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Thread: I need game industry advice

  1. #1
    Josh Frankel Guest

    I need game industry advice

    Here's my deal:
    I want to work on the art side of the video game industry. Specifically, I'm looking for model/texture jobs. I have no industry experience or art degree. I'm a 27 year old college graduate with a lot of work experience, mainly in web design and production. I've been researching the video game business for a while, and I've learned low-poly 3D modelling/texturing techniques from assorted tutorials and a lot of hard work.

    Here are my questions:

    1. What is the real entry-level for this type of job? All of the job listings I see ask for industry experience. I understand this...if I was running a company and had to turn out a money-making product, I'd want proven people working on it too. Nevertheless, where do these people start out? Is formal game art education becoming more required? Is it a matter of networking? Should I apply to jobs requiring industry experience once I have a really good portfolio, and then hope that my portfolio knocks them out of their chairs?

    2. I've sent several queries to companies that are hiring, offering myself as an unpaid intern. I haven't gotten any response. Is this a bad strategy? To me, it seems like it would be a good deal all around: I get some valuable experience and they get a solid worker with a track record of learning quickly in new environments. But I wonder if developers are spooked by this, or if they just don't want to expend the energy contacting or managing an x-factor intern. Am I just annoying people and lowering my stock?

    Here's a link to some of the stuff I've done so far:
    http://www.hungryforbrains.com/josh/portfolio_3d.php
    ...I realize that it's not much, but I am working hard on improving.

    Anyway, I apologize for the deluge of typical newbie questions, but I do honestly value the opinions of the people on this forum. Your brutal honesty, advice and job offers (heh) will be much appreciated.
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  3. #2
    Josh Frankel Guest
    Yeah, I know that these "how do I break in" questions can be pretty tiresome, but really, any advice, or even links to useful advice, would be helpful. I've searched for and read assorted web pages covering these topics, but I'm looking for a range of personal perspectives. Am I not asking the right questions?
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  4. #3
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    Josh,

    I think what you need to do, is go to a local Junior College, or art school, and take a few art classes, and build up a solid portfolio...

    Then when you think you have a good portfolio, just keep doing what you are doing, email companies and ask if they have intern positions.. Don't ask them to hire you just ask if theyoffer a intern position... Then apply for it...

    I know i deffinitly need to take my own advice, cause there is lots I have to learn.. LOTS! But stay in this forum, and keep doing work, and show it around on the net, so people see your work...

    Just an idea..

    good luck man...

    peace
    -Deth Jester
    "Live each day like you will die tommorow, and dream like you will live forever..."
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  5. #4
    Josh Frankel Guest
    Thanks Deth Jester. Your advice seems sound, and it basically describes what I am doing. I'm going to be taking some classes in September, and I'm doing more art every day. Anyone else have personal experiences to share here?

    By the way, here's an FAQ that I think is pretty good, for the other people out there with similar questions:
    http://www.planetquake.com/polycount.../Industry.html
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  6. #5
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    brutality

    when a company askes for 1-2 years industry experience, it as basicly a prerequisite to cut down the amount of unqualified portfolios they would otherwise recive. experience helps alot but its not the only determining factor. one of the things they really look for is drive, and raw talent, if you demonstrate enough of that than they will be more likely to give you the experience you need.

    you asked for brutal and here it is, judging only from the example images you linked to. I do not see any real drive in your work, I see a casual fun attempt to create a couple 3d characters you did in your spare time, it does show some understanding of 3d aplication but it demonstrates no real background in traditional art knowledge of color form. I dont see any passion behind your pollygons. the game industry is growing very fast but at the same time the level of quality employers seek is also increasing, I dont want to break your spirit, but I dont want you to be niave of the reality around you . If you really want to work for games you need to work alot harder, and put much more effort into the pices you have in your portfolio. dont give up just work harder, if you want it bad enough anything is possible.

    good luck Josh
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  7. #6
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    android said that very very well.

    learn your anatomy...work hard on your drawing skills...push your traditional skills a bit...keep working on your 3d stuff...you need to push harder...set your standards a little farther up the hill and run for them...

    it took me six years of art school to be ready to do what i do...no way i could have done it before I paid my dues with hundreds of late nights and plenty of missed dates, parties and everything else i sacreficed to spend time doing artwork.

    your artwork needs to become number one in your life...after you master a set of skills from working hard then you will be able to make art more of a balanced part of your life.

    look at games...your work needs to be as good as the best games out there...or better...that is how you get in...make stuff that is as good or better than the best stuff out there.


    j
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  8. #7
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    if you want it bad enough anything is possible
    you gotta love that quote
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  9. #8
    Josh Frankel Guest
    Android: Don't worry about breaking my spirit. Your response is definitely what I asked for and what I'm after. Re-reading my initial post, I see that maybe I came on a little strong, so for the record let me just say that I know that I have a loooong way to go. And as I go, I need as much harsh reality as I can get. Of course, it's troubling when someone says that they don't see any passion behind your polygons, but when I look at these samples with a critical eye, I see a lot of problems too. I will keep trying, and the next time I have some work that I'm happy with I'll post it here and see if you guys see any glint of passion.

