Are 3D character artists less in demand than environment artists?

When you go to Artstation it's like... characters everywhere. But I suspect this is a false impression created by the fact that characters are just more impressive. More people have emotional reaction when looking at a character than when looking at a piece of environment. So characters get likes, characters get promoted to the front page. But I'd argue it takes more time to learn how to create characters (anatomy etc.) than to create environment, so it's very implausible that there are more character artists than environment artists. Character artist can create some environment or props when needed, but environment artist without knowledge of anatomy would be absolutely clueless at creating a character.

Therefore there should be more environment artists as it's easier and the demand for character artists should be higher. Is my conclusion true?

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  • TheGabmeister
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    TheGabmeister greentooth
    Demand might vary on location. From where I come from, I'd say both are on equal footing in terms of demand.
  • jakemoyo
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    jakemoyo polygon
    From what I've seen looking for jobs, both are equally in demand and slightly less so than tech artists.
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    well usually about any classic game is ton more environment than characters. so you have a bunch of specialists doing the characters and a horde of environmentartists doing the environment. That said, with games as a service this shifted a fair bit in the recent years and demand for character related work is pretty high on those projects.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    Really depends on the market. Also in many companies there can be considerable overlap between character artist and environment artist responsibilities so there's that aspect to consider.
    With Artstation well, its very difficult to estimate exactly which artwork of a applicant swayed a hiring decision if it actually did. There are several other factors involved in actually employing artists in studios.
  • slosh
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    slosh ngon master
    I would say Character Art is slightly more competitive.  If you think about it logistically, you need more env aritsts than you do character artists for almost any project.  Env art tends to span a much broader discipline as well...level design(although this could fall under design obviously), world building, prop art, lighting, etc.  Character art is pretty focused.  
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    get top tier at any valuable skill and you will always be in high demand, then the overall market becomes pretty much irrelevant.
    Was just wondering if there's a difference to this depending on the freelance work and in studio jobs in the overall market taking into account studio budgets and project requirements.

    Like I've been able to get freelance character work, but my applications in studio don't always seem to process as quickly and there's rarely if ever any feedback to a rejection. Some jobs I applied to simply disappeared the next day and reappeared a week later.

    I do get feedback here on polycount and at networking events so I keep improving and adding to the portfolio allowing me to reapply relatively soon. The quality of ones work is the most controllable factor so it certainly is important to focus on that.

    When I mentioned additional variables that influence the hiring process I was thinking about how significant it is having prior in studio work experience and published game titles to getting hired if you're competing with other artists that have considerably more industry experience in a competitive market.

    So think hundreds of applications to 1 opening, and not every studio having the same budget to hire top tier, or the scope of their projects not requiring that level of quality or experience.  

    Like I did notice that the more competitive the market the idea of being top tier seems to require a few more aspects to push ones application over the finish line than just the quality of their artwork.

    Many artists are focusing on building their brand and developing more exclusive audiences which is a good trend I think. 



  • mikhga
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    mikhga polycounter lvl 8
    NikhilR said:
    Really depends on the market. Also in many companies there can be considerable overlap between character artist and environment artist responsibilities so there's that aspect to consider.

     Out of curiosity, what overlaps are you thinking of between character art and environment art?

    NikhilR said:
    With Artstation well, its very difficult to estimate exactly which artwork of a applicant swayed a hiring decision if it actually did. There are several other factors involved in actually employing artists in studios.

    There are definitely a lot of factors involved in hiring decisions, the portfolio is just one step in the consideration process. In my experience I'd say it's rarely one specific piece of artwork that impacts the process, but rather the whole portfolio that shows an appreciation and passion for the craft, understanding of the processes involved in the specific work that the studio does and artwork that shows that the artist knows what good looks like, which means having a style that is modern and fresh, and not outdated and also isn't a blatant copy of what everyone else is doing, showing some kind of artistic identity.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    mikhga said:
    NikhilR said:
    Really depends on the market. Also in many companies there can be considerable overlap between character artist and environment artist responsibilities so there's that aspect to consider.

     Out of curiosity, what overlaps are you thinking of between character art and environment art?

    NikhilR said:
    With Artstation well, its very difficult to estimate exactly which artwork of a applicant swayed a hiring decision if it actually did. There are several other factors involved in actually employing artists in studios.

    There are definitely a lot of factors involved in hiring decisions, the portfolio is just one step in the consideration process. In my experience I'd say it's rarely one specific piece of artwork that impacts the process, but rather the whole portfolio that shows an appreciation and passion for the craft, understanding of the processes involved in the specific work that the studio does and artwork that shows that the artist knows what good looks like, which means having a style that is modern and fresh, and not outdated and also isn't a blatant copy of what everyone else is doing, showing some kind of artistic identity.
    I was meaning in environments with many sculptural pieces, like elaborate fountains with human creature sculptures mostly.
    In that sense you may need to get a character artist into the environment team for this responsibility working alongside them for that task.
    Depends on the studio size, project work and resources they have to work with.

    As for portfolio's I personally try to look for the best in even the worst piece, rather than declaring the artist as a bad artist because of what I feel is his worst piece. Not that I don't understand what constitutes bad art, I'm more inclined to want to know the person behind the art. 
    Like I love cool3Dworld which has incredibly horrifying art, or the work of David O Reilly. 

    If I were to judge them by their worst pieces (not next gen, didn't use PBR, anatomy sucks, doesn't use artstation) without understanding where they're coming from, they would likely never be hired anywhere, and we'd miss out on working with some really great personalities that could impact a studio in ways most artists that go by the book likely won't be able to.

    But of course it follows that for a job at a studio (especially that 1st job) you should meet their requirements to the best of your ability. And in most AAA you are likely only supposed to focus on the task your assigned. That said its a competitive market so it certainly isn't kind to everyone, I tend to feel that the time is money adage does leave a lot of potential by the wayside.


  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I think I understand where you are coming from, @NikhilR . From the perspective of the job candidate looking for employment, you view the company as a thing which serves your needs (and the needs of the your peers.) This is the way I like to look at things to. We form  companies to serve our needs as humans. Making money for the sake of making money isn't necessarily serving our needs as humans, and certainly the notion of endless growth is actively harming us as a species. It's unsustainable.

    But for the person doing the hiring -- whose job it is to serve the company -- I think it's mostly about risk aversion. There is a lot of risk involved in a game project, especially big scale AAA ones. The fact that you see a lot of huge ones flopping pretty regularly just goes to show it's not a sure science. People don't take risk if they are afraid of failure. They play it safe. So if you are looking at two job candidates and one has a tighter portfolio presentation, or has a recommendation from somebody you know and trust, it's just less risky to go with that candidate. And of course there is always endlessly complex human politics at play. You can't take that out of anything. Only thing you can do is try to understand people better.

    TBH, I don't think the corporate environment is appropriate for everybody. I think being keen on fairness and putting focus on serving peoples needs before profit is a good thing and could probably make you a great leader some day, but that's not the type of personality that dominates the corporate world. You might find yourself struggling to fit in. But, you don't really know until you try I  suppose.




