I am kind of panicking. Unpaid internship from AAA

polygon
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Larry polygon
Hello guys. Yesterday i found out that my godfather who works at a very large chain with connections to many AAA studios, gave me the opportunity to work next year as an unpaid intern in a AAA studio.The time i will be working there is still not clarified.Great, right?

Well, the problem is that i started learning the art of 3d as a new years resolution, to change my career path. So it's been 7 months? And all of this time i feel i've been doodling around to learn the fundamentals of creating/sculpting/importing to UE. How can i be ready to keep up with a AAA studio right off the bat? Is it too big for me? I will be getting a loan to do this.I believe many good things can come out of this but i am too inexperienced to handle it, i'm trembling in the idea of anyone asking "why did you bring this guy here".....I don't even have a portfolio, or i can barely make a portfolio piece to pass the bar...This is too big to process. I am very very very grateful for that, but i hate to say i don't believe i can handle it, and when the time comes i dont think i will be good enough. Please help ? 

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  • TeriyakiStyle
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    TeriyakiStyle insane polycounter
    Seems weird -  like... this guy owns a AAA studio?  Or he works at a chain of something (Pizzarias?). 

    Paid or not Interns aren't expected to keep up with any pro - or to know much of anything so just show up and absorb what you can. 

    I don't agree with working and not getting paid - but you have until next year to prep for your slavery so get crackin'!
  • Ruz
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    Ruz polycounter lvl 13
    yeah just give it a try and don't worry. Even if it doesn't work out, at least you had the experience. Try not to be negative over this, they are not going to expect you to be great and you will learn a hell of a lot
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    Seems weird -  like... this guy owns a AAA studio?  Or he works at a chain of something (Pizzarias?). 

    Paid or not Interns aren't expected to keep up with any pro - or to know much of anything so just show up and absorb what you can. 

    I don't agree with working and not getting paid - but you have until next year to prep for your slavery so get crackin'!
    He works at a high position in a large technology/gadget chain and this chain cooperates with many AAA studios. He concepts and creates gadgets and he works directly with the 3d industry. So figuratively speaking i dont even have to even know about 3d? I have no idea on what is expected of me to know when i get there.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Interns at the studios I have been at, and have been an intern at, while given actual tasks to work on, you will also be expected to ask a lot of questions about workflow, how to do things, etc.

    This is normal, and more questions than not are encouraged.  For my case, our intern this summer, I had a great time running him through some Substance Painter particulars, etc.

    Hit it, ask a LOT of questions, because this is probably the best learning environment you will ever be in.

    If anyone jostles you about being a newb, I pray it's mostly out of good fun.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    Interns at the studios I have been at, and have been an intern at, while given actual tasks to work on, you will also be expected to ask a lot of questions about workflow, how to do things, etc.

    This is normal, and more questions than not are encouraged.  For my case, our intern this summer, I had a great time running him through some Substance Painter particulars, etc.

    Hit it, ask a LOT of questions, because this is probably the best learning environment you will ever be in.

    If anyone jostles you about being a newb, I pray it's mostly out of good fun.

    Thank you, that clarifies alot for me :)
    I had no idea on what is expected of an intern since i am in sales business and it's totally different. Is there anything i can do by myself to prepare better other than keep making 3d stuff? Would a portfolio have an impact or should i wait and make it after my internship there?
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Making game art would help if this is a game art internship.  Like assets that could actually be placed into a game.

    Where's your stuff at right now?  Do you have an online portfolio at all?

    But, you should ask your godfather what exactly this internship entails before you assume it's an art internship even.

    An art internship without a portfolio looks bad on the studio: either they don't know, or their hand is being forced.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    Making game art would help if this is a game art internship.  Like assets that could actually be placed into a game.

    Where's your stuff at right now?  Do you have an online portfolio at all?

    But, you should ask your godfather what exactly this internship entails before you assume it's an art internship even.

    An art internship without a portfolio looks bad on the studio: either they don't know, or their hand is being forced.

    I will ask for more details,but to tell you the truth i dont know if he pulled the strings or asked for favors, the end result is the same for me. Everyone uses whatever resources they have available. I do not have a portfolio so i will do my best to create a couple of pieces to have to present. I am thinking of some sculpted pillars or marbles, a couple of materials and scene props, as i'm not yet familiar with creating entire scenes and landscapes. Would you be as kind to recomend something that a studio would like to see? I know anything is fine as long as its well made, but i guess some stuff will have more impact than others.
  • AGoodFella
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    AGoodFella polygon
    Just out in interest, how do you plan on supporting yourself financially if it's unpaid?
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    @Larry
    It literally depends on what the studio is working on.