    Jason Manley: This goes for Android's comments too. Your posts were very instructive. As someone who is changing careers, I need to know how people (particularly senior artists and art directors) in the game industry think. I get some hints of that from reading assorted articles online, but the direct feedback you give in the threads on these boards is particularly helpful. I'm working hard right now and I've been steadily clearing the boards to make art the number one thing, but you're right, I need to do more. I honestly don't know if I'll ultimately have what it takes. Conceptart.org is good for a reality check.
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    Man if you've taught yourself to model. More power to you. But I have to say if you've got a school that you can attend any one would greatly benefit. I personally dug deep into my pockets and decided to go to school. And I mean digging deep. But I'm almost done with my CG education and I don't regret one bit. The knowlege that I've gain would have taken me a few years to figure some of the crap out. I never imagine that I would know as much as I know about the software. But I would agree with any of these guys here you have to learn your anatomy perspective, compistion etc... I'm sorry to say but you can't learn that over night. Any computer program can be learn in a matter of months. And I strongly believe from my expereince that you'll be a much better cg artist if you have traditional art behind you. I hope this doesn't bum you out. I'm a firm believer that hard works pays off. Best of luck to you.
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  11. #10
    Kev Crossley Guest

    Wink Breaking into games!!!

    Hi Josh!

    I'm still a newbie here, but as I've been a video game artist for 7 years now, I thought I'd throw some of my experience your way. However, I live and work in the good old UK, and the industry is a very different beast to the fluffy thing it was when I first started, but hopefully some of what I have to say might be of use to ya!

    I left University in 1994, then spent 2 years bumming around on the dole.. (Is that welfare in the States???) Basically, I had no job, so spent every day painting. I painted until my fingers bled and my brushes lost their bristles. I got through hundreds of pencils and reams of paper, and still I couldn't find work. Back then I had no computer, no hard cash, no leads and no help to draw upon, but even in the depths of despair, I just kept on working and refining the skills I believed would get me somewhere... eventually.

    That's your first major lesson dude: Perseverence and Self Belief. If you want It, whatever It is, you gotta KNOW you're gonna get it; that you're GOOD enough to get it. Even if you feel you're not up to the mark right now, you have to trust that you can overcome all those niggling doubts, roll up your sleeves and just get on with improving, improving improving. Trust me, if you keep at it, it WILL pay off.

    Back to what I did next... after 2 years of sleeping during the day and painting all through the night, (and countless failed job applications) I chanced on an advert in a local job paper that turned out to be for a computer games company. (Gremlin Interactive, if anyone remembers them!) I went for an interview, and for the first half hour it was a bit touch and go, because I had no experience AT ALL, and didn't have a clue how to turn a computer on, never mind how a computer game was made. Then I opened my portfolio, and the whole vibe of the interview changed. In it I had all the painting I'd been doing over the previous year, and truck loads of drawings, sketchbooks and the like.... the interviewer loved it, and more or less offered me a job there and then, purely because he thought I was a talented and commited artist whose skills he could mould to suit computer based art. It just didn't matter that I had no experience, I was in! I couldn't believe it man, the day I thought would never come!!

    The crazy thing about this was that I worked on my folio without ever thinking precisely where it would take me... it's like taking a walk but never looking farther forward than 10 feet in front of you......... you plod on, and one day you look up, and you've climbed a mountain!!!! Ha ha... it's a lame metaphor, but you get my meaning.

    As long as you don't expect anything to happen tomorrow, or the day after, as long as you persevere, and continue to try to improve, you'll get somewhere eventually. And however closed door the industry seems to be these days, there'll still be a few people who'll respond to sheer, raw, energetic talent when they see it.

    Phew, that's the longest post I ever made! If you're still awake after that, you deserve a beer:chug: ... and if you like, check out my site, the dog paintings on there were some the paintings in my folio that got me that job in the first place!!! HA ha!!! Can you believe it???

    Good luck Josh, and peace to ya

    Kev
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  12. #11
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    Cool

    I don't usually chime in on stuff like this, but I'm moved to this time... I am really impressed with the level of mature, helpful responses that a thread like this gets. It's the sort of thing that makes a place like this stand out. Well done, fellas...

    Josh: I'm sorry I have nothing to add to your question, as I'm just a novice myself, and only an intended hobbyist at that. But I will say this... Don't ever give up! Keep at it and you'll someday arrive at your destination :cool:
    - blind
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  13. #12
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    very well said kev, very well said.
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  14. #13
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    !

    With these kinds of fantastic replies, we probably won't need a similar thread ever again. Comments like these feel very true. Josh, I'm in that "I'm getting there step by step" mode myself, and I have no doubt that I'm growing artistically every day. It's just a matter of time and effort. Keep it up!
    Portfolio: www.torsteinnordstrand.com
    Working on / for: Age of Conan / Funcom
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