  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    I think I understand where you are coming from, @NikhilR . From the perspective of the job candidate looking for employment, you view the company as a thing which serves your needs (and the needs of the your peers.) This is the way I like to look at things to. We form  companies to serve our needs as humans. Making money for the sake of making money isn't necessarily serving our needs as humans, and certainly the notion of endless growth is actively harming us as a species. It's unsustainable.

    But for the person doing the hiring -- whose job it is to serve the company -- I think it's mostly about risk aversion. There is a lot of risk involved in a game project, especially big scale AAA ones. The fact that you see a lot of huge ones flopping pretty regularly just goes to show it's not a sure science. People don't take risk if they are afraid of failure. They play it safe. So if you are looking at two job candidates and one has a tighter portfolio presentation, or has a recommendation from somebody you know and trust, it's just less risky to go with that candidate. And of course there is always endlessly complex human politics at play. You can't take that out of anything. Only thing you can do is try to understand people better.

    TBH, I don't think the corporate environment is appropriate for everybody. I think being keen on fairness and putting focus on serving peoples needs before profit is a good thing and could probably make you a great leader some day, but that's not the type of personality that dominates the corporate world. You might find yourself struggling to fit in. But, you don't really know until you try I  suppose.




    Well said, its important to look at all the factors that influence hiring processes. 

      Of course studios do value how good you are, but you never really stop learning and a lot of the work is collaborative. This is why there is such a stark difference between what's in a portfolio prior to joining a studio and after joining it. 

       Since you're not making the whole game single handed, you'd won't likely get your hands on game assets to take home and present like you did personal art.

       In this case your game credit matters more, and when you leave to join elsewhere that becomes very relevant. And once armed with that you'd be competing with fresh graduates, so does their top tier work, top your game credit and industry experience in every case?
       
         There does seem to be a difference between top tier artwork and top tier applicant, and that is something that isn't stated enough I feel especially in cases where they are competing for the same roles. 
     
         Like in many other industries, there is such a thing as over qualified, and those candidates likely have to consider taking a step down to avail of opportunities. 
         I'm certain it applies here also. Add to that factors specific to studios and a lot of the hiring process can be considerably subjective.
        What I find lacking is transparency, with the total onus of a rejection (rather being ghosted) usually being placed on the applicant and their work, which is one major reason why 95% of my graduating class gave up (and a few even considered suicide)

       I do agree that it is of course important to strive for the best in yourself as an artist since that's the one thing the applicant can usually control fully, perhaps not everyone is cut out for the struggle and sacrifice even if it very nearly cost them their life.
     Probably just the doctor in me caring about the humanity behind applications.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Yeah, I am turned off by companies that ghost applicants. I don't care if recruiter is busy. I am busy too. Everybody is fucking busy. It takes a lot of time to fill out applications, not to mention the time you spend researching and finding companies to apply to in the first place. If company doesn't make the effort to be thoughtful and polite to people putting in applications, it gives me an impression that they don't value people. Not a company I have interest working for.

    But... I am secure financially. Partly due to luck, partly do to good decision making. A lot of people aren't. Probably your classmates who felt so defeated to consider suicide didn't have any financial security. That stress along with a feeling like people don't have enough basic respect to acknowledge your existence when you send them a job application is probably overwhelming for a young person trying to figure out their place in the world.

    The real shame about these people quitting is that they've lost a fantastic opportunity for self expression and fulfillment. I'm not a blame the victim type, but probably the biggest factor that is under these peoples control is that they had the wrong attitude about their art to begin with. It must be pursued for your own enjoyment, not as a means to gain validation from society. The people who hold power in society -- by and large -- are massive fuckwits who would eat their own children if it turned a profit. You don't need approval from people like this.

    If more job applicants can first get themselves financially stable so that they can pick and choose where they work, this "prove yourselves to us, you worms" attitude will disappear. But nobody is going to learn a thing if the same myths keep perpetuating that these are "dream jobs" and "you just got to get your foot in the door." And the larger issue is the basic structure of how corporations work, treating workers as a commodity. If young person doesn't understand that they are gonna be in for a real disappointment, even if they don't understand what exactly is going on. I'm generally in complete agreement with everything @PixelMasher post and a big fan of his learning content he's been putting out, but the simple fact is that not everybody has the right conditions to become the next Grassetti. It's just not realistic. Everybody should try, and give themselves every opportunity they can, but an industry can't sustain itself with an attitude where on one hand you demand top tier talent and on the other you toss people away every time greedy executives fuck shit up. People have to be respected -- everybody not just the top tier talent. Only way this will happen is either by government regulation or by collective education. Both are very possible. It's not different than controlling birth rates. Where ever women gain education, birth rate plummets. It's a sure science. Same will be true of the entertainment industry. When workers understand how the system works and what their role in the larger picture is, the bloodsuckers will have to play it straight. It's a repeating story throughout history.

    My solution, either work for yourself, or suck it up, put in a few years of sacrifice, make friends, save money, learn to be a leader, and start your own business where you can treat people with the respect they deserve and structure your organization on long term sustainability, not short term profits that fuck everyone else over.





  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    The ones that considered ending their life were actually the most passionate I found and so felt the greatest pressure, especially when they were rejected in favor of others who clearly weren't as passionate as they were and even they knew that their art was not the only criteria that got them hired.
    Honestly anyone could see that, but so many didn't want to and just kept going burning themselves out.

    Personally I've always felt it best to compare with yourself and improve gradually, and being financially secure is a given, but for many artists comparing with other artists is to them the best way to learn and improve but it does hit ones self confidence pretty severely for some.

    But more than this, its the impression that the industry gives them that pushes them over the edge. Its really just PR and I understand why companies do it, though sometimes I'm not entirely sure if its necessary if there is a lot of demand already coming their way. 

    Like are they attempting to get the best talent from the graduate pool or tempting people with jobs to leave their companies? (That is actually considered impolite in my home country where you usually stay with a company for life to grow with it as family)

    The worst of this I've seen is at student contests in cities where there are many game dev schools providing ample cannon fodder to exploit.

    What makes it more challenging is that the ones that do get in and experience the reality can't say anything publicly so basically end up perpetuating the illusion.

    Not so say that every company is like this, but I've always felt there is a better way for both artists and companies to work together, maintain reasonably high standards in hiring and be fair to candidates with potential. 

    Then it becomes a matter of selecting the best person, not just the best character or environment artist number so and so for the job followed by layoff after layoff.






  • mikhga
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    mikhga polycounter lvl 8
    NikhilR said:
    I think I understand where you are coming from, @NikhilR . From the perspective of the job candidate looking for employment, you view the company as a thing which serves your needs (and the needs of the your peers.) This is the way I like to look at things to. We form  companies to serve our needs as humans. Making money for the sake of making money isn't necessarily serving our needs as humans, and certainly the notion of endless growth is actively harming us as a species. It's unsustainable.

