3D Indie Developer...wait now we are 2D?

Hey guys, so I need some helpful advice from anyone, but hopefully people who have experienced the same situation

So in 1 month I will have been employed at a mobile game studio for an entire year straight out of college (woo!). It's been a great place, I love the people I work with, and I know we are a talented bunch that if given the chance and the right direction, we can do some great things. I really felt like this was my company, and I've taken a great deal of pride into it.

Over the past 7 months we have done smaller projects, getting a bit of funding and getting some good stuff for the future coming in, however, our focus on 3D and actually continuing with any 3D projects has pretty much come to a halt. We've had one project planned for a couple months that was going to be 2D, and I'm fine with this. We only have two artists at the moment: a concept artist who knows 3D, and myself a heavily focused 3D artist. I've completed one 2D project that was my first ever at designing UI that was released last year, and I learned a lot from it. I took what I learned and focused it into this coming project, and came up with a result that everyone across the board loved and felt worked really well (and to my dismay, we will not be using; style, layout, colors...nothing of it).

Now it's been discussed that we are switching game engines to compensate for proper 2D (we use Unity3D, and we didn't want the bloat from the engine even though we figured out how to optimize it and get it working great). Ontop of this, the artists are taking a second blow in the fact that we are not to do it in photoshop, but learn how to use Illustrator and learn Flash. I personally have no experience with either, and the other artist has only used them temporarily, and a long time ago.

Since we are an indie studio of less than 20 people, we all have generally had a good say in the company, and are totally encouraged to speak up and voice concerns, problems, and opinions. There was no discussion or proper consultation about changing the work flow, and essentially COMPLETELY changing our job descriptions. We were simply told "this is what we are doing." I fear we only have a job because our boss likes us, and I know it would probably be easier to just let us go and hire 2D graphic/animation artists.


I mean, I know with it being the mobile market that 2D is a pretty big focus for it, but that's not what our studio is, or at least used to be. Has anyone experienced this before and have any advice or opinion about this? I mean, I know learning illustrator and flash could possibly help me down the road, but I literally have zero experience doing any of this. I feel betrayed and am completely overwhelmed and terrified of what the future will bring.
The way I see it, if I don't do well, I'll be replaced. If I DO well, I'm basically putting the nail in the coffin for 3D. I mean I really don't see any 3D projects on the horizons at all. I'm afraid to really bring any of this up to my boss yet, because I don't want to plant any kind of seed in his head that he needs to replace me. I've never really heard of a company completely changing the role of an art team so drastically, and I just don't know what to do :(


Also, don't get me wrong...I'm not trying to complain about having to learn new things...This is just beyond my comfort level by a huge amount, and if things go the way I fear, I don't want to be stuck doing 2D games...I've wanted to make 3D games since I was 12 (I'm 25 this weekend)

Replies

  • Wesley
    Offline / Send Message
    Wesley Polycount Sponsor
    Sounds like you should... leave? I think feeling betrayed is a little over-the-top. It's a company after all and companies change can direction and target new markets. It just seems like your own ambitions, in terms of your day-to-day, just aren't in alignment with the company's anymore. You never mentioned the idea of getting a different job - is this not a possibility for you?
  • Vio
    Offline / Send Message
    Vio polycounter lvl 5
    Personally I think you should just try to be patient and definitely don't risk a debate with your boss about it. The way I see it, is the hand held market is moving so fast and 2d will not always be the norm.

    The bigger picture is that your employed and the longer your there gaining new skills the better your credentials are for bigger and better things in the future. Of course there's nothing to stop you looking for companies fully involved in 3d at any time, better to have the freedom to do that while you have a salary right?
  • JasonLavoie
    Offline / Send Message
    JasonLavoie polycounter lvl 12
    To keep it sweet and to the point (this is gonna be long :) ) - It's great that you have a solid investment in the company you work for, it's also solid that you all can voice your opinions... BUT... if you've done your part in letting the heads know that you are worried with the direction they are taking, and you can't see it changing back to 3D, then do yourself a favour and start beefing up your portfolio and start looking for new opportunities.

