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Old 13-07-2009, 11:50 PM   #1
Gooner442
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Default How do I get my foot in the door?!

Hi all!

I'm hoping you guys & gals can offer me some advice on my path to working in the game industry.

I am from a traditional fine art background- 2d sketching/painting, but I have worked in the architectural industry for 8 years before recently deciding to learn Maya with the aim to work at a game studio. I have only been using Maya for 4 months and have recently started a 3 month animation course using Maya. The course teaches traditional approaches to animation and applying them, though it doesn't really cover the rigging/modelling side. I want to gain skills that the industry needs but I am a little concerned that animation is too specialised and takes far more than 3 months work. Willl an animator be expected to be able to have very good rigging/modelling skills?

What I would like advice on is whether you think animation is something I should persevere in or whether modelling/texturing/environment art is more the direction I should concentrate on in order to get my foot in the door. I pretty much know the different kind of jobs you can go for in the game industry it's just confusing to try and concentrate on one or two or all areas of Maya!... I enjoy the animation side but my background is more in the 2D texturing and possibility the architectural side which I guess might lend itself to working as an environment artist... what would you suggest for me to get that first job?

Apologies for quite a muddled post but Maya is so vast it seems to have this affect on me!

Thank you.. hope you can help!

Martin
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Old 14-07-2009, 02:49 AM   #2
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If animation is what you want to do, I'd definitely focus on it. There are lots of free character rigs out there you can use to jump right in.

I would say that rigging should be something you at least know something about. It really depends on the company, but in some, the animator is the same person who rigs a character.

As for me, I started in environment work as a way to get my foot in the door but have decided that I really enjoy it and have pretty much kept with it over the last 6 or7 years that I've been doing this.
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Old 14-07-2009, 12:08 PM   #3
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Hey there Martin

I trust by the user name Gooner that you're an Arsenal fan, if so good man

I was lucky enough to get a brief response from one of the developers at Bioware who are game company working on the very exciting Star Wars Old Republic MMO game. I asked about different areas of the production team and the dev pointed out you get all sorts doing different aspects of a certain job i.e. Modeller > creates the models. Animator > rigs and animates. Game Designers > designs the scenes and characters etc etc, Game Programmers > writes the programming to make the game work. Writers > Writes the contents of the game. The list goes on and Im sure some firms have a separate job for texturing models, sometimes they might want the modeller to do this as part of the package.

As you are swaying to the texture side of things. For this I would guess that you would need a decent enough understanding of the modeling process anyway though with ZBrush and Photoshop 3D (and many more I should imagine) applications, it's becoming easier to texture. I doubt the rigging is important for the texture though Im sure it helps.

But I reckon you should try and learn all areas of it though - modelling, texture, rigging and animation. Sure there is loads to learn and sure its hard, but no one ever said learning and hard work is not fun I kinda see it all as going hand in hand because there are elements from each learning catogory that compliments the other.

Though I spend a good amount of time learning to develop each skill, I am a dabbler in Maya (fairly low skilled), Game development (extremely low skilled), comic book writer/artist (medium skilled). I tend to dabble and learn all these and develop each skill slowly because I don't really have a goal, just a passionate hobby of mine.

If you are still unsure, what I'd recommend is getting in touch with some companies that produce the kind of games you want to be involved in and see what they say. They might be able to help you define your goals.

Hope the above is helpful.
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Old 14-07-2009, 07:43 PM   #4
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Thanks for the replies!.. it's all helpful stuff.

mtmckinley, I would be interested to know what exactly your job entails, is it purely an asthetic job to texture and make believable landscapes/rooms etc or do you model? I think in a perfect world I would just do what I enjoy and see where it takes me but I think animation could take a very long time to become proficient at, I would like a job in the industrysooner rather than later so am I right in thinking texturing/environment would be more the way to go?.. I also enjoy those areas but realise they might not be as well paid.

Bounce, indeed I am an Arsenal fan.. nice to meet you too!.. hopefully my user name hasn't put off the Man Yoo/Spurs or Chelsea fans from helping me out! :p

I've been looking into Z-brush and Mudbox, I understand they are more organic and enjoyable to use than the tedious way of texturing/unfolding UVs in Maya. I think I will send out a few emails to some companies, any chance you could PM me your response from Bioware?..

I'm also interested to know the salaries, can anyone give an estimate for animators/texture/character/environment artists?
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Old 14-07-2009, 10:27 PM   #5
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Here is a link to Gamasutra.

http://www.gamasutra.com/php-bin/new...hp?story=23264

They do a thing every year concerning salaries in the gaming industry.
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Old 14-07-2009, 10:30 PM   #6
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Originally posted by Gooner442
I've been looking into Z-brush and Mudbox, I understand they are more organic and enjoyable to use than the tedious way of texturing/unfolding UVs in Maya.
eh? they do just as well with hard surface stuff too you know
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Old 14-07-2009, 11:20 PM   #7
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I mainly model and texture video game environments and props. No matter what field you decide to focus on, when you are just getting your foot in the door, you probably won't be getting top dollar pay. That kinda goes with most professions, I'd say.
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Old 15-07-2009, 01:19 PM   #8
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The stuff on salaries is interesting. Although I imagine this must be for high end artists who have been in the industry for some time.

With regards to getting a job I imagine the best bet would be to pick an area that interests you and commit to it. It would seem to me most companies want people who have a solid area of expertise and a little understanding of other areas, not people who are a jack of all trades and a master of none.

That said I would imagine animation/rigging to be a good option as it is a very high skilled job which does not seem over flooded. The level of character/prop artists is extremely high and you will need to be at the very top of your game in order to get a industry job. Although the same can be said for rigging and animation with regards to the skill levels I think it is an area where there are less people fighting for work. The problem with character/prop modeling jobs is there are so many amazing artists so even if your skills match theirs, company's will tend to pick the artist with experience.

Good luck and all the best with the job endeavors.
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Old 15-07-2009, 03:47 PM   #9
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I think it balances out a bit when it comes to supply/demand. true, there are more people doing character and environment work then there are animators, but most companies need more people doing character and environment work then they need animators as well.

On my current game, we had literally 2 animators for the entire thing. By contrast, we had about 8 environment artists.
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Old 15-07-2009, 05:04 PM   #10
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I think if u(Gooner442) want to learn anything specifc, now it not the time to think of it.
Like u have said u have just started to learn maya.It is a vast package and becoming good on every aspect would be very hard.
I would rather advice u to focus on the current path rather trying to figure out wht u want to be.
Start with simple modeling..this is eventually lead u to texutring...a textured model will lead u to animation..which will force u to learn rigging...though this path, u will learn things like rendering etc etc stuffs.
I believe jumping to any specific part(like rigging, animating) will create big hole in ur maya-knowledge unknowingly.
When u will have enough knowledge to know which suits u best/which part makes u feel better..focus on that, on-that-time.
Till that time feel free to focus on whatever u want/like.Enjoy the essence of maya!!If u are a sceptical guy(like me ), then i can assure u spending some time with Maya wont dissapoint u!
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