    But for the person doing the hiring -- whose job it is to serve the company -- I think it's mostly about risk aversion. There is a lot of risk involved in a game project, especially big scale AAA ones. The fact that you see a lot of huge ones flopping pretty regularly just goes to show it's not a sure science. People don't take risk if they are afraid of failure. They play it safe. So if you are looking at two job candidates and one has a tighter portfolio presentation, or has a recommendation from somebody you know and trust, it's just less risky to go with that candidate. And of course there is always endlessly complex human politics at play. You can't take that out of anything. Only thing you can do is try to understand people better.

    TBH, I don't think the corporate environment is appropriate for everybody. I think being keen on fairness and putting focus on serving peoples needs before profit is a good thing and could probably make you a great leader some day, but that's not the type of personality that dominates the corporate world. You might find yourself struggling to fit in. But, you don't really know until you try I  suppose.




     In this case your game credit matters more, and when you leave to join elsewhere that becomes very relevant. And once armed with that you'd be competing with fresh graduates, so does their top tier work, top your game credit and industry experience in every case?
       
         There does seem to be a difference between top tier artwork and top tier applicant, and that is something that isn't stated enough I feel especially in cases where they are competing for the same roles. 

    What you have to remember is that hiring is never black or white. There's no flowchart that dictates what portion of a candidates background and application weighs the most. It completely depends on what the studio and the project needs at the point of hiring and whether that necessitates an experienced individual or not. The portfolio is of course the easiest way to assess a candidate's suitability for a role but what makes a portfolio "good" isn't just how shiny it is but also showing that you are keeping the big picture in mind. Portfolios from recent graduates can often look very naive and run-of-the-mill, which for a junior role may be perfectly fine. Whereas a more experienced candidate will have a better understanding of what's important to make a character or environment visually pleasing whilst showing that the artist took both time and technical restraints into consideration, which is what you want from a more senior artist.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    mikhga said:
    NikhilR said:
    I think I understand where you are coming from, @NikhilR . From the perspective of the job candidate looking for employment, you view the company as a thing which serves your needs (and the needs of the your peers.) This is the way I like to look at things to. We form  companies to serve our needs as humans. Making money for the sake of making money isn't necessarily serving our needs as humans, and certainly the notion of endless growth is actively harming us as a species. It's unsustainable.

    But for the person doing the hiring -- whose job it is to serve the company -- I think it's mostly about risk aversion. There is a lot of risk involved in a game project, especially big scale AAA ones. The fact that you see a lot of huge ones flopping pretty regularly just goes to show it's not a sure science. People don't take risk if they are afraid of failure. They play it safe. So if you are looking at two job candidates and one has a tighter portfolio presentation, or has a recommendation from somebody you know and trust, it's just less risky to go with that candidate. And of course there is always endlessly complex human politics at play. You can't take that out of anything. Only thing you can do is try to understand people better.

    TBH, I don't think the corporate environment is appropriate for everybody. I think being keen on fairness and putting focus on serving peoples needs before profit is a good thing and could probably make you a great leader some day, but that's not the type of personality that dominates the corporate world. You might find yourself struggling to fit in. But, you don't really know until you try I  suppose.




     In this case your game credit matters more, and when you leave to join elsewhere that becomes very relevant. And once armed with that you'd be competing with fresh graduates, so does their top tier work, top your game credit and industry experience in every case?
       
         There does seem to be a difference between top tier artwork and top tier applicant, and that is something that isn't stated enough I feel especially in cases where they are competing for the same roles. 

    What you have to remember is that hiring is never black or white. There's no flowchart that dictates what portion of a candidates background and application weighs the most. It completely depends on what the studio and the project needs at the point of hiring and whether that necessitates an experienced individual or not. The portfolio is of course the easiest way to assess a candidate's suitability for a role but what makes a portfolio "good" isn't just how shiny it is but also showing that you are keeping the big picture in mind. Portfolios from recent graduates can often look very naive and run-of-the-mill, which for a junior role may be perfectly fine. Whereas a more experienced candidate will have a better understanding of what's important to make a character or environment visually pleasing whilst showing that the artist took both time and technical restraints into consideration, which is what you want from a more senior artist.
         i see many senior portfolios dont seem to follow the same rules for graduate portfolios.
         Several simply have shots from games worked on with the usual this was a collaborative effort, i worked on so and so.
        Like im certain that the more competant recruiters do go into the details, but is ones level of seniority only judged on ones portfolio of work in this case or work experience?
        Is it a combination of the two that makes someone top tier? 
         Do candidates get sidelined because they dont have game credits or dont know someone and is it always the case that having top tier work makes both of these aspects irrelevant in everycase, because i certainly havent see that happening.
          I know a few senior aritsts that have work that does not seem up to the standard of the rest of their work on their portfolios.
        Using the you're only as good as your worst artwork logic should a company reject them instantly? Or are they allowed some leeway because of their seniority and work experience.
        If were willing to see the best in them why not junior artists?   

        Well ideally that is how recruitment ought to occur but several companies dont even give out arttests to assess candidates forget feedback.

         Games dont always turn out the way theyre expected, given the most recent releases from several top studios, which makes me wonder if that was because of mismanagement or having a studio run by juniors.

        All i mean is that it isnt fair to put everything on the art and portfolio when hiring, by ignoring the person behind the art and their experiences you lose out on a lot of potential which is something I feel needs changing.
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    A junior is always an investment, the market is full of ok-good juniors, so of course people go by the best portfolios first. But don't underestimate the influence of interviews. They are important to the junior as much as to the senior.

    At one point tho it is very likely more word of mouth and portfolio followed by that. But if you do not fit the team, neither a great portfolio, nor who you know will help. If the people onsite don't feel you are a fit, all that doesnt matter. But at that level, there will be other teams where it works out.

    The Senior examples you gave are cases where the NDA of your employer is very strict. But usually those guys have public and non public portfolios. Everyone in the Industry knows how it works and it is usually not just the screenshots posted to the public.




  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    Neox said:
    A junior is always an investment, the market is full of ok-good juniors, so of course people go by the best portfolios first. But don't underestimate the influence of interviews. They are important to the junior as much as to the senior.

    At one point tho it is very likely more word of mouth and portfolio followed by that. But if you do not fit the team, neither a great portfolio, nor who you know will help. If the people onsite don't feel you are a fit, all that doesnt matter. But at that level, there will be other teams where it works out.

    The Senior examples you gave are cases where the NDA of your employer is very strict. But usually those guys have public and non public portfolios. Everyone in the Industry knows how it works and it is usually not just the screenshots posted to the public.




    Totally, I am aware that what seniors take to an interview is different than what is publicly posted. I'm not entirely certain if recruiters do go by the best portfolio's first, and if that is what grants the interview or word of mouth/ games released/previous industry experience does that.

    I've felt that getting a chance to interview instead of being ghosted would give the recruiter a more complete picture, but since it may not come to that how would they know if I'd be a good fit?
    Its why I prefer to actually meet recruiters as networking events so there's the actual human element involved. 