    It sounds like to me you are heavily focused on 3D but also take pride in who / what you are working for (which is a plus). I would start looking around and see if there are studios like this who are focusing on 3D, and see if you can get in contact with them.

    The one thing I always try to keep in mind is making sure at the end of the day I still enjoy what I do. When that starts to dip down I first try and ask myself why it's happening. The biggest reason (usually) is that I could be working on something that I'm not %100 into... but what I think make's a valuable artist is having that ability to push through. But there is always going to come a time when simply pushing through isn't cutting it, and I believe that is when it's time to start looking else where for new / exciting opportunities.

    On a side note - Me and a good friend / co-worker had (semi-recently) been through the same situation where we (as prominently focused 3D Artists) were tasked with a good chunk of solid 2D Work for about a month.

    Initially, we were pissed, but we had each other to talk to, and day by day we got through it. Then my co-worker started to point out that we are actually learning some new / valuable skills that we can use later on (which was very true).

    We were miserable, but at the end of the day, we pushed through, and we learned some new things along the way... this was a very important lesson I had to learn (arguably, the hard way :P)


    Anywhoo, sorry for typing up a book here. I feel like we both share the same feeling towards our respected companies (we take pride in what we do, and who we work with), which in turn can actually hurt us even more when we are faced with a change in the direction of our company that we personally think isn't the "correct" way.

    When push comes to shove... do a quick "gut check" and see what you're feeling, and whatever that is, I wish you the best of luck :poly142:

    ALSO... going out with co-workers and talking things out is always a good way to ease stress... and get drunk in the process :thumbup:
  • Two Listen
    Offline / Send Message
    Two Listen polycounter lvl 8
    Take this with a grain of salt, but from my completely lacking in professional experience standpoint, I think you should try to wait it out. You enjoy where you work, you have a company that seems to want to hold on to you (or at least, you're not disposable garbage to them). Not all folk are so lucky.

    I am not a social person, I do not know many people. But the few 3D (and even 2D) artists I do know have all had to diversify in their careers. Concept artists who started as texture artists, 2D folk who discovered amazing skills with sculpting, 3D people who only had jobs to pay their bills because they knew skills outside of what they wanted to do.

    Additionally, I'm pretty sure anyone who's beyond the age of 20 - yourself included, can safely say that pretty much anything you ever consider is both easier (and harder) than you think it will be.

    I think you should try to stick it out, work hard, try to do your best and get as much as you can out of the situation. Don't give up on a 3D career, continue to pursue it, but acknowledge that in this industry especially - being able to fit into different places can help you a whole hell of a lot in the long run. I do definitely think it would be a good idea to start working on your portfolio again, and keep an eye out for potential other places. But at the same time, I would hate to hear you wind up in a position years from now of getting laid off somewhere and wanting like hell to get hired for anything art related.
  • nick2730
    be happy you have a job, many of us still dont. Wait it out
  • [SF]Three9
    really appreciate the feedback everyone. Everything everyone said was great and really helps...responding to each of you specifically would take a lot of text, so I'll just address things generally

    I suppose betrayed isn't really an appropriate word, but there are also other things I can't mention simply because of an NDA and what's currently going.

    I'm sure there are companies around that with my now experience, would love to hire me, but I don't want to leave. As Jason said I'm very invested into my company and I really want to be here.

    I've been essentially doing 2D art since September/October of last year, and I know I have months ahead of me with more 2D, so it's just a bit disheartening not doing what I love. I truly don't feel like I've been able to give my employer 150% because I'm not doing what I'm best at, and it bothers me that I can't shine right now

    I've been doing a lot of characters on the side that I know I can easily add to my portfolio, and with everything I've done I could drastically beef up my portfolio with a lot of ease...so varying up what I'm able to do I know will only increase how valuable I am...just these damn passions that are getting in the way of my focus

    it's really good to hear that, even if any of you may not specifically agree with my specific attitude or point of view, you know where I'm kinda coming from. That alone is enough to help me keep going.