    We had our intern fix textures for food props in Bard's Tale IV for a very long time.  No hero pieces.

    Just make good looking stuff, or well made bad looking stuff.  This is your portfolio: you need to peacock.

    I would recommend attempting to make a diorama.  Even if it's big, you can break it down into smaller chunks, for what is a diorama if not just mulitple prop assets.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    @AGoodFella
    I have set some money aside for this case, i knew that it would be easier to land an internship at the begining of this carreer, and internships dont pay full salary. So i have some money that can support me for about a year

    @Brian "Panda" Choi
    Thanks alot for all the information you provided me. You really turned my negativity into positivity and excitement! I would treat you a beer if we were closeby :)
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher polycounter lvl 9
    without posting your portfolio it is hard to judge if you are ready or not, got a link to your artstation or a website with your work? even in internships it is usually expected that you have a solid grasp of the fundamentals, so without a look at your current level of output its hard to give clear advice. cheers :)
  • Chimp
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    Chimp greentooth
    Larry said:
    Hello guys. Yesterday i found out that my godfather who works at a very large chain with connections to many AAA studios, gave me the opportunity to work next year as an unpaid intern in a AAA studio.The time i will be working there is still not clarified.Great, right?

    Well, the problem is that i started learning the art of 3d as a new years resolution, to change my career path. So it's been 7 months? And all of this time i feel i've been doodling around to learn the fundamentals of creating/sculpting/importing to UE. How can i be ready to keep up with a AAA studio right off the bat? Is it too big for me? I will be getting a loan to do this.I believe many good things can come out of this but i am too inexperienced to handle it, i'm trembling in the idea of anyone asking "why did you bring this guy here".....I don't even have a portfolio, or i can barely make a portfolio piece to pass the bar...This is too big to process. I am very very very grateful for that, but i hate to say i don't believe i can handle it, and when the time comes i dont think i will be good enough. Please help ? 
    if he just got you a job like that, without portfolio and without knowing anything about you, it's going to be secretarial or making tea, filing memos or something. You won't be making assets. Best case scenario you get to know people and perhaps sit in on studio training sessions etc and start to pick things up through exposure and either get offered a junior position in a year or move on to the next place, hopefully by then you've built up a little portfolio.

    use it as an opportunity to gather information, learn and make some friends in the industry :)
  • Kevin Albers
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    Kevin Albers polycounter lvl 12
    It sounds like you didn't make the decision to give you an internship. THEY did. It's up to them to make sense of it.

    It should be somewhat useful to you (or tremendously useful, if you get lucky). Until it starts, just keep learning stuff and practicing. I don't see any need to panic.
  • pior
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    pior ngon master
    Sure enough, if a company is willing to give you an internship, they are also willing to answer your questions about it. Asking them directly is probably going to be more useful than asking the internets :)
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    It sounds like you didn't make the decision to give you an internship. THEY did. It's up to them to make sense of it.

    It should be somewhat useful to you (or tremendously useful, if you get lucky). Until it starts, just keep learning stuff and practicing. I don't see any need to panic.
    i am kind of panicking for the sole reason that i will be sent in paris or london for it, so financially this will hit me.I live in Greece and money is a big issue, salaries are small and chances are, that i wont be able to set aside money for such an internship again for the next decade.