    I just feel that many candidates get eliminated way too soon, every potential employee ought to be seen as an investment for their potential regardless of their seniority, that is what good companies do.
    Are most rejections/ghosting owing to a persons portfolio and ability, or is the reason by comparison with other applicants alone?

    Also most companies have probationary periods where the good fit aspect becomes becomes more clear to the entire team in the actual studio environment. 

    And in the case of seniors I'm certain that game's worked on is what secures an interview and a recruiter attempting to poach you from your current workplace. 

    I find art tests to be the best way to cut through that disparity, obviously for a senior they do get considerable leeway in that matter too.

    But as you said things can work out where you are a good fit.
    What I find missing in the case of people not at the front of the line and not being approached by recruiters because of lack of rockstar status, is involving them to know if they would be a good fit rather than dismissing them on assumptions with the standard rejection letter with magically disappears the moment you have someone on the inside. 
    That aspect makes me wonder on the actual significance of ones portfolio. (shouldn't stop an artist from bettering themselves for their sake mind you)

    I just don't really get the flat advice of "the reason you're not getting work is because you're not as good as Rafael Grasseti" especially if you're just starting out, since from everything I have seen, I know that isn't true.
    Improving your work certainly improves your chances of getting hired, but each company has different requirements which do seem considerably fluid in their interpretation. 

    Like I understand the logic behind it, its a kind of positive encouragement but its totally unrealistic considering there are so many other factors involved in the hiring process.
     If great quality is all that's expected, maybe liquidate a north american studio of every single artist and fill it with those hotshots from china working in outsourcing factories that kill it on artstation posting top tier work every week. 

    I'm sure the visa's for these people will likely fall out of the sky because of how good they are, and companies would love to pay them top wages rather than go with what they are being paid right now though their outsourcing firms.

    This also explains the significant pay disparity between artists that work for outsourcing companies who are likely toptier but could never dream of commanding any price they want owing to factors out of their control. Maybe they can as freelancers, hence my wanting more clarification on the matter of top tier art on the overall market.

    Maybe we as artists are digging ourselves into a deeper hole, assuming that companies know exactly what they want, being totally in sync with the PR released to the public and the artist has only himself to blame in every single case?
    I do understand that its the way the market is, but doesn't really have to be that way I feel.

    There are a few companies who have done away with junior/senior levels internally because of the way they work, that's a good step forward I feel.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher insane polycounter
    * mega post inbound :P *

    I never said you have to be at raf grassettis level to get a job or have a hope of getting a job, I said thats what top tier talent looks like, and the closer you can get your skills to that level the easier things become. A lot of artists work hits the "ok" bar of quality and they struggle while not focusing on improving their key skillset very far, sometimes it's because they havent developed the overall eye for what looks good or figured out how to get their work to the next level by focusing on things like faces looking amazing and balance of details for character artists, or proper composition and scene layout for environment artists etc

    as for being judged on your weakest piece, yea that's just a fact of life. With so many applicant portfolios to review, the multiple people in the chain looking through it all dont have time to play guessing games as to why it sucks or what was going on with the artist behind the scenes. If it's bad enough to not hit the expected level of quality, and the artist doesn't have the self awareness to remove it from their portfolio, that's a big red flag that shows they haven't fully developed the ability to discern what looks pleasing to the eye, and what doesn't. The ammount of times I have seen applicants with really nice work in their portfolio and then 1-2 meh pieces, as the discussion about that artists between descision makers ends its usually "yea thats cool, but those couple pieces...eh add them to the maybe pile" and the maybe pile just never gets looked through again. The "fuck yea! we gotta get this person in for an interview, their work is amazing" pile is what you want to be in. 

    The lack of feedback from game studios to applicants is usually just based on the fact that there is 2-3 people managing the hiring process and they just don't have the time for individual feedback. If every applicant takes an hour to go through their resume, look at their portfolio, forward it to the required leads/decision makers, get that feedback etc etc there just isn't time to write an email or message back to everyone saying you didn't make it or this portfolio piece is what made us say no to the applicant etc. If you are getting ghosted or not hearing replies to your applications, it means people are consistently passing on you. I would say a studio can filter through that process with 3-5 applicants a day who's portfolio is good enough to not be an immediate pass from HR/producers and even get to be reviewed by the art team. but every day there is 10-100 applicants depending on the studio.

    The biggest thing you can do to fix that is drastically change what you are applying with, in terms of subject matter, relevance to the studio and quality. re-applying with 1 new piece but still having the same old work in the portfolio isn't going to do much to save the day unfortunately. Especially if you haven't taken out the older work that's not up to industry quality, its a reminder of that artist you passed on before "oh yea, its the guy with the jank ass inspector gadget" or "oh yea its that one with that cartoon mario scene" and then it's usually a hard pass, sometimes before even seeing the new work. 

    yes different studios have different budgets and that impacts the talent they can get, but they always want to get the best they can for their budget. like an indie studio trying to get a really great senior artist without making them an insane offer in terms of salary just isn't gonna happen usually, so they move on to the next best, then the next, unitl they get someone whos great but fits their budget. they are not just gonna be like "well this person looks like the could be promising and we might be able to train them up, lets give them a shot and hope for the best". They are looking to hire people that clearly can give them the results they want with minimal hand holding or supervision.

    long story short, your portfolio needs to remove as many unanswered questions for the job/studio you are applying to. Companies dont sit there philosophically thinking about whats going on with potential employees lives or what they might be able to bring to the table if they dig deeper. There just isn't time for that, or why should they? If the value proposition isn't clear from the get go, why bother proceeding?

    Why would Blizzard waste time on going deeper with an artist applying with a photoreal portfolio, even if it is badass, if the project they are hiring for is their usual stylized look?  it's just unanwsered questions right off the bat as if that artist is even comfortable doing stylized work or has that ability. expecting blizzard to reach out with an email asking that basic question when the portfolio answer it is ridiculous. they just move on to the next actually relevant applicant.

    A prime example is with that fake left4dead trailer that just came out. It looked amazing and was shared around our studio slack like crazy. A couple weeks later, it came out that is was actually done by a group of students at one of the art schools here in montreal. This was a bit of a shock, and during the career fair at that school, our studio quickly snapped up a couple of the artists from that. they blew away the expected level of quality right out the gate, exceeded expectations of what a student/junior and had a great portfolios. they over delivered and in turn were instantly snapped up and hired. 

    https://youtu.be/U45KPDpAuHE

    ^That is a great example of a "no brainer" hire when it comes to student work, and a good indication of the level of competition out there.the biggest thing is everyone thought it was industry work, it didn't look like your typical "student/junior" level output. If I held that up next to any current gen game it would match the quality level or exceed it in some cases. 

     of course having shipped titles can help you out, but we have hard passed on plenty of artists with shipped titles because their portfolios sucked or were not clear in what they actually could bring to the table in terms of skills and ability. Your portfolio is hands down the most important part of the puzzle, atleast 80% of it I would say. Having a fancy resume full of shipped titles can sometimes "trick" HR/Producers, but that all falls apart the second an artist or lead reviews the applicants portfolio, if that sucks upon first glance, it's a pass. You could have God of War on your resume but if all you did was clean up collision bugs and your portfolio that doesn't demonstrate a high level art skillset, it doesn't really do shit for you.

