Advice for graduate artists and animators

So, you want to be a games artist?

Creating computer games art may seem like a dream job, but how do you actually become a games artist?  Here is advice graduate artists will want.

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CV advice and general tips

Be committed! Are you mad about games?

Firstly, having a passion for games is absolutely crucial. Only the best candidates succeed and these candidates are totally committed. You need to be passionate about games. Your skills may well transfer into the world of TV & Film or product design, but if you want to succeed in games it must be games that you want to make. It may seem as though every job advertised requires industry experience, but there are a limited number of places for candidates who have not worked in the games industry before.

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Advice Graduate Artists and Animators will want

Make your CV scream games!

Make sure your CV screams out your objective of getting into the games industry! Write this at the top in your Objectives, Profile or Career Aims section to grab the reader’s attention. Then, in the rest of your CV, emphasise anything you’ve done which is relevant and/or shows your enthusiasm for and interest in games—e.g. sketches, 3D modelling or even level design or game mods you’ve done in your spare time.

Your hobbies and interests section is a great opportunity to show how keen you are. What type of games do you like? Any specific examples? Why? Here is the place to say! When you are playing think about what you like and don’t like—in an interview you’ll need to be prepared to talk about anything in your CV.

Use Agencies

Don’t be frightened of using agencies. Pick an agency which has a longstanding reputation in the games industry. A good agency will know exactly which companies are looking for what type of candidate. One call to an agency can save you many hours of time contacting every games company in the country. They are also an invaluable resource. Agencies look at CVs every day so they know what CV will get an interview and what won’t.  Ask for their advice Graduate Artists will get it from us.  Openness and honesty are crucial. Your agency is working for you; they should keep you fully informed.  Here is some advice graduate artists and animators may find useful.

Prepare examples of your work

Artists and Animators—Demo portfolio advice

It sounds obvious but it’s worth stating that to get a position as a games artist, you have to demonstrate your talents through an appropriate portfolio. Games companies will not interview a candidate without first reviewing a sample of their work.  Your work should reflect both your artistic talent and enthusiasm for games. The competition is tough and therefore your portfolio should demonstrate something that sets you apart from other candidates. Appropriate qualification will help demonstrate academic and technical ability but your artwork is the key!

There are a number of different areas of art within the games industry. Some jobs may involve a number of these and others may be more specialised. You should be aware of your strengths as an artist and emphasise them. The areas are:

Concept Art — Texture Art — 3D Art — 3D Animation

The majority of roles will involve the use of a 3D graphics application the main ones being Maya and 3D Studio Max. Obviously a good working knowledge of one of these application will be a real benefit, however your ability to create exciting, believable 3D objects is the most important thing whatever software you use. So the types of work we’d expect to see from candidates are:

  • Traditional Artwork — Companies will always like to see examples of your hand drawn artwork
  • Textures & 2D Artwork — If you’ve done textures for 3D models or digital 2D work send them as separate images
  • 3D Models — Wireframes as well as rendered images of low/high poly or NURBS models will show how you’ve constructed them
  • Animation — This is a specialist area in which you’ll probably have some training.