    @pior
    I suppose i can do that, but i wanted to ask people for opinions to have a more solid resolve before i start spouting silly sentences in the company i'll work for 
  • asimonnet
    Paris and London are very, very expensive cities to live in. In my opinion you should ask questions about the offer before considering spending so much money. An AAA studio willing to hire a totally unexperienced intern looks suspicious, even with contacts. 
    Also, if the studio is based in Paris, you should know that unpaid internships above 2 month are illegal in France, so you should ask about the duration and location first.
  • Kevin Albers
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    Kevin Albers polycounter lvl 12
    Paris or London, with you trying to make money in Greece to pay for it? Ack. If it was me, I would probably not accept the internship. If you are good at self-learning, you could improve your skills faster in Greece, on your own.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    Paris or London, with you trying to make money in Greece to pay for it? Ack. If it was me, I would probably not accept the internship. If you are good at self-learning, you could improve your skills faster in Greece, on your own.
    Anyone can use hands on experience. I believe the things i can pick up from there will be a million times more worth than trying to learn them by youtube.Trial and error is always necessary, but better ask a AAA artist in person about stuff. Plus, it will be a MAJOR kickstarter just from writing their name on my resume, which for many reasons i cannot say in this forum. If one in a million chances they like me and decide to extend my time there and work properly? Also it will be a great place to make some connections,whereas sitting at my chair in my house in a country that has no 3d industry (some crappy commercial studios which give 500euro salary) will not give me the most important thing required to get into the industry:Network. 
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    asimonnet said:
    Paris and London are very, very expensive cities to live in. In my opinion you should ask questions about the offer before considering spending so much money. An AAA studio willing to hire a totally unexperienced intern looks suspicious, even with contacts. 
    Also, if the studio is based in Paris, you should know that unpaid internships above 2 month are illegal in France, so you should ask about the duration and location first.

    I have already given a resume of any experience and degrees i have as well as the 3d programs i can use, but no portfolio yet. I've learned in the past couple of years that you need to push some things even when you are not ready, in order to move forward. This is definatelly very stressful, but i have nothing to lose by diving deeper. If at some point they ask me about a portfolio, i hope i have something ready that passes the bar. That is a reason why i made this thread mostly, because i paniced since i have no portfolio to show.
  • Michael_Ingrassia
    Larry,

    I'll add my 2 cents for what its worth. My studio has offered both unpaid and paid internships and they have been very helpful for the selected few we've taken on. Here is the big picture that many who don't run a studio are unaware of.
    There are some very talented juniors out there but their talent stops short at doing their own portfolio work and not working on a team production cycle. Communication (or lack of) is the biggest issue as many have difficulty showing wip progress, speed, asking questions and basically not being an introvert. What most interns quickly realize, and why considering one is a good idea, is that your work (ie: UV layout) is not for you to texture but to be handed off to a texture artist, who will be coming back to you for changes because of issues that dont work well on a particular bake. Same is true with high poly modeling and retopologizing assets. Each department, or stage, requires special skills in a production workflow that honestly is NOT taught in most schools. This is really where you will find out if you have what it takes or not to play with the AAA boys. Some will be supportive, others not so much. Bottom line, I dont care how much work you have created by yourself. Unless you have worked on several "real world" production cycles, you are just a junior in my eyes and possibly even an unpaid intern until you learn the daily workflow and are a viable asset to a team, not a hindrance.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 3

    . Bottom line, I dont care how much work you have created by yourself. Unless you have worked on several "real world" production cycles, you are just a junior in my eyes and possibly even an unpaid intern until you learn the daily workflow and are a viable asset to a team, not a hindrance.
    A lot of game developers here in Toronto graduate from game development schools that have their curriculum designed around a real world production cycle, with many students working with local studio's for course credit.

    Would this count towards them being considered for a position above junior level if their portfolio matches the requirements of the studio?

    I had this thought when looking through the finalists for the Ubisoft Nxt showcase. There were a variety of skill levels among them with some being exceptional, but at the end every winner regardless of their experience was selected as a junior apprentice for entry level pay, when some of them were clearly far more skilled than some of the current hires at the studio.

    For example, if an artist could single handed make an entire biome which is the work of several artists, would they be given that opportunity sooner than later or do they have to reduce their ability to the level of others on the team initially to stay in the company?

    In my experience having an exceptional skill and knowledge has helped within a smaller studio because of which I was able to take on the work on several artists when the studio began losing its regulars (10 - 15 year veterans). I'm curious how this applies in a larger AAA studio.

    Makes me wonder if supply and demand in this case allows a studio to undercut even the very best artists, or rather whether being exceptional really makes a world of a difference when the pipeline at a AAA game studio is extremely rigid. For instance you are a skilled environment artist but the entirety of your job is making very specific rocks.

    I think it really comes down to what you think you're worth and how you negotiate that worth.