    Seeing as portfolio quality is 80-90% of the equation, and also the one thing you have total control over, you should be focusing all your energy on that. 
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    great post Tim, that all makes sense.

    I only have one suggestion. HR departments need to take a little time to develop applications that can auto-send out rejection emails. I have applied to only a few companies, but one of them seemed to have this process and it's the only company I will reapply to later when I have the proper portfolio for it. In one sentence it explained my portfolio didn't match their needs, and they thanked me for my time and to feel free to reapply in the future with an updated portfolio. It was clearly a standardized email, but it tells me that this company has at least the notion to pretend to give a shit about people. And that's better than nothing.

    So the application can have a few standard reasons for rejection and all HR persons got to do is check a box like "portfolio not up to standard," "content inappropriate for job", "not enough experience," etc. They are making these decisions anyway right? So it's a bit of work for a programmer to build the app, but after that all you got to do is check a box and what happens then is rejected applicant gets a good impression about the company despite rejection and is more motivated to improve and try again.

    Prerequisite is that the company actually has to have a philosophy of giving a shit about people in the first place. But why do that? What's the incentive? Well, I don't think it takes a genius to see the connection between building loyalty in your work force and long term sustainability of the company.

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    * mega post inbound :P *
    I never said you have to be at raf grassettis level to get a job or have a hope of getting a job, I said thats what top tier talent looks like, and the closer you can get your skills to that level the easier things become. A lot of artists work hits the "ok" bar of quality and they struggle while not focusing on improving their key skillset very far, sometimes it's because they havent developed the overall eye for what looks good or figured out how to get their work to the next level by focusing on things like faces looking amazing and balance of details for character artists, or proper composition and scene layout for environment artists etc

    as for being judged on your weakest piece, yea that's a fact. With so many applicant portfolios to review, the multiple people in the chain looking through it all dont have time to play guessing games as to why it sucks or what was going on with the artist behind the scenes. If it's bad enough to not hit the expected level of quality, and the artist doesn't have the self awareness to remove it from their portfolio, that's a big red flag that shows they haven't fully developed the ability to discern what looks pleasing to the eye, and what doesn't. The ammount of times I have seen applicants with really nice work in their portfolio and then 1-2 meh pieces, as the discussion about that artists between descision makers ends its usually "yea thats cool, but those couple pieces...eh add them to the maybe pile" and the maybe pile just never gets looked through again. The "fuck yea! we gotta get this person in for an interview, their work is amazing" pile is what you want to be in. 

    The lack of feedback from game studios to applicants is usually just based on the fact that there is 2-3 people managing the hiring process and they just don't have the time for it. if every applicant takes an hour to go through their resume, look at their portfolio, forward it to the required leads/decision makers, get that feedback etc etc there just isn't time to write an email or message back to everyone saying you didn't make it or this portfolio piece is what made us say no to the applicant etc. If you are getting ghosted or not hearing replies to your applications, it means people are consistently passing on you. I would say a studio can filter through that process with 3-5 applicants a day who's portfolio is good enough to not be an immediate pass from HR/producers and even get to be reviewed by the art team. but every day there is 10-100 applicants depending on the studio.

    The biggest thing you can do to fix that is drastically change what you are applying with, in terms of subject matter, relevance to the studio and quality. re-applying with 1 new piece but still having the same old work in the portfolio isn't going to do much to save the day unfortunately. Especially if you haven't taken out the older work that's not up to industry quality, its a reminder of that artist you passed on before "oh yea, its the guy with the jank ass inspector gadget" or "oh yea its that one with that cartoon mario scene" and then it's usually a hard pass, sometimes before even seeing the new work. 

    yes different studios have different budgets and that impacts the talent they can get, but they always want to get the best they can for their budget. like an indie studio trying to get a really great senior artist without making them an insane offer in terms of salary just isn't gonna happen usually, so they move on to the next best, then the next, unitl they get someone whos great but fits their budget. they are not just gonna be like "well this person looks like the could be promising and we might be able to train them up, lets give them a shot and hope for the best". They are looking to hire people that clearly can give them the results they want with minimal hand holding or supervision.

    long story short, your portfolio needs to remove as many unanswered questions for the job/studio you are applying to. Companies dont sit there philosophically thinking about whats going on with potential employees lives or what they might be able to bring to the table if they dig deeper. There just isn't time for that, or why should they? If the value proposition isn't clear from the get go, why bother proceeding?

    Why would Blizzard waste time on going deeper with an artist applying with a photoreal portfolio, even if it is badass, if the project they are hiring for is their usual stylized look?  it's just unanwsered questions right off the bat as if that artist is even comfortable doing stylized work or has that ability. expecting blizzard to reach out with an email asking that basic question when the portfolio answer it is ridiculous. they just move on to the next actually relevant applicant.

    A prime example is with that fake left4dead trailer that just came out. It looked amazing and was shared around our studio slack like crazy. A couple weeks later, it came out that is was actually done by a group of students at one of the art schools here in montreal. This was a bit of a shock, and during the career fair at that school, our studio quickly snapped up a couple of the artists from that. they blew away the expected level of quality right out the gate, exceeded expectations of what a student/junior and had a great portfolios. they over delivered and in turn were instantly snapped up and hired. 

    https://youtu.be/U45KPDpAuHE

     of course having shipped titles can help you out, but we have hard passed on plenty of artists with shipped titles because their portfolios sucked or were not clear in what they actually could bring to the table in terms of skills and ability. Your portfolio is hands down the most important part of the puzzle, atleast 80% of it I would say. Having a fancy resume full of shipped titles can sometimes "trick" HR/Producers, but that all falls apart the second an artist or lead reviews the applicants portfolio, if that sucks upon first glance, it's a pass. You could have God of War on your resume but if all you did was clean up collision bugs and your portfolio that doesn't demonstrate a high level art skillset, it doesn't really do shit for you.

    Seeing as portfolio quality is 80-90% of the equation, and also the one thing you have total control over, you should be focusing all your energy on that. 
    I think the most of what's needed is transparency on the hiring process. Like this is the sort of info I would expect to get from a company since it provides more perspective on what is expected.

    Going forward would it then be better then to release collaborative cinematic work like the trailer and have it go viral to get the attention of a studio?
    What about candidates that haven't made a full cinematic but do demonstrate aspects of the pipeline that are relevant to what the studio is looking for.
    Would they need to make a group cinematic with other rejected candidates to cross the gate? 

    I understand not having enough man power or time to give feedback, but I wonder if that is something that should change.
    Like if a discussion is actually underway perhaps it may be possible to pass along the results to the candidate rather than ghost them and let them figure things out on their own.

    Its fair to say that the applicant should know better given the market and be able to guess what the studio is working on and the quality they expect.

