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Game Art Survey

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If any of you in the biz could answer these questions, I would be very appreciative. 1. Tell me about being a… 2. What do you do in a typical day? 3. What duties do you like most? Least? 4. How did you get into this field? 5. How is this field changing? 6. How do most people prepare for this job? 7. What are the entry level positions? 8. What other jobs are related to this one? Are there any particular specialties in this field? 9. How do people in this position go about advancing their careers? 10. What education or training is necessary to be successful in this field? 11. What personality traits are needed to be successful in this field? 12. What salary range could a person in this field expect? 13. Which individuals/companies are prominent in this field? Regards, Bryan [Edited by - monkey3 on March 8, 2008 8:39:45 PM]

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This is, in fact, the perfect place to do it. I suggest cleaning up your post
(remove the bits about how sorry you are) and taking it to other forums as well. This has been done before, here on GDnet, with good results. Try changing the title to something like "Please fill in my survey for a class assignment". Also, hwy not ask a moderator to move it to "The Business of Game Development" forum here.

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BTW, if you are specifically looking for artists, check out game forums such as polycount or gameartisans.

1. Tell me about being a…Technical Artist
It is a fun job. I get to facilitate and write tools for the exceptionally talented people I work with. I also get to jump around to many different things, from shaders to rigging, which I love. I also get to do a good bit of R&D, which is always a great learning experience.

2. What do you do in a typical day?
Priority is always to fix something that is broken, tools or otherwise. Otherwise, I may spend most of the day (or two or three days) working on a certain 'thing,' whether that is skinning, rigging, shaders, tools, R&D, etc. A typical day doesn't exist for a technical artist.

3. What duties do you like most? Least?
I love building tools and getting requests from artists for tools. I don't enjoy skinning, but I do enjoy writing tools to make it easier.

4. How did you get into this field?
I slowly found out during the course of my Digital Arts degree, that I wanted to go into the more technical aspect of the game art. I was initially hired as a Character Artist, but made the move over to technical artist and technical animator.

5. How is this field changing?
We are still using 'next-gen,' and with good reason. Simply compare Call of Duty 2 with Call of Duty 4. Look at games like Force Unleashed. When the programmable pipeline hit, graphics took off at an exponential rate. I don't think that rate is slowing down, but I do think it isn't accelerating. Many people were left behind the curve, and the requirements of a game artist have grown with the change in graphics. Whereas the same techniques and mantras held true for most of 3D art, in the past 4 years or so, we are just now settling into good practices again... which is, practices must be constantly changing and the artist constantly adapting.

6. How do most people prepare for this job?
Get an art degree and work on your portfolio.

7. What are the entry level positions?
As a technical artist, there really are none. Most people migrate over to the role. As a game artist, usually you start as an environmental or prop modeler. It is hard to find a job as an entry level character artist, since there is much more competition between senior guys for it.

8. What other jobs are related to this one? Are there any particular specialties in this field?
Being in the middle between code and art, everything is related to technical artist! Specialties would be something like, technical artist and sometimes technical animator. The latter with a focus on rigging/game animation systems, though in smaller studios this is usually just part of the technical artist. Also, sometimes people develop their own softwares in this field for their companies, and their job is just to maintain and support and develop it.

9. How do people in this position go about advancing their careers?
Same as any position... work hard, get good recommendations and contacts, you will also need a good portfolio if you want to switch into a different aspect of art (such as from environmental to character art), or good released titles and the art you made on them for staying in your same track.

10. What education or training is necessary to be successful in this field?
BFA's or equivalent are increasingly necessary for getting hired. A good portfolio is paramount, though. As per my answer above, you need to constantly be training yourself to be successful. It is not enough to just go by experience and what you pick up during the day; if you want to be successful, you need to go the extra mile and train and research and educate on your own time.

11. What personality traits are needed to be successful in this field?
This varies per development house, but being open and fun, and communication skills are important of course.

12. What salary range could a person in this field expect?
There are surveys from gamecareerguide.com that can provide better answers (and I and most people that I've seen discuss them find them pretty accurate).

13. Which individuals/companies are prominent in this field?
Blizzard, Valve, Bioware, id Software, Epic, there are lots. As for individuals: John Carmack, Will Wright, Sid Meier, Cliffy-B, and lots of Japanese fellas from back in the Nintendo days.

14. Could you provide me with names of people I might contact about openings in this field?
No, you need to search around like everyone else.

15. May I use your name in my introduction to those people?
No, since I don't put my name behind what I don't know or feel confident in.

Good luck!

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