  • TeriyakiStyle
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    TeriyakiStyle insane polycounter
    Wow - there's still someone on earth doing free internships.  Always seems scummy to me.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR polycounter lvl 3
    Wow - there's still someone on earth doing free internships.  Always seems scummy to me.
    In some cases this is through a partnership between studio's and a game development school for students, so this has some legitamacy though I think the practice degrades quality over the long term.
    But yes several studios hire graduates for probationary periods that may pay next to nothing. Many of these studios are supported by government grants.
    And what's worse most of the graduates look forward to this, atleast in Ontario.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    NikhilR said:
    Wow - there's still someone on earth doing free internships.  Always seems scummy to me.
    In some cases this is through a partnership between studio's and a game development school for students, so this has some legitamacy though I think the practice degrades quality over the long term.
    But yes several studios hire graduates for probationary periods that may pay next to nothing. Many of these studios are supported by government grants.
    And what's worse most of the graduates look forward to this, atleast in Ontario.
    I would not look forward to go somewhere not being paid, especially in a small studio. I was highly considering this chance because kickstartign from a AAA? Who else could have such an oportunity? This is the only reason i am willing to go there without being paid.
  • slosh
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    slosh interpolator
    Honestly, I would not go to a studio out of your country for an unpaid internship but that's up to you I guess.  You said it was AAA, what studio is it?  I also find it hard to believe a legit studio would really do this...esp considering you have 6 months of experience with 3d and no folio.  I suppose if "working for free" doesn't bother you, go for it.  But you should absolutely temper your expectations about making folio worthy pieces while you are interning there.  If you want a fulltime gig at some point, make awesome 3d pieces in your free time and just learn pipeline while you intern.
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    slosh said:
    Honestly, I would not go to a studio out of your country for an unpaid internship but that's up to you I guess.  You said it was AAA, what studio is it?  I also find it hard to believe a legit studio would really do this...esp considering you have 6 months of experience with 3d and no folio.  I suppose if "working for free" doesn't bother you, go for it.  But you should absolutely temper your expectations about making folio worthy pieces while you are interning there.  If you want a fulltime gig at some point, make awesome 3d pieces in your free time and just learn pipeline while you intern.
    this is what i intend to do :)
  • ToffeeApple
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    ToffeeApple polycounter lvl 5
    I wouldn't say don't do the internship as it could be a really great opportunity for you and get you that foot in the door. As it's at a AAA company that could be really valuable experience. A past company I worked at took on a relative of a client as an intern so I know sometimes the company will do this as a favour to a very important client. Now that is an opportunity that should not be overlooked - as connections can really help in this case. Although I would say commit 110% to it if you are going to do it - the intern I mentioned before at my old studio used to get away with doing very little work due their connections. But this means they didn't get themselves noticed, learn as much and they could and make an impression.

    I wonder if there is a way you could delay doing the internship until you have more of a portfolio and are clear on what you are looking to learn and gain from the experience?
  • Larry
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    Larry polygon
    I wouldn't say don't do the internship as it could be a really great opportunity for you and get you that foot in the door. As it's at a AAA company that could be really valuable experience. A past company I worked at took on a relative of a client as an intern so I know sometimes the company will do this as a favour to a very important client. Now that is an opportunity that should not be overlooked - as connections can really help in this case. Although I would say commit 110% to it if you are going to do it - the intern I mentioned before at my old studio used to get away with doing very little work due their connections. But this means they didn't get themselves noticed, learn as much and they could and make an impression.

    I wonder if there is a way you could delay doing the internship until you have more of a portfolio and are clear on what you are looking to learn and gain from the experience?
    The internship is indeed next year, due to many interns applying already. But it has a date, which may subject to change to either an earlier or later. I will use this time to create some portfolio pieces which will indeed make a different impact than having  nothing at all. I don't understand the intern you are talking about that "got away with doing little work" i mean, do you even go somewhere as an intern to slack off? This sounds very immature, and that person definately doesnt sound like he wants to get a job at all, not just in the industry. Well, going to another country and spending all the money i have set aside working 12 hours per day only to come back with mediocre results, sounds like masochism to me. So not only i plan on asking and doing stuff, i think i will buy a tent and live inside the working environment. I dont have a laptop at the moment so i am trying to find a way to be able to work at home as well. I might buy one in the end if i dont find a solution
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
    Don't sleep inside the office.  Unless you have an extenuating circumstance and clearance with the upper brass, don't tent in the office.
  • Bletzkarn
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    Bletzkarn triangle
    You are an intern, you're not expected to be good or even useful. If they're lucky you'll be able to process some basic textures or models after a couples of weeks.

    I assume you know where you will be working. Look at some of their recent work and try get good at one thing, whether it be enviroment art, material creation, organic modelling, hard surface modelling. If you can just do 1 thing well it will put you above the rest.
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