        But not every studio is clear about what exactly they want, like with regards to the studio you are currently at, after now knowing who has been hired I have a better idea at what is being worked on in terms of quality (well at least I think I do) but otherwise I can only assume by looking at previous games (totally different in style and aesthetic from the cinematic) and any seniors at the company which shows a wide variety of skill sets and experience levels.

    The advertisement itself is quite general in whats expected from candidates and I've seen this to be the case with many studios. Like the impression I get is that the company is looking for someone that's capable in the pipeline and has an understanding of the programs. 

    This bit for instance,

    "Undertake a wide variety of projects and challenges related to game characters that will vary in scope, art-style, fidelity, game engine and genre"

    doesn't tell me if a particular style is preferred over others, only that variety is expected. 

    What I mean is that if a candidate is expected to figure out what a studio wants from this, there's going to be a lot of subjectivity and speculation in the hiring process.
    There's also the requirement of a shipped game title but this seems flexible.

    To remedy this I connect through linkedin with recent hires and employees or at times I have made studio visits if a studio allows this, to meet with artists directly and get more insight on the work they're actually doing to understand what my responsibilities will be when I'm actually working. 
    NDA's do make that difficult, though some studios do have waivers you can sign.

    I just feel that maybe its important to see past the art when it comes to a long term potential and the impact a candidate would have on the overall development of a studio and its personnel, maybe its just not something that happens in the game industry where candidates are hired for a task and then usually left to fend for themselves if a company folds. 
    I do find freelance to be more forgiving atleast in my experience.

    Like this cutthroat approach does ship titles, but I'm still not certain if this is the best thing for the industry going forward since we end up looking for the worst in people simply to arrive at who's good through eliminating others. 

    I'm certain not every studio works this way. I could never personally judge a candidate so mercilessly simply based on their work, unless it was an art-test that was the same for all of them. 
    That I feel provides the best insight to knowing what a candidate can do within set guidelines. 
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher insane polycounter
    I get that, but to be honest there are a million other little things like that that need to get done at most studios and even having a programmer do that task would mean diverting their time and resources from the other hundreds of things trying to steal their time. Things move really slow at most companies in general and that task is so superficial and low priority compared to actually getting a game done it would probably be a "nice to have" that never gets just done. Most studios have actual production tools that were promised 3 years back still in the "nice to have one day" list. so you can see where a rejection autoresponder comes in in terms of priority.

    to be honest, no reply IS them saying "your portfolio isnt up to par or doesnt match what we are looking for, work on your stuf and re-apply with some new hotness". the sooner you can get over that and just move on the happier you will be. I stopped caring if companies I applied to didn't get back to me LONG before i got my first job. if anything it just made me work harder.

    if you apply to a company and they don't reply, and THATS the thing that makes you not want to work there, then you never wanted to work there really badly in the first place. if you don't re-apply to an awesome studio simply because they never replied to you, then that's on you for eliminating future potential job opportunities.

    If I applied to Sony Santa monica or Naughty Dog, or Bungie etc and never heard back I wouldn't be shocked or butthurt, I would just move on or make some portfolio work that is more relevant to their studio, delete some outdated work from my portfolio, rinse and repeat until i got a reply. 

    i think the 2 biggest things I am seeing here is people are taking the rejection & radio silence personally and are also not really clear on how a value proposition/exchange works. It's not really the studios fault if your portfolio doesn't clearly demonstrate the skills for the position they are looking to fill. If I apply for a position at a top tier studio and even with all my experience and my current portfolio, if it's not up to their standards then that's 100% on me, not their problem. I just take the L and then adjust my plan accordingly, either by moving on or doubling down. dwelling doesn't ever accomplish anything.

    an artist simply applying to a studio costs the studio time and money to sort through applications, and if there isn't a clear value to the studio to invest more than a cursory glance at your work then there is no point in devoting any more time and $$ towards that potential applicant if it's clear they won't get any value in return. that's just basic business, it's not them "not giving a shit about people". Most studios I have worked at really care about their employees and internal culture quite a bit. But I wouldn't expect a studio I simply apply to care much about me if they were not interested in hiring me. As their level of interest goes up, so does their investment in time/resources in you. and you almost always grab their interest and attention with.....your portfolio ;)

    also, those automated rejection replys just opens a door for a lot more time wasting communication. A lot more applicants than you think would take that opening to reply to that rejection email asking for feedback, why they didn't make the cut, simply saying fuck you for rejecting them (its happened before), which makes HR's life harder and sucks up more valuable time. 
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    That all makes sense and yes, I would definitely second the advice people not to take rejection personally. My issues are with how "basic business" is run on a grander scale. In short, most of the ridiculous constraints the boots of the ground are facing, which force a situation where basic human dignity is usually trampled in a mad rush, is coming from decisions made from people at the top so far removed from the ground truth they have zero appreciation for it. Situation will not change until workers understand that they have the true power and start exercising it.

    I think everything you are saying is the best advice for prospective candidates trying to get into top studios, but my big thing would be, a lot of these companies don't operate in a way that has your best interest at heart, so be sure you have a real goal bigger than "I want to work at ____ studio because they make my favorite gamez"  and a mindset to always look after number one first. Nobody else is going to. And in the same way a studio really does their homework on a candidate, you need to really do your homework on a studio you are applying to. How much money did they earn in the past five years? How much are workers getting? How much do the executives make? What is their long term goals? Five, ten years? How often do they have layoffs? What benefits do they offer? Do they have long term employee retention? What do employees say abotu the company when they are drunk? How long are there typical development cycles and how do they handle overtime?

    In the little bit of research I've done, the kinds of studios that have the answers to questions like this that I want to hear are not big studios, but small ones you probably never heard of. Places that have quietly been supporting workers with families for a long time and will continue to do so, rather than massive corporations that are in constant cycles of drama and are moving the industry into a realm where governments are having to step in to regulate extreme forms of predatory business practices.
  • PixelMasher
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    PixelMasher insane polycounter
    @NikhilR
    the cinematic/group project was just one way of getting attention to their work. I wouldn't look at it as this is the new way or something that has to be done, its just one thing that happened to work well, they also had nice work in their portfolio from their own projects. So if the cinematic grabbed peoples attention, the deeper dive into the rest of their portfolio kept it. There is no "one way" or secret method that is going to get you in the door. it's the overall impression of your work and portfolio as a whole.

    The most important things about that specific example are not the fact that it was a cinematic, or group project/collab.

    It was this: 
    -The overall quality was super high, hitting a AAA benchmark
    - Subject matter was super interesting and well thought out
    - the execution on all the elements from environment to lighting, characters to camera work was consistent across the board.
    - It was a realtime cinematic in ue4 which showed technical knowledge of realtime specifications and game engine workflows.

    all of those factors could apply to solo projects and portfolio work. Quality, consistency across your whole portfolio, and relevancy to the studio you are applying to are super important.
  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth

    Prerequisite is that the company actually has to have a philosophy of giving a shit about people in the first place. But why do that? What's the incentive? Well, I don't think it takes a genius to see the connection between building loyalty in your work force and long term sustainability of the company.

