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howie_007

Artistic ability needed to work for a game company

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A question for the artists. Sorry for the long post, but please read. Here in Dallas Texas, last weekend at the downtown Sheridan, was an anime convention. My 20 year old son happened to visit a panel hosted by Terminal Reality, showing off their new Ghost Busters game. Afterwards, the Terminal Reality people started a discussion about working in the games industry. One of the artists said something to the effect of "you don't need to be a 2d artist to work at a game company. All you really need to do is impress us with your 3D animations". I don't know what that artist's definition of "2D artist" is but my son has taken this to mean that you don't need to be an artist, to create 3D models at a game company. My son is probably like a lot of kids his age, likes to play with 3D models on occasion but has never had the desire to draw, and because of that, has never developed his artistic ability. As any parent is biased towards their kid, I have to be a realist about the subject because it involves career choices in the real world. His models do look nice but his 3D models do have the look of underdeveloped artistic skill and in addition to that, his ability to make textures in simply not there. I can only assume that artist at Terminal reality trying to convey that you don't need to know 3D or the computer that well, but if you're a talented artist, we can teach you the rest. My son and I argue about this on occasion but since the convention, it's now a hot button topic. He thinks all he has to do is make the 3D models and that's all that is needed to work in this industry. I'm sure artists wear many hats in the game industry and need to be a well rounded, talented artist. I offered to send him off to an art collage but when he found out that much of the time is spent developing traditional art skills, he declined. What are your thoughts?

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When evaluating artists, a well rounded portfolio ALWAYS stands out considerably better than a one trick pony artist's portfolio. A 3D artists (particularly a 3D character artist) need to be able to demonstrate the following things:

1) Ability to work at different LODs (levels of detail, or poly count limits)
2) Their models are deformable. This means that his models needs to be rigged up and not look bad when running, looking around, raising a weapon to a ready stance, etc.
3) Ability to lay out UVs for effective texturing.
4) Depending on the studio size, a character modeler may be doing the texturing as well. He needs to demonstrate that he understand effective texturing. Making the most out of limited numbers of textures and making the character look believable.
5) Drawing skills are highly important. Drawings are used for designing a character before it is modeled and often times used as a reference plan in Max, Maya, etc as a reference plane.
6) Thorough understanding of anatomy. That dragon might look really "cool", but if the anatomy is so awkward that an animator won't be able to make it look believable when animating it then the character was poorly designed.

The more of these things an artist lacks in his portfolio the more difficult time he is going to have in getting hired.

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To my knowledge, I have never met a successful, competent 3D modeller who wasn't skilled in 2D art as well. That includes people whose job description does not actually involve 2D art (and there are actually plenty of this sort). As it turns out, art is art, and using Maya doesn't magically grant one the sorts of skills that one learns by sketching and sketching and sketching.

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Quote:
Original post by zer0wolf
When evaluating artists, a well rounded portfolio ALWAYS stands out considerably better than a one trick pony artist's portfolio.

Quote:
Original post by Sneftel
As it turns out, art is art, and using Maya doesn't magically grant one the sorts of skills that one learns by sketching and sketching and sketching.

That's exactly what I'm thinking. Thanks for sharing your incite.

Also, my understanding is that competition is fierce for these positions and one of the problem in the industry is that their are too many people lacking traditional art skills.

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