2, Issue 8
January 12, 2000
Looking For Employment as an Artist
gotten some e-mails from people wondering about how to get into
the game industry as an artist. First off, if you havent
read it, you should check out Paul
Steeds 6/29/99 article here on loonygames about getting
a job as an artist. It is a pretty comprehensive article that
offers a lot of good advice. Since Ive still been getting
e-mails about this though, I just wanted to do a small write-up
of my own ideas while trying to stay away from anything Paul has
already covered so this wasnt a rehashed article.
raw talent, one of the biggest things that game companies look
for is experience. Having actual experience making a game within
a game company setting is always a huge plus in the eyes of any
potential employer. And Im not talking about making a shareware
game on your own time -- but that too is always nice experience.
What Im referring to is being with a company and knowing
the whole process of making a game from start to completion, meeting
deadlines and milestones, and understanding exactly what
needs to be done.
point you are probably saying: Yeah, but if I dont
have any experience how can I get any? Thats the monumental
question, isnt it? I hate to say this but I really dont
have a wonderful answer to that question. But I do have some advice
to offer. Getting a job doing computer graphics for web pages
can be a definite start, but it isnt really game making
now is it? I think the best advice I can give is to shoot for
a smaller company. If you are someone who has no experience in
making games and is trying to get an position with one of the
top-ten game companies out there, your chances are probably somewhat
slim. They tend to have extremely high standards. For one, companies
generally dont want to train you for weeks and weeks unless
they absolutely have to. There are exceptions to this rule, however.
If you are someone with unbridled talent, they might give you
a serious look even if you dont have any experience. But
trust me, not having a single shred of experience will definitely
be points against you -- even if you are a graphics demi-god.
way to start looking is to scour the Internet for positions. Check
out the listings at www.3dcafe.com
or www.3dartist.com or even
do a search for game companies and check out their websites. That
is exactly what I did. I also spent a lot of time researching
the companies I was interested in, and boom-bam, it worked! I
had three years experience as a traditional graphic artist before
I got my first job in the game industry so that experience helped
somewhat, but I spent so much time making my portfolio cater to
the specific company that I was applying for that I was noticed.
Thats what I think the key is.
thing is make sure you are applying for a position that is specific
to what you do. Just because you are good at 2-D doesnt
necessarily mean you will be good at 3-D (and contrastly as well).
Ive seen mistakes in that area far too often. For instance,
Ive seen many people who were great, and I mean great
conceptional artists, but they didnt have a clue when it
came to making video-game graphics! They just didnt
know the skill of pixel-pushing. By pixel-pushing
I mean drawing at the pixular level or using the tools of Photoshop
or Illustrator sensibly. They only knew traditional drawing skills
(which are great, but not always enough).