Sunday, 20 April 2014

Something ideal [PART 2]

A few weeks ago I posted about not being sure about where I am going in terms of jobs, unfortunately leaving that post as is doesn't complete the task that was set out for me, to look at a job description, dissect it somewhat and figure out what I need to do to achieve that. So I looked around and tried to find something that was close to what I wanted, without really knowing what I wanted. With that I went with a job posting by Blizzard games, for a 3D character artist on World of Warcraft. I figured I could apply this to other aspects of games, like asset and environmental building, since out of all the aspects of games design characters is what I have the most experience in, I put that as a focus.

The job posting can be found here:
(working as of April 2014)

3D Character Artist
Office: Irvine, California, United States
Blizzard Entertainment is looking for an exceptionally skilled 3D character artist to join the World of Warcraft team. The ideal candidate has experience modelling and texturing a diverse visual range of characters and creatures. A solid grasp of form, structure, color, and light for both 2D and 3D art assets is essential. The character artist must be skilled in another form of art production as well -- illustration, modelling, texturing, animation, concept drawing -- and be well-versed in related tools --3ds Max, Photoshop, etc. The ideal candidate also works well in an environment with peers who are passionate about making great games.

  • A minimum 3 years’ experience in game development modelling and texturing characters using 3ds Max and Photoshop (or equivalent 3D and 2D programs).

Assuming I don't drop out, this requirement is pretty much fulfilled with my three year game art course course, obviously I'll need to show enough growth in that time to show that I have spent at least 3 years on this, if my work currently, looks the same as my work when I graduate, It won't exactly scream 3 years of work.

  • An exceptional understanding of human and creature anatomy and a keen eye towards form, shape, structure, and silhouette in regards to modelling.
Again this is something covered in my course, and I can't really think of any specific way of working on this, besides just doing it, and practising.
  • Superior eye for light, shade, colour and detail in creating texture maps.
This is something that I plan on working on extensively during the summer, as right now my texture work on models that I have done haven't been great. I'd like to over the summer improve my hand painted texture maps with some kind of project, what that project would be exactly I haven't decided yet, But at the end of it I'd like to have a scene of a game modelled in 3D
  • Self-motivation, good communication skills, and a great team-player attitude.
Self motivation is an issue I need to work on, as I definitely have a problem with staying motivated on one task without being distracted by other things.
  • Skill in one or more of the related creation tasks - illustration, modelling, texturing, animation, concept drawing.
though modelling, texturing and concept drawing are skills addressed in my course, I want to start learning animation as animation has always been something that I loved and would love  to do, but something I couldn't have been taught until I was at university level, and self teaching myself animation wasn't exactly an options during my A-levels, as I was already self teaching digital art to get into my course, and I was (rightly) under the impression that animation takes a hell of a lot more time and dedication that I had to give at that moment. 

  • Have shipped AAA PC or console titles as a 3D character artist
If I was to go straight from university into this, I probably would not have this experience to tick off on the application, unless I gained a job/internship  to work on a triple A game during my studies, which is not exactly common. So I guess I'll leave this one.

  • Strong foundation in the traditional arts, including but not limited to figure drawing and illustration
Though parts of this is covered in my course with life drawing and observational drawings, this is something I definitely need to work on in the technical sense. As my technical drawing skills are lacking at this moment in time. Though I would continue the drawing studies I have going on here, with people and places sketching, I think I would also really benefit from researching what I'm drawing in a more I guess academic sense, studying anatomy, architecture etc from  books as well as from life, to the point were I can merge the two to create more accurate observational drawings and drawings from imagination.

  • A passion for developing online games
This is a given for me, online gaming is what got me into the wider world of gaming, and is MMORPG games are still my favourite games to play. However I don't really know how these games are developed and what skills and level of work go into producing them. Though not entirely relevant but something that's sprung to mind is researching how the character customisation of online games work. Especially to the level that games have now. What kind of base meshes, UVs, textures etc. would you need to produce a changing model that goes from thin to fat, lanky to muscular, short to tall, young to old. Are certain programmes in place for automatically producing subtle variations, instead of making each individual model in that spectrum or is it all done by hand? Anyway researching game development in general (with a focus on characters) is something I do need to look into.
  • Understanding of the visual style of World of Warcraft and a passion to push it to the next level

World of Warcraft  worlds have a style that I can only really describe right now as "painterly", which I tend to prefer than the more realistic style worlds. With all the textures being hand painted onto the models of characters, creatures, armour, weapons and all parts of the world, and the creatures and characters obviously not being realistic This is a style that I am planning to explore more in my free time when it comes to me just creating my own concepts and 3d models in 3ds max. From there I hope to improve my texture painting skills, especially when it comes to this style.

Submission / Portfolio requirements
Cover letter
Portfolio, and / or reel demonstrating relevant artistic skills required.Only online artwork submissions will be accepted (e.g. website, blog or online album)

 So at some point I'll need to create and design my own website to put my portfolio/demo reel on. Adding to this I could establish an online presence on other sites (like blogger)though I do need to post more of my personal work on here. Then when It comes to looking through and finding portfolio pieces for my main site/portfolio it won't be as difficult and I' have a lot to choose from, whilst still keeping the pressure off my work by having an informal online outlet to put them on.

So a summary TL;DR list for myself to go back to:
Develop my:
-3D modelling skills
- Technical and observational drawings
-Hand painted texture maps

- Research game development in MMO games (with a personal focus on character customisation) 
-work on staying motivated/focused on a task
- Learn basic-intermediate animation skills
- Keep posting my work on Blogger (or something similar.)
-Create and design my own website to put my portfolio/demo reel on

 At some point I'll also need to find out the processes I'd need to go through if I were to up sticks and move abroad for a job like this.

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