What kind of art degree for a video game job?
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  1. #1
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    Question What kind of art degree for a video game job?

    Hi,

    My son is a freshman in college and is an art major. He is wanted to work in the video game industry, designing and drawing the characters, and maybe the composing music. Does anyone on this forum know what the best type of art degree would be to work in the video game industry? His college thought Graphics Art would be the best, but it deals most with printing. He prefers the hands on pencil and paper.

    Thanks
    Don

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    If you don't get a thorough response soon enough to share with your son, don't be afraid to drop in on cgtalk.com's forum. A good portion of the folks there are in the visual end of the Gaming industry in some capacity or another and just doing a search of the various topics posted in the discussion section of their forum will turn up tons of useful tidbits. If your son's a freshman in college majoring in Graphic Arts, and he prefers the hands on, pencil to paper, then maybe illustration would be more his fancy, but I'm no expert.

    As far as the music end goes, it's really one or the other. If he decides to do both with the intentions of being proficient enough to be employed in the industry for that skill, he'll have to prioritize his studying as music is just as demanding as any of the visual arts. I hope this has been somewhat helpful.

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    I am a photography graduate who has decided to go into web design. I have found that the degree is important to show that your educated but your porfolio is what really speaks. Forgive me if the video game industry has a different view, but that is my experience. Does he know of anyone in the industry who could advise him. He might want to find someone, people are usually receptive to those still in school and can be very helpful. Good Luck!

    mostasa
    My Sunny San Diego

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    as far as i know, there is no degree requirement. if he wants to work in the video game industry, and the college is telling him graphic design is the best way to go, then he's probably at the wrong college

    thats my 2 pesos

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    With the video games industry still pretty much in infancy, I don't see there being a clear-cut degree needed. I haven't known the industry long, but I haven't seen a developer that has just character designers, and people doing concept art. Usually, they have their art department do all of the concept art beforehand, and then spend their development time making it in 3D (or whatever format the game requires). So I could see him going one of 2 ways with that; either learning Max/Maya and joining a team for their whole development cycle, or doing some kind of freelance concept art, which would be tough work to find, due to companies having their own art departments. (But, a lot of sound production is freelanced as well, which could work out for him)

    A lot of schools are now offering programs such as "Video game art", or even find a "3D animation" program. He could always just finish out with his 'illustration' or whatever he is interested in, and try to take some 3D classes along the way, or after the degree. I say this because the art managers that I have spoken with in the industry prefer someone with a solid art background over a computer one. They feel that they can help a good artist learn computer/3d skills, but they cannot help a computer person become an artist.

    I think Mostasa nailed it, like a lot of other industries, it's all about the portfoliio.

    Good luck, hope I helped and didn't just ramble.

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    Gotta go with them. I'm recently going to go to an art college, but before I do that I’m going to go to a junior college and get the liberal art's class's out the way, so I won't have to pay as much when I go to the art college of my choice. Like most of them said, in the end its what you have in your portfolio that will get you the job, art colleges are designed to make you stronger in whatever you want to do. I my self, want to focus only on modeling, animation, character design, and just do work on Maya/Max. Your sun seems to be in the more illustration type, so he should get a degree in that. Just because he can't use the computer, and prefers pencil and paper, doesn't mean he can't go into the video game industry. I think site is enough proof of that. So if I were you, I'd tell to keep on working on his illustration, and use that to get him where he wants to go.
    Don't even think about the music part.

    (Didn't exactly check what i wrote, so sorry for all the typo's)

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    If your son is gonna do college, courses he should look into would be illustration, idustrial design...a combination of both would better prepare him....

    www.fengzhudesign.com

    An example of anartist who started in industrial design...

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    Your college probably advised him to take graphic design because often, in the video game industry, professionals use programs such as photoshop and painter to draw and color their character and concept images. It most likely offers training in imaging programs, so they figured that was the closest. Graphic designers these days generally work more with compiling photographs and text than necessarily drawing themselves, so that degree probably doesnt quite fit. But, as people above have mentioned, what you major in doesn't really matter as much as your portfolio. In the portfolio, companies will want to see very well drawn images depicting creative ideas first and foremost, so I would suggest you look for the major which will get you that. As peripheral classes, digital imaging software, and some amount of training with a 3 modeling/animating program is good.

