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10 "insider tips" for artists applying to game studios

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PixelMasher veteran polycounter
Hey guys!

So recently I have seen quite a few posts where artists are struggling to get replies to job applications or having a hard time getting their first job. While I have a tendency to drop massive walls of text when/where I can, I thought having an evergreen resource I can simply drop a link to would be more beneficial to everyone involved haha. A lot of the tips could also apply to any artists looking to make a jump to another studio.

So I sat down and wrote out a big post on some of the most heavy hitting points that I keep bringing up over and over. Gavin Goulden  made an awesome post with some common points a while back and I thought I would add my 2 cents into the mix.

As usual, it's a bit of long form content (3k+ words) but I really think anyone struggling or feeling frustrated should take the 5-10 mins to read through it and maybe identify some of their sticking points. It's all based on my experience over the last 10 years, bouncing around the industry in Vancouver and Montreal. 

If you read it, I would love to hear any feedback good or bad on what you thought. If it brings you some form of value or you think it could help someone you know, it would mean the world to me if you shared it :)  Thanks! - Tim

Link to Article (or just click the image) : https://www.polygon-academy.com/10-insider-tips-for-artists-applying-to-game-studios/


Replies

  • CrackRockSteady
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    CrackRockSteady Polycount Sponsor
    Great article Tim.  Well written and you've definitely covered all the big pointers I would give to people trying to break in.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    @CrackRockSteady Thanks for taking the time to read through it :) I'm glad you liked it!
  • Barbarian
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    Barbarian polycounter lvl 10
    Well-written, organized, and presented. Good job and excellent advice.
  • Ashervisalis
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    Ashervisalis veteran polycounter
    Sick write up! It'd be really interesting to see what % of game artists have a job vs. unemployment.
  • Eric Chadwick
    Nice one! Added to the wiki, here.
  • Undertopian
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    Undertopian polycounter lvl 3
    Thank you for writing this article. It makes the games industry seem less like a scary impossibility and more like a high-tier goal that anyone can reach if they put alot of their drive and effort (and time!) into their art and networking skills. I found it to be quite motivating, and it's giving me a better sense of direction on how I should approach this industry. Definitely sharing this with my art friends!
  • Taylor Brown
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    Taylor Brown ngon master
    Agreed @Undertopian, this read has made me want to write down some short, mid and long term goals and the steps I can take to get there. I messaged @PixelMasher saying it felt like I'm at the bottom of a mountain. But like any large task it just needs to be broken into small achievable chunks.
  • beccatherose
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    beccatherose ngon master
    "Your biggest source of competition for job roles isn't your fellow students. It is people already working in the industry." Bless this
  • Doodlok
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    Doodlok interpolator
    This post made me cry..

    Insanely motivational, entertaining and easy to read. I think every student should read this..
  • sacboi
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    sacboi hero character
    Awesome share.  
  • Torch
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    Torch interpolator
    Really great article, kudos to you sir
  • AGoodFella
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    AGoodFella polycounter lvl 5
    Thanks for the awesome advice once again.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    Oh wow! Thanks for all the feedback everyone :) There has been quite a few people sharing the article and saying it helped them which is awesome. Gonna have more content coming out soon.

    @crawl - setting goals and having a long term vision of where you want to be in life is super important. I have all my goals written on a whiteboard in my apartment along with some heavy hitting quotes from people like Schwarzenegger "you can't climb the ladder of success with your hands in your pockets" and Gary V "ideas are worthless, execution is everything" etc. Every morning when I get up I take a quick look at that board while making my coffee. Seeing everything broken down into small chunks helps it not to be so terrifying knowing I'm basically starting from scratch all over, with plenty of new things to learn and accomplish.

    Now to some people that might sound hokey or cheesy as fuck, and I kinda used to feel like that too: worrying about what people would think of me when they visited my place and saw that board, but over the last few years the results have spoken for themselves and no one is laughing. It also helps put things in perspective with this Polygon Academy project so I can realize it is going to take several YEARS minimum to get it to the point I want it to be at. Thinking in 1,2,5 and 10 year increments is a great way to light a fire under your own ass.

  • BrianShray
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    BrianShray polycounter lvl 4
    Thanks for taking the time to make this awesome write up. 
    @PixelMasher > Im in absolute agreement regarding your thoughts on goal setting. I can speak first hand on this. Recently, I was at a crossroads.. I liked my job and i love this industry but I was getting extremely depressed due to lack of goals or milestones in my career and self doubt slowly started to fester.. Its a work in progress, but now I'm slowly starting to setup clearer goals for myself and it has honestly made a huge impact on the way I feel mentally and subsequently physically.
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J high dynamic range
    I appreciate the advice to beginners about revisiting some older models and redoing textures/etc to get them portfolio ready. What a great idea. 