    And yea I was skeptical a bit of even posting this. With all the lay-offs that just happened with recent studios I was afraid of getting "well at least you have a job" ^ lol. Trust me in that aspect I know I'm lucky. Idk, it's like trying to play baseball left handed if you're right handed; you play just fine right handed why bother switching?


    seriously guys, this input really does strike home and it's very appreciated
  • Jason Young
    Offline / Send Message
    Jason Young polycounter lvl 8
    Try to enjoy learning new, marketable skills. Flash and illustrator should both be pretty easy to pickup if you're good with photoshop.

    With that said, start beefing up your portfolio and considering other options. It sounds like the company has a bit of an identity crisis and that doesn't bode well for the future.
  • Seirei
    1) Model and texture 3d models
    2) Render
    3) Use as 2D art

    There are enough games that do this, maybe this helps? :)
  • Ben Apuna
    For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents:

    You're already making 3d artwork outside of work, so use that time to feed your passion for it. Don't give up on 3d since you love it so much. As others have said look around for other places that might be a better fit for you.

    Use the opportunity of getting paid to make 2d art and get better at it. 2d may not be what you want right now, but it will make you a more "well rounded" artist. Years down the road it might even open doors for you that you wouldn't be able to open otherwise by just being a "3d artist".

    I think it's best to not get super emotionally invested in the company you work for no matter how close you are to your boss and coworkers. I think everyone is guilty of this especially with their first job in the industry. Definitely take pride in your work and make friends, but remember that companied come and go, people no matter how valuable can be laid off during bad times. What will stick with you though it all are your skills, so learn as much as you can while you have the opportunity.
  • Snowfly
    Offline / Send Message
    Snowfly polycounter lvl 13
    Been there :) Look at this way, you can either fixate on being a 3D specialist, or the all-terrain quick learner who helped the company move in the direction it needed to.

    Also, even if it's 2D, it's still a job in games. The most miserable I've been was designing UI for a mobile messenger, but I was flush with cash during that period :)
  • Justin Meisse
    Offline / Send Message
    Justin Meisse polycounter lvl 13
    Looking for a new job won't hurt
  • Elyaradine
    Offline / Send Message
    Elyaradine polycounter lvl 8
    Ben Apuna wrote: »
    For what it's worth, here's my 2 cents:

    You're already making 3d artwork outside of work, so use that time to feed your passion for it. Don't give up on 3d since you love it so much. As others have said look around for other places that might be a better fit for you.

    Use the opportunity of getting paid to make 2d art and get better at it. 2d may not be what you want right now, but it will make you a more "well rounded" artist. Years down the road it might even open doors for you that you wouldn't be able to open otherwise by just being a "3d artist".

    I think it's best to not get super emotionally invested in the company you work for no matter how close you are to your boss and coworkers. I think everyone is guilty of this especially with their first job in the industry. Definitely take pride in your work and make friends, but remember that companied come and go, people no matter how valuable can be laid off during bad times. What will stick with you though it all are your skills, so learn as much as you can while you have the opportunity.

    ^ This. Do 3D for yourself. Learn 2D at work to feed your 3D. Make 3D portfolio and leave when you can.
  • Fomori
    Offline / Send Message
    Fomori polycounter lvl 7
    Yeah as mentioned it might be worth talking to your boss about creating 2D formatted renders from your 3D work. Then you get to do the 3D you love while they get the format they need. I work for a company that creates 2D Flash/Illustrator type games and that's what I do. Sometimes they want something to "look 3D" sometimes I have to make my 3D look 2D. It's a fun challenge.

    But if your boss insists you have to use Illustrator and Flash, but you love 3D, I would start looking for a new job and just stay where you are until you get one (never rage quit).
Sign In or Register to comment.