So to wrap up the year I’m required to do one more post, to discuss my chosen discipline a little more, what the role is responsible for, other job roles you work alongside and how to get there.
A lot of this is off the top of my own head (until I get to the actual jobs bit) I guess wrapping up the first point is pretty easy, producing industry standard 3D assets for use in game/tv/film/simulations/architectural renderings etc. These could range from anywhere between a barrel in a video game, a character for a movie or commercial, a mockup of a building for architectural plans etc. It is a wide ranging skill that sees more and more use as time goes on, however lets be honest here, its the entertainment side I’m primarily focusing on. Texturing can occasionally be a separate job, however it is usually the responsibility of the modeller to unwrap and apply appropriate textures.
The common jobs for modellers break down into environment artist and character, while not always this does tend to be the division between hard and soft surface modelling. A table is a much simpler structure than a human body for example. In bigger companies this could be subdivided even further, for this exercise I was looking at jobs at Ubisoft Reflections and they were recruiting specifically for a 3D Vehicle Artist.
Most artists will end up taking orders from the Senior artists, who take orders from the Lead Artist. However you’ll still brush shoulders with other job roles, usually technical artists and animators who will be responsible for rigging, simulations (hair/fur/water etc) and obviously animating models you create (if necessary). You could also be responsible for discussions with clients to see if the work is matching up to the brief, schedules are being met etc.
Onto some current job listings:
Skills and Knowledge
- Good interpersonal and communication skills;
- Knowledge of modeling techniques;
- Knowledge of texture mapping and materials;
- Knowledge of relevant 2D and 3D software packages;
- A technical problem solving mindset is desirable;
- Knowledge of vehicle design principles is desirable;
- Knowledge of streaming and LOD systems linked to in-game engines;
- Familiarity with data management software (such as Perforce) is desirable;
- Exposure to industry game engines and production pipelines is desirable;
- Knowledge of the video game industry and awareness of typical video game development processes is desirable.
- Up to 1 years’ experience in an internship or placement year in a professional game studio environment or other relevant experience;
- Bachelor’s degree in Graphics Design, Art or any other relevant training.
Okay right off the bat I can ignore the Bachelor’s degree part, that funding pool dried up many years ago and I couldn’t keep up the student lifestyle while balancing the mortgage and general monthly outgoings. I either make it into this industry on talent and portfolio or fail trying!
Communication skills & problem solving, no problem, years in IT and multiple years on a service desk. Sadly this particular listing doesn’t specify what kinds of modelling techniques or mapping techniques they’re looking for in a candidate, you’d just have to be as good as you can be and hope for the best. Now this is a specific artists job and I’m not entirely sure what vehicle design principles are. I doubt I’ll get any experience of asset management systems in college or accurate production pipelines. So for this job I’d be gambling on artistic talent to carry most of the weight.
Although to be honest, I asked the question of how to get my foot in the door as a mature student multiple times to multiple professionals during Animex and the response was almost always “a good showreel highlighting the best you can do” with occasional tailoring depending on the style/history of the studio you’re applying to. I’ll be taking that advice to heart and focusing on a high quality show reel for the end of this course for job applications.
Ubisoft also had posted a Junior Environment Artist job:
Skills and Knowledge
• Good interpersonal and communication skills;
• Ability to create interesting, detailed and visually appealing environments;
• Ability to adapt to new processes and pipelines;
• Working knowledge of industry leading 3D modelling packages and techniques;
• Understanding of composition visual story telling;
• Knowledge of level editors;
• Understanding of Physically Based Rendering systems;
• Familiarity with data management software (such as Perforce) is desirable;
• Basic gameplay and level design knowledge is desirable;
• Knowledge of optimisation techniques (e.g. 3D Studio Max);
• Knowledge of the video game industry and awareness of typical video game development processes is desirable;
• Exposure to industry game engines and production pipelines is desirable.
• Up to 1 years’ experience in an internship or placement year in a professional game studio environment or other relevant experience;
• Bachelor’s degree in Graphic Design, Art or other relevant training;
• Experience in both hard surface and organic modelling;
• Experience working in Adobe Photoshop.
Whole modelling is still obviously a big factor in this job role it seems to take a back bench in favour of a working knowledge of composition, story telling, level editors and generally good aesthetics. Which makes sense as your level is your connection to the world in which your story in unravelling.
This also makes having the required experience for a junior role a little tricky, I know the course isn’t going to give any hands on with a level editor, or specific rendering systems. So again this comes down to personal tuition or hoping the quality of my art opens up opportunities for on the job training. I didn’t bring this up on the previous job but fingers crossed that this course ticks the box for ‘other relevant training’.
Last but not least (as I don’t want this to go on forever) I found an Internship position at Studio Gobo. I don’t know if I’d be eligible as it states “Ideally you will have completed the second year of your degree” and I’m not on a degree program. However job hunting is a hard beast and you apply for EVERYTHING and hope for the best. So a year from now I’d try something like this.
You know what, this level of qualifications I could tick. Maybe even now but definitely after another year of education! There is hope after all! Its only a 12 month internship and therefore isn’t permanent, but that’s a lot of quality experience you could take elsewhere once the contract ends.
To wrap this up, off to spend a summer learning! To quote some famous Warcraft Orcs “What? More work?…..Okey doke!”.