Those who Aren't in Games but work in 3D professionally, where do you work?

polycounter lvl 8
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Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 8
Hey everyone!

So as the thread title says, I want to hear from the people who don't work in the games industry. Times are tough in and out of the industry and while I will be at GDC trying to get off the unemployed slide (I'm looking for full time work), I know that not everyone here uses their art talents at a game studio. Plus, something stable so I can actually spend time getting somewhere in life and not just scraping by sounds like a good deal to me. So I have a few questions, as I'll be planning my next moves if GDC goes as well as the last two months have gone (poorly).

Where do you work?
What type of 3D work do you do?
Are you generally happy at your job?
What led you to that career path and is there advancement there?

Thanks for taking the time to answer my questions!

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  • Tidal Blast
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    Tidal Blast polycounter lvl 4
    Action figures, Lego, Mega blocks, other toys...
    Ex: http://youtu.be/JCEjRdNXcYY

    Basically, everything that has to do with 3D printing and requires 3D artists. Some people also work in architecture in the sense that they receive a basic 3D model of a building or part of a city and their job it to make eye candy renders by changing the materials, create the lighting, add people in the streets, etc.

    I've heard about army-related jobs as well: 3D vehicles, weapons, training simulators, etc. Not necessarily game related.
  • The Mad Artist
    I'm the lead 3d artist at Forum Energy Technologies doing this stuff:
    http://www.f-e-t.com/our_products_technologies/subsea-solutions/vmax-project-simulator-software/

    Basically it's a video game that trains ROV pilots with multiple scenarios. Developing assets for it is really no different from any type of game art creation. I handle most of the asset creation, but I also do a lot of marketing support throughout the company whether it's engineering animations to provide to clients, or tradeshow videos and renders. So I get to be a jack of all trades at times, going from 3ds Max, to Photoshop, to After Effects, etc.

    Prior to working here, I worked in military and law enforcement simulations for 5 years at this place:
    http://www.lasershot.com/

    We worked in our own proprietary engine, as well as UDK, Unity and VBS2 (Arma). Where I work now is a pretty big company worldwide, but our department itself is rather small, and at my previous place it was the same.

    As for your other questions, am I happy doing simulation work? Yeah I am. Every day it seems I read about more layoffs in the game industry and at my age (34) I'm happy to have stability and the money is good. We actually have a few people from the game industry at both jobs that went into simulation work for that very reason. Granted, I'm not doing crazy cool stuff like some of my friends in games, but honestly I make more and don't have the spectre of layoffs looming over my head. We typically have very short deadlines, as our product is dictated by the customers and what they want and us trying to get a jump on it before our competitors do.

    As for how I got here, right out of college (Art Institute of Houston) one of my instructors put in a good word for me and it seemed like something I would enjoy. As far as advancement goes, I've gotten pay advances every year at both places, and at both places I started as just an artist to a more senior position where I delegated work and had a bit more say in project management and such.
  • D4V1DC
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    D4V1DC polycounter lvl 13
    My last position i worked with casino games doing everything you see in one so u.i. and all that jazz some of them waz me, yaye! So cool right? shit yea, mo'money, mo'money, mo'money!
    I felt like sharing that one, not applicable for your questions though, sry.
  • Steve Schulze
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    Steve Schulze polycounter lvl 13
    I've worked at Global Creature Technology on and off for the last 3 years.
    www.creaturetechnology.com
    I do a lot of creative design stuff - maquettes, organic sculpting of parts for routing, models for patterning. Nothing super technical.

    I'd say I'm far happier working at GCT than I ever was in games. The work is far more interesting and the management is much, much better than any of the games studios I ever worked with.

    One of the leads I worked with at Crystalised, a strange little film studio run by a fellow who was quite literally certifiably insane, went on to be head of digital design at GTC and hired me not long afterwards.

    It's only an intermittent thing - I go in and do the work when they need me and then move on again. One of the reasons I'm studying industrial design now is to broaden my skill-set to the point where they could potentially take me on full time.
  • lukepham101
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    lukepham101 polycounter lvl 7
    Where do you work?

    I've only recently started working as a Technical Artist at a medical company called dorsaVi that does sports training through interactive games. Before that I worked at studio called Catalyst Interactive that did military simulations in CryEngine 3, along with a lot of Unity and pre-rendered stuff for urban visualization.

    What type of 3D work do you do?

    Right now I'm doing pretty much everything since I'm the sole artist at my company. That means being a super generalist in everything, like all characters, environments, animation, rigging, etc. It forces you to wear a lot of hats for sure, and take up a lot of responsibility so it's good. Before that I was working in a big team using CryEngine 3, so that was super fun and a great learning experience, definitely one of the VERY few places in Australia using CryEngine I think.

    Are you generally happy at your job?

    Yeah man, it's good! Flexibility, a lot of creative freedom, nice small environment, there's a lot to like. I really think it's dependent on a lot of different factors besides just the type of work though. For example, they could be working on big name games but it's got shitty management so it just makes the whole experience unenjoyable whereas you could be working at an small company making mobile games but it's got a really nice crew so that makes you like it way better.

    What led you to that career path and is there advancement there?