  • Fo062
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    Fo062 polycounter lvl 8

    please listen to my podcast called The Art of Struggle. You can hear about Art, Video games, Movies, Pop culture, Cgi, The industry and much more.  we explore the world of CG pop culture and the people who all make it possible.

    https://itunes.apple.com/us/podcast/the-art-of-struggle/id1333565941


    https://anchor.fm/pixel-sultan/episodes/1698150


  • CrackRockSteady
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    CrackRockSteady Polycount Sponsor
    @Fo062 hey dude, maybe make your own thread to discuss your podcast instead of spamming it in every thread you see.
  • JunkieKong
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    JunkieKong greentooth
    This is a good read, thanks for putting it together! The point about radio silence being a form of feedback is something I'm sure a lot of people need to hear, myself included.
  • Kwramm
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    Kwramm interpolator
    Good read. But I would totally follow up with a studio that's on radio silence for weeks. Thinking "they got their stuff in order - I'm just not good enough" is - apologies - a bit naive. I encountered studios who lost applications, spelt names wrong, offered me wrong jobs or simply forgot to reply during an ongoing recruitment process. Game dev is often chaotic, and HR is no exception.

    If you think your folio is objectively strong, then follow up, because we're all human and mistakes happen. Resumes don't get lost, but they surely get stuck in someone's inbox. E-mails get forwarded to the wrong people. The art director reviewing your work leaves for vacation and totally forgets about your ongoing application. HR is busy and forgets to ever get back to you and skips to the next candidate... it all happens.

    The rest is spot on though - couldn't agree more!

  • pearlzu
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    pearlzu polycounter lvl 7
    Really great tips, thanks for sharing! I'm in a weird position where I've worked for small indie companies for the last 10 years and have become a jack of all trades senior of none. I feel like I'm starting from scratch when I try applying to big studios. I moved my focus from applying to boosting up my portfolio more... and networking!
  • silverpoly
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    silverpoly polycounter lvl 2
    This is a good read. I really need some articles like this right now. This is the type of article you can read over over again to remind yourself of what you really need to focus at. 

    Thank you and keep inspiring. :) 
  • Adi_123
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    Adi_123 polycounter lvl 3
    There is something I'm confused about, so this article says to just use artstation, and a few others told me to just use artstation for my portfolio, but there are some pros and articles say to make your own website. Like, which is it? What should I do? I am so confused. Every industry professional says some something different in that matter so I just decided to have both.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
  • Neox
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    Neox quad damage
    Adi_123 said:
    There is something I'm confused about, so this article says to just use artstation, and a few others told me to just use artstation for my portfolio, but there are some pros and articles say to make your own website. Like, which is it? What should I do? I am so confused. Every industry professional says some something different in that matter so I just decided to have both.
    if you can make a website that is just as easy to access and use as artstation, go for it.
    otherwise just keep it simple, artstation is fine. it's also my preferred portfolio tool to check. 

    in general, the least clicks needed to get to your work, the better
  • Meloncov
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    Meloncov greentooth
    Adi_123 said:
    There is something I'm confused about, so this article says to just use artstation, and a few others told me to just use artstation for my portfolio, but there are some pros and articles say to make your own website. Like, which is it? What should I do? I am so confused. Every industry professional says some something different in that matter so I just decided to have both.
    Anything you read saying to use your own site instead of ArtStation is probably just an old article, written pre-ArtStation. The best case scenario with designing your own website is you spend a lot of time and effort to create something that won't serve you any better than an ArtStation would, worst case it actively repels jobs. 
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher veteran polycounter
    I wrote an entire article on why you should be using artstation, but long story short it's basically for that its easy to use, employers have the ability to follow you and save your work, and the fact that it has the whole social media element to it in that you can gain followers and fans over time that you can leverage into job opportunities or an audience you can provide value to which in turn will pay back to you.

    by participating in the last challenge and providing as much value I could to the community I literally more than doubled my  artstation following and have never had more job opportunities, I literally had 3 on paper job offers to pick and choose from at the same time thanks to the visibility using that platform and community to get eyeballs on my work. 

    i mean of course you don't have to, but there is no real upsides to not using it at this point.

    https://www.polygon-academy.com/why-your-portfolio-needs-to-be-on-artstation/
  • Alex_J
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    Alex_J high dynamic range
    Guy's like Tim aren't preaching a gospel looking for converts. They are sharing what they have found to be true and has helped them achieve success. So it's not a matter of choosing one persons advice over the other, it's just a matter of collecting as much data as you can and then seeing how and where you can apply it to your own situation. 

    All of this good and free advice should be making things more clear, not confusing. If you have a lot of data and aren't sure which is good and which is bad, just try it out and see! Personally, I always try the lesser-effort approach first. So if Tim is saying use artstaion and bob is saying build your own, I'm gonna see what artstation can do for me first since it's easier.
  • Adi_123
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    Adi_123 polycounter lvl 3
    Hey, thanks for the reply guys, I really appreciate it. @PixelMasher all the advice you've provided in the article has been very helpful,  also I probably will just stick with artstation and try to apply for jobs with it and see what happens.
    Again thanks everyone for all of the information and for taking the time to make things clearer for me.
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