        This aspect is so critical, you can't ensure loyalty just by throwing money at people because their top tier or to motivate them to become top tier.
        I find the best artists keep going for their passion, but a ruthless comparative approach is going to lose people and potential.
        Its one of the reasons why the industry has such high turn over and everyone seems constantly on edge.
        Probably just a downside of a capitalist unregulated free market.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    Yeah, I think it's related to how capitalism has gone from "competition breeds excellence that we all win from," to "it's all-out war."

    It is true, competition benefits us all. Some people rise to the top, but everybody is better off when they jump in the ring and give it their all.

    In war, everybody loses. The people at the bottom die, the people at the top are left with a salted earth and they're so dead inside they lack the capacity to even feel normal human emotions.

    And big business is being run like its a war. All these corporations are desperately trying to swallow each other... and for what? Who benefits? It's jsut the mad power games of a few psychopaths.

    The real capital is human labor, and when people understand that then they can reward the companies which value them appropriately and understand the worker-to-company relationship properly, and let the fuckers who want to build easter island heads to die, alone and miserable. So when you are trying to find the place your are going to devote your precious time and energy to, ask yourself, "are these guys building easter island heads, or making real value that I want to contribute to because it moves humanity towards something better?"

  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth
    @NikhilR
    the cinematic/group project was just one way of getting attention to their work. I wouldn't look at it as this is the new way or something that has to be done, its just one thing that happened to work well, they also had nice work in their portfolio from their own projects. So if the cinematic grabbed peoples attention, the deeper dive into the rest of their portfolio kept it. There is no "one way" or secret method that is going to get you in the door. it's the overall impression of your work and portfolio as a whole.

    The most important things about that specific example are not the fact that it was a cinematic, or group project/collab.

    It was this: 
    -The overall quality was super high, hitting a AAA benchmark
    - Subject matter was super interesting and well thought out
    - the execution on all the elements from environment to lighting, characters to camera work was consistent across the board.
    - It was a realtime cinematic in ue4 which showed technical knowledge of realtime specifications and game engine workflows.

    all of those factors could apply to solo projects and portfolio work. Quality, consistency across your whole portfolio, and relevancy to the studio you are applying to are super important.
       It does seem like the viral nature of the cinematic was the deciding factor in this particular case since the other aspects are found in other portfolios though probably aren't demonstrated in the same fashion. 


    The real capital is human labor,


       And it is the most valuable, which the rat race seems to forget.
       I still think that the overall impression of the person should matter more in the long term and the only way I know to gauge that is through an interview and actually taking the time to get to know people. 

       I totally understand if its not feasible to interview everyone given the volume but I do agree with Alex that something should change as far as feedback is concerned. That app does sound like a great idea and ought to adopted universally.
      
       For my part I cannot justify ghosting anyone, regardless of how subjectively bad their work may be. It may be realistic given the way things are done in the industry here, but it simply isn't polite and only perpetuates apathy and devalues people. 



  • Jonas Ronnegard
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    Jonas Ronnegard Polycount Sponsor
    I understand that it might be good for the future development of students and other job seekers if they got some feedback or reasons for their rejection but as mentioned above it's just not worth it for the company, your reply to this would probably be that it would be worth it for the company because it would increase the number of potential higher skilled hires in the future, but the truth is that it's just not that hard to find good enough artists, it can be hard to find people for specific specialized senior & lead positions but that is just too far away from sending replies to people that didn't hit the good enough bar, so the need is not big enough to make it worth it.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I am not arguing against that @Jonas Ronnegard , I think I understand yours and Tim's point well enough. I have been in charge of people and understand there is not always time to be courteous. But this entire mindset of "being courteous and making a point to reciprocate respect is not worth our time because we don't see monetary returns from it" speaks volumes about what kind of values these companies hold. Maybe it's the way normal business is conducted -- I don't give a fuck what is the norm -- it's not good enough. Does anybody seriously want to live in a society where you can trust no-one and it's normal to expect people to screw you over? How is it going to change if we all keep playing along in this idiotic game?

    Any time you are making decisions from raw necessity you are exposing yourself to people who prey on desperation, so people need to be aware of that. Especially young men. The thing about young men is (and nothing against young women, it's just I never was one so I won't speak on their behalf), is that they have an innate desire to prove themselves to society. It's in the instincts from millions of years of evolution. A young man hear's somebody say, "I worked an 80 hour week", his automatic subconscious response is, "I could work 90 hours easy, then everybody will know I'm worthy." It's an extremely powerful instinct. Anybody who thinks its not present in them is fooling themselves. All you have to do is look at history and its the recurring theme in most wars. Young men want to prove themselves by whatever metric they perceive to be important to the rest of society. Nowadays in certain circles the metric might be, "I'm the most woke and I'll show people how woke I am," but it's zero-dfference from, "I'll show my people how many enemies I can kill." Same exact neurons firing down the same paths.

    So predators know this. It's how they recruit for military's and its the exact same bullshit you hear coming from some of these games industry executives. How they sell the terrible deal of crunch to people. I mean, how else could you sell that to anyone? "You do an unhealthy amount of work for me, and I don't fire you. If you don't do that, you are a little bitch." Great deal, right? Only somebody with a passionate desire to prove themselves takes a deal like this. Thats the word they always use, right? Passion. Passion for the art. No, they are exploiting the passion young people have to prove themselves to their tribe. Nothing to do with the art. This is probably why these companies have high turn-over and are largely pulling from universities, and place an enormous importance on compliance to feedback. It's a test the same way abusive men test females to learn which ones will easily be manipulated.

    Just speculations. But its shit people need to think about critically and be really cognizant that you aren't feeding into your own bullshit. If you find yourself trying to convince yourself of something, just stop and gather more real world data so you discover the truth. Could be just a few lazy-asses making mountains from molehills, but I doubt it. Like I said, if one person is saying there's a bad apple, investigate thoroughly before you eat any apples, okay?

    I already mentioned, but I have only applied to a few different 3d companies, but only one wrote an email back. It was clearly an automated response, but it also came from the only company whose most prominent advertisement in the career section of their website was that they have outstanding employee retention and have been in business for a long time. So I am getting a good first impression about this companies values. I am sure they are quite busy like everybody else, but they made time to figure out a system to reply to rejected job candidates. That was a priority of theirs.
    When I see somebody say, "We don't have time, there is no return," I hear, "We don't value people beyond what they can do for us right now in this moment." Kind of shitty, right? Just the impression I get. Not a good way to start a relationship with anybody other than a young person who is passionate to please.

    The other companies I won't bother applying to again. Nothing personal, it's just that if somebody only values me for what I can offer them right now at this moment, fuck em. Same type of attitude that's rude to waiters and sucks up to affluence. Short-sighted bullshit. That's not how I treat people and so I can't play any part in a culture that treats people that way.


