Five tips for becoming a great gaming artist
Becoming a 3D game artist is no easy task. Not only do you need to have a passion for digital arts and become an expert in your niche field, but you also need to be willing to work hard to make your dreams come true.
My story is no different. Having started as a young artist in Mexico, I have come a long way in rising to the forefront of the game design industry on the international stage. My strong passion for the art of gaming and my desire to excel have made me who I am today. And I couldn’t be happier about it.
Over the years I have worked on several famous games including Star Wars: The Old Republic: Knights of the Eternal Throne, Star Citizen, Borderlands 3, Friday the 13th, Fahrenheit: Indigo Prophecy Remastered, Manticore: Galaxy on Fire , The Sims 2 freeplay and others. I also worked with several giants of the gaming industry before joining the prestigious Los Angeles-based Devoted Studios, known for working on projects like Spellbreak, Guild Wars 2, Blankos Block Party, Animal Jam, CoinHunt World, Fusion Guards, Angry Birds: Explosion of Dreams! And several triple AAA titles that have not yet been released
Now that I’ve learned all the ins and outs of the gaming industry, I’m ready to share some of the ideas and help others become a world-class professional.
1. The wallet is king
As an artist, you should always keep in mind that your portfolio is a summary of your work. It’s the first thing your customers see, which can only mean one thing: it has to be spotless.
When creating a portfolio, choose only the images that make you stand out from the crowd. They must be the epitome of your talent: nothing less and nothing more. Once you’ve done that, make sure you edit them to perfection.
Also, make sure you only choose images that currently match your current career priorities. Let me give you an “for example”. If you want to become a 3D artist in the gaming industry, it is only worth including the pieces that are relevant in this area. In other words, there is no additional value in showing hand painted landscape scenes. No matter how awesome they are.
The web offers many tools for creating portfolios. For example, Slider Revolution and ScreenSkills or Artstation, where many developers in the industry publish their work and get noticed. Test the ones you like the most, heed my advice and let your star shine.
2. Learn to accept comments
Everyone thinks their work is remarkable. There is nothing wrong with it. This is how humans are.
Yet if you want to become better, you have to learn to accept that other people may have a different perspective. They’ll ask you questions, make changes, and suggest improvements. Unless they make it personal and get downright rude, there’s no need to take it personally.
Over the years, I have benefited greatly from the advice I have received from various artistic leaders and directors. They guided me thoroughly on what and how to refine – and I can’t thank them enough for that.
Once you have accumulated these insights, you will see that your skills will improve greatly. And it will be easier for you to continue.
3. Be a team player
The game development industry is a team-driven space, and you have to embrace it from the start. No matter how hard you try, you can’t design and develop a game on your own. You also shouldn’t try to do this as it is a waste of time and resources.
Instead, I recommend that you become the person you would like to have on your team. A person who is both reliable and hardworking, and in a good mood too. I have never heard from my colleagues that they like working with someone negative or diva. You will just end up being sidelined. Even if your artistic vision is exemplary.
4. Share your knowledge and become a problem solver
The world of design is tough. It is very competitive and requires you to put your skills to the test. If you’ve managed to make it happen and reach dizzying heights, help others do it too. Share all the tutorials, tips and tricks with the newcomers, because remember: we all need help. Plus, the artists you’ve shared your knowledge with will likely help you in the future. And it’s something you want. After all, we progress faster when we work together.
Let me give you a concrete example. I was working on the Galaxy on Fire project once. It was both heavy and complex for the whole team. To find a solution, I decided to spend more time researching alternatives. It paid off a lot. Soon I came up with a clear plan and shared it with my struggling teammates like me. My perspective helped them make a crucial change that led to success, although all I did was just pick up the pen and break a big problem down into smaller, easy-to-solve problems. I recommend that you try to do the same every now and then.
5. Don’t be afraid to ask for help
If you’re struggling with a task, you’re probably not the only one. It is possible that someone in the studio has encountered the same problem before. So why not turn to them?
Of course, it’s never easy to ask for help, but remember, there is no shame in doing so. Throughout my career, I have asked for help many times, and I believe that is why I did it.
However, also keep in mind that reciprocity is essential. So if someone turns to you for help, you need to do your best to give them a hand. I have met artists who like to collect knowledge and don’t want to share anything. Don’t be THAT artist. Even if you think you will somehow benefit from keeping all the secrets to yourself, trust me, you are not. It is an illusion, and also dangerous. Only by helping others be successful can you grow professionally and make the world a little better.
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