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    With just about any job the more pieces of paper you have the better your chances of employment.Nearly anything art related will do,it just shows employers that your dedicated to your carreer choice and not just doing it as a hobbie.I have a diploma in cartooning ans illustration and that helps people take me a bit more seriously.Its not vital but it helps
    Just try and picture the employer with 2 portfolios,both just asgood as each other but 1 has more certificates.Whos going to get the job?
    Not shure if this was any help to your sons problem but it cant hurt

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    At the studio I work in, we are constantly having new and additional traditonal art created, so you don't have to worry about all the 2d stuff being done in pre-production, and then him being out of a job.

    Our art lead does almost all 2d stuff (but he does know 3dmax as well).

    A lot of the time, when I'm "finished" with something, he'll take a render of it, and paint ontop of it with all these details and refinements he wants done to it.

    Mind you this guy doesn't just design the characters. If you're son is all into designing characters, he's limiting himself too much. He needs to focus on drawing just about anything and everything. Especially enviroments. Character design is a very very small part of the 2d art team's responsibilities.

    But illustration is definetly the way to go for him.

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    Hi,

    Thanks for all the replies! After 2 years at the local 4 year college taking Graphic Arts, and then Studio Arts, one of his teachers told him he would have to finish his Studio Arts degree, then get a Masters in Illustration. I did a little checking around and found the Pittsburg Art Institute On-line, and they accepted him. He is majoring in Media Arts and Animation. This degree prepares him to be an illustrator and how to animate with Maya, and 3dMax, Painter, Right Hemisphere, adobe suite, and Adobe Aftereffects, Flip book and Microsoft office. I may have missed some software. 40 hours transferred from his last school, but he is doing well and enjoying PAI. The other nice thing about PAI is they have a lifetime job placement service, with over a 90% success rate.

    Thanks again,
    Don

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    Hi Donald,
    You and your son might be interested in the "games industry" link in my sig. Myself and others have been compiling industry information there for students.

    The short of it is this: no company will care much about what degree your son does or doesn't have, so long as he has the skills for whichever job he is applying for, and so long that he is capable of demonstrating those skills. Additionally, there is no direct-to-the-games-industry route in upper education. The new crop of two-year "games" schools are still so new that they are unreliable. Your son will have to identify the skills he will need for whatever games-industry job he wants, and he will have to make sure that he learns those skills whether or not he has teachers who understand what he is aiming for.

    I think you are awesome, and I wish you the best in your endeavors, but I am tired of repeating myself, I am very busy with my new baby, and I am no longer a regular participant here, so please do not contact me to ask for advice on your career or education. All of the advice that I have to offer can already be found in the following links. Thank you.

    Perspective 101, Concept Art 101, Games Industry info,Oil Paint info, Acrylic Paint info, my sketchbook.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Donald_Smith
    Hi,

    My son is a freshman in college and is an art major. He is wanted to work in the video game industry, designing and drawing the characters, and maybe the composing music. Does anyone on this forum know what the best type of art degree would be to work in the video game industry? His college thought Graphics Art would be the best, but it deals most with printing. He prefers the hands on pencil and paper.

    Thanks
    Don

    Hello

    I have been in the games industry for almost 7 years now, and my advise would be for your son to go to a good art school. I have an A.S. in Mechanical/Architectural Design and a B.F.A. in Computer Arts - Visual FX. I do not think that I would have done as well as I have until now without a solid degree. There are a lot of people saying that you don't need one for this industry, this might have worked seven years ago but now, no. There is just too much good competition out there, and it will help to have that degree. The other thing I would suggest, DO NOT go into traditional art! Its good to know how to draw, but a 3D artist, texture painter, environment artist and designer are in more demand and can find a good paying job very quickly. In fact, some studios require an applicant to be able to produce concept art in addition to the position that they are applying for.

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