    It started off trying to find a job doing 3D work wherever I could. Especially with the state of the Australian games industry a lot of people look for different avenues in digital media. I've always loved travelling too so I wanted a means to be able to do that and also still do work I love. As long as I'm working on something in 3D and challenges me both intellectually and creatively, that makes me happy. I think there's always be opportunities for advancement if you prove yourself to be smart, talented and hard working no matter what industry it is.

    Anyways, hope this helps. :)
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 8
    This is awesome, thanks for sharing. Keep it coming, I'm enjoying hearing stories and gathering information.
  • slosh
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    slosh polycounter
    yea, I am interested as well. I have been in the game industry for 8 years but after my last layoff, I'm having an insanely rough time finding a new gig. It's been almost a year and nothing. I'm really hoping to find something soon but with the directions games are going in, I'm very much considering a change of industry...the gaming industry just isn't suited to artists who want a stable job, with a family, and a home.
  • ToffeeApple
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    ToffeeApple polycounter lvl 5
    Where do you work?

    I work as an artist on slot machine games

    What type of 3D work do you do?

    I do a mixture of both 2D and 3D and am a major generalist as I work doing Graphics Design, Illustration, 3D modeling, texturing, animation (both 2D and 3D) and editing. Basically any type of graphics that need doing for slot machine games.

    Are you generally happy at your job?

    Yes - there is a lot of creative freedom and encouragement to produce great looking graphics. The only downside is being stretched too thin and becoming a jack of all trades and a master of none - I imagine this comes with any generalist role though. The company itself is very good to work for - I think this is important in a job.

    Do note I have only worked there for 2 months - but from what I can see as a job it is far more stable than working in games. The Lead Artist has worked in the slot machine gaming industry for 20 years and seems quite settled.

    What led you to that career path and is there advancement there?

    I think it was just by chance when applying for positions that needed an artist with my skillset. I saw the advert and thought it sounded like a good match. I don't know about advancement having not been there long enough.

    I do think it is definitely a good alternative to consider.
  • Rurouni Strife
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    Rurouni Strife polycounter lvl 8
    Slosh, you've been out of work for a year?! Wow. Your work is sick. I wonder how someone like you is falling through the cracks.

    Really glad some strong alternatives are being posted here.
  • skylebones
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    skylebones polycounter lvl 8
    The fact that some of you are still unemployed and struggling to find work is highly concerning. You have great portfolios! This industry is ridiculous sometimes. Thanks for the thread about alternatives jobs. It's eye opening.
  • Dudestein
    Before I started working in games I worked for a company making 3D medical animations for medical device companies.
  • Dave Jr
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    Dave Jr polycounter lvl 4
    3D artist at Setvisions PIX CGI Studio.

    Produce photorealistic images for marketting/advertising. Worked on alot of various stuff whilst there, from arch vis, to interior shots for magazines, to 2 in-house applications. Its extremely laid back, I didn't do any overtime and even when I did and (there were crunch periods don't get me wrong) but it was all paid.

    But yeh its fun and can become repetitive; but I got to work on all sorts of stuff from modelling engine parts, to toilets, to random props. We had stylists that produced concepts and we just modelled/textured and lit them, rendering them out which then went to post production.
  • J0NNYquid
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    J0NNYquid polycounter lvl 5
    Just got my first games job, but before that I was doing heavy equipment simulators.
  • phixel
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    phixel polycounter lvl 5
    Where do you work?
    I work at a company called L-3 Communications that deals in simulation software. Primarily Naval navigation systems, Power Plant control room Simulators, Flight sims, & some contracts with the Canadian Space Agency for a Simulator to train astronauts how to manipulate the Canada Arm on the Internation Space Station. That's more or less an overview of the company, I work in the Space Department, and just recently finished a development of a Sugical Simulator (Small foray into the Medical training Simulator Field).

    What type of 3D work do you do?
    I originally started as an intern (Been working here now for 3 years). My internship was a requirement for graduation in the 3d Art, Animation & Design program I was enrolled in. Upon completion of my 3 month internship, they told me they were very happy with my work and hired me on full time. The Space division at my company is by far the smallest, and during development of the Medical project (when it was in full-swing) there were maybe 6-8 people working on it. There were only 2 of us working on the 3d models for the sim. It really is a 3d generalist position. I was responsible for creating realistic 3d models, textures & animations. As well as interface GUI and inetgrating and testing it all to make sure it worked in the simulator. Aside from the medical project they have me also working on updating models & textures of various components of the space station for the Canada Arm Training Simulator.

    Are you generally happy at your job?
    When I was still in school, I always pictured myself getting a job in the games industry, but the opportunity that I was offered was an unexpected and different direction that was too good to pass up. I enjoy my job, and have learned so much thoughout my time here. I might one day still get a job in the games industry, but for now I'm happy working on my own 3d models of characters and environments on my own time.

    What led you to that career path and is there advancement there?
    I have always been interested in art & design. I studied Industrial Design in college, but unfortunately never pursued a career in that field. Then, a few years after graduating, I re-enrolled at a private school to study 3d Modeling and animation. Now I'm hooked, and know that I've found a career path that really suits me. I feel that if you are passionate about what you do, no matter what field you are working in, there is always room for advancement. Because you are doing something that interests you, learning new techniques and expanding your knowledge becomes more pleasurable and less of a chore.
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