Creating computer games art may seem like a dream job, but how do you actually become a games artist?
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.
Still with us? Then…
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.
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 their advice. Openness and honesty are crucial. Your agency is working for you; they should keep you fully informed.
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 and your work should reflect both your artistic talent and enthusiasm for games. The competition is tough and 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:
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. The types of work we’d expect to see from candidates are: