedies and millions of polys later, see what advice professional game artists have for students looking to start their career and for professionals looking to make it a long-lasting and successful career.
Gabe Selinger, 3D Artist at Liquid Development
(Batman: Arkham Origins, Firefall – Creating a Game-Ready Monster Insect in ZBrush and 3ds Max)
+ Play Nicely – It Goes Far
It really is more about who you know than what you know. The experiences you share, contacts you make, and relationships you develop with classmates and colleagues can go a very long way in ensuring future work. The lasting impression you leave and reputation you build that leads to recommendation will always outweigh any resume or portfolio. If you are reliable, dependable, dedicated, and hard-working others really will take notice and continue to recommend you for positions in the future.
+ The Week-One Crash Course is Worth It
You will learn more in the first week of your first professional gig than the entirety of your education leading up to it. There is no substitute for real experience and learning by fire. Being dropped into an environment where you are responsible for producing quality work on a deadline is not only stressful, but the best way to learn. If you stick with it in this environment, you will learn more than you ever knew quicker than you thought possible.
+ Be Great at What You Love to Do
Try not to be good at anything you don’t enjoy doing. Being a game artist requires a lot of passion for the medium and drive to hit deadlines. There’s a good chance you will have to work overtime hours in crunch periods and have many sleepless nights. The worst thing you can do is to specialize in an area in or process that you really don’t enjoy. If you are better than everybody else at something, you are inevitably going to be stuck doing it. If the passion and drive isn’t there, either you will suffer or the quality of your work will.
Antony Ward, Freelance Graphic Artist, Animator and Digital Tutor.
(Over 20 years of experience creating games, including: Sonic & Sega All-Stars Racing Transformed, Strangers Wrath HD, Superman Shadow of Apokolips. Courses including: Creating a Transformable Flying Car in Maya and Silo, Real-Time Vehicle Creation in Maya and Silo, Creating a Low Poly Game Character in Maya and Silo, Aircraft Modeling and Texturing Techniques in Maya and Silo)
+ Keep Sketching
One thing I regret when I began in this industry is I threw away my pencil in favor of a mouse. I focused so much on my digital art that my traditional skills became neglected, and almost died away. Now, I’m not suggesting you use your lunch hour as strict doodle time, but a little every now and again will help you to retain those precious skills.
+ Make The Most Out of Your Opportunities
Soak up as much as you can. It sounds harsh but these days game companies aren’t always stable. If you land that coveted role learn as much as you can while you are there. It will only serve to make you a more valuable employee, and more employable if you have to move on.
+ Make Yourself Even More Valuable
Explore other areas. You may have been taken on as a character artist but make yourself more valuable by adopting other skills in your spare time. A character artist who can also animate and build rigs for example, is much more appealing to current and future employers.
Clinton Crumpler, Environment artist at KIXEYE Game Studio
(Heavy Gear: Assault and America’s Army: Proving Grounds; Creating Game-Ready Chains, Ropes, and Vines in Maya and UDK, Real-Time Environment Materials and Textures in UDK)
+ Know Your Worth
When starting out as an artist it can be tricky to put a price tag on your work. Do research on not only the work you are doing but also the place you will be living for the job and investigate into cost of living. Depending on the type of work or the city the job is in prices can fluctuate quite drastically.
+ Always Keep Up with Your Portfolio
It’s a great feeling when you land that first freelance gig or start your first job, but don’t let the comfort get you into a habit of forgetting your portfolio. Always keep up with it. Every few months take a look at what your online presence looks like and evaluate yourself. Does this show my audience and any future potential employers my ability? Have I gotten better than the work I currently have up? If so then start a project at home to show your current prowess.
Roel Coucke, Freelancer
(Killzone 3 & Killzone Shadow Fall, Creating a Game-Ready Sci-Fi Environment in Maya)
+ Being Social Matters
Being social is at least as important as your skills. With any work, the more you can connect with others, the better everyone can be and the more opportunities you will see.
+ Find Your Style
Find your own art style that defines you. Sometimes you may find something or someone you try to imitate or follow, but do what feels like you and keep working to find THAT.
Get ready to make a lasting impact when you start!