  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    well it also comes down to the size of the HR department. We had the premise of answering each and every applicant. by now this became highly unlikely just because of the sheer amount of people applying. An automatic response might be something, but is it really better? I dunno
  • Jonas Ronnegard
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    Jonas Ronnegard Polycount Sponsor
    Yeah I'm a bit split about the automatic response email, I think it might cause more problems and work, but if the message makes clear it is not an invitation for feedback and email exchange and only an email to show the result of the application review then I think that could be a plus.
  • Biomag
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    Biomag polycounter
    The very least that should be done by any HR department is to send out an email when the process is closed - especially when they are using some recruitment platform/tool. Sending it from a 'no replay' email with 'sorry, but we took someone else' says enough. Honestly I have little sympathy for HR. I know its a lot of work and all that, but when you are in a position that you expect a personalized email that fits perfectly your studio and the position you put up while complaining about spelling mistakes, then I expect you to spend the 2-5mins it takes to send the rejection. If its too much work because you regard you time more valuable than the time the applicant is expected to spend with his application than find HR tools to make your work easier/faster or hire interns. 


    Oh and by the way there is no excuse what so ever to not notify those people you had for interviews. But yeah, even that isn't always a thing. 
  • ned_poreyra
    Well, that discussion derailed heavily...
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    sorry @ned_poreyra , I got going and couldn't stop. But it ain't been closed so maybe there is something useful in here.

    @Neox , my opinion is that even an automatic "thanks for applying, but we passed you over because : portfolio not up to standard." as a means of closure is 1000x better than a ghost. It really says a lot that the company is at least making the minimum effort to reciprocate the time investment the job candidate has made in applying for the job.

    My intent here is not so much to shame anybody into better behavior, because who really cares what I think? but rather to give people out there looking for jobs some perspective on how you can better assess companies and be sure to have a properly defensive mindset so you don't get fucked over. First people need to be aware that there is fuckers out there doing fuckery, and it's bad enough to cause a lot of good people to quit the industry or burn out way too quickly. A real shame. And its mainly coming from big studios where a lot of young people dream of working. So just like when you go on a date you are gauging whether or not the person is sincere or a creep, you got to gauge whether or not a company values its workers. How they treat you throughout the application process is a good indicator about how they value people. Are people worth their time? Or are they commodity?
  • Neox
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    Neox ngon master
    i would say people should be worth the time, but the reality is... we get so many applications that are straight out delusional for various reasons, that if somebody clearly didn't look into the company they applied for, it's not worth a reply.
    we have no HR department, if we answer, it's usually artists or a project manager answering, and there are clearly more valuable things to do than answering every single application.
    As said, it was our goal, but the reality doesnt make it possible anymore.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I can understand that. And certainly if somebody put zero effort into their application, yeah you would have to have a lot of time to go out of the way to response to that.

    But for those people who take the time to write a personalized cover letter, do the application exactly how its supposed to be done, demonstrate that they understand what the studio is doing, (in other words, you had to take a bit of time to read through their application and make effort in seriously considering them) I still think it's right to treat that as the beginning of a relationship even if you are rejecting them. Not just because "feelings" but because that is future potential/opportunity right there.

    For studios with an HR department and profits in the millions of dollars, I can't bring myself to excuse the rude behavior though. I mean they can do what they want but I see it as a tell-tale sign of their larger culture. They have the time and money, they just don't prioritize it.
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666

    Thanks for taking the time to explain your experience more in depth.

    I went off about the ghosting, but really it's not something I care about -- I don't take it personally however I do still think its generally rude and if I was in the position to change that I think I would -- but I understand your perspective on that. The real thing that pissed me off was I read some horror stories from major studios in which low-level employees were working 100 hour weeks while the bosses were leaving early. I've had to deal with this kind of crap in the army, though to a much worse degree. It really upsets me. In 6 years in the military I had only two bosses who weren't complete jackasses, so yes I am jaded but it's not right to point it at an industry I don't know. For myself I am questioning whether or not a corporate setting is really where I'm going to thrive, as I work best with a lot of autonomy and responsibility. So I'm looking more towards running my own thing. But regardless of the ghosting applicants rant, I encourage any job applicants out there to really go in with a defensive mindset. Be friendly and all that but understand that its very cutthroat out there and at the end of the day, only you can take care of number 1.

    Every person in an organization can have a heart of gold, but the nature of the corporation is not different from an abusive psychopath. It takes as much as it can while giving only what is absolutely necessary. But the nature of the leader must be like mother nature -- it freely gives away everything it has with zero judgement. It has it's rules that must be respected, but it is absolutely fair and treats everyone as family. When you have leaders who act like this in your organization, the team will be operating at it's highest level. People will find fulfillment and awful shit like depression can be cured. You will retain employees, and loyal long-term employees are worth a lot more than mercenaries.

    I did become a pretty decent leader by the end of my service, simply by doing the opposite of what all the bad leaders were doing. I read an article recently about some research Google has been doing and it all concurs with what I learned in the military. It's a good short read for anybody in a leadership position to think about what kind of culture they are helping to shape:





  • NikhilR
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    NikhilR greentooth

    Ive always found life experience to be far more valuable than any game experience or even possibly the most epic art piece I could ever create more from the perspective of overall development.

    To be sidelined for reasons that aren't clear (especially if we're ghosted) isn't doing anyone any favors.  

    Its like the adage "he's not good for me, but he may be great for someone I know, so let me see what I can do for him."
    In this light you put others before yourself. Probably not a very western thing given the individualised mindset

    If that changes there will be a lot more in the way of a more organised process to hiring in general across the board. 

    But that will only happen once companies actually value people, not just the ones working for them. 

    I'm glad many people think that their dream jobs are giving them everything their looking for but simple numbers will tell you that considering the return you're receiving for your efforts, it really isn't that good. (especially compared to the IT sector.)
    This is speaking strictly from a business perspective given the financial turnover compared to employee retention and job market.
    Like more base pay going forward, still remarkably higher.

    But then again you could keep seeing it as "life is great for me for the most part, atleast I didn't have to deal with how things went for the poor sods at Tell Tale."
    I'm pretty sure those artists were top tier, didn't seem to do them any favors.
    Even the ones that got sexually assaulted at Riot and can't speak out due to forced arbitration agreements.
    I wonder how many companies made them offers simply for the sake of their humanity. 

    Reminds me of this one (of many) incidents) that happened in Toronto when Arc Animation shut down.
    Hundreds of people got laid off and every company in the area jumped at the chance to hire talent (for the free PR too)
    Jobs that didn't exist magically opened up. And a few juniors on contract were tossed out to make room for top tier talent.
    One of these companies was Legend 3D, which ran on government grants exactly like Arc Animation.
    In a year following this fiasco, they shifted their entire operation to India and laid everyone off.
    And the government that gave them the grant under the table lost the elections.

    Like I hope they'll get something especially the ones that are top tier, they clearly deserve it because how great they are.
    The rest can go back to their minimum wage jobs or live on unemployment as they become top tier.
    Its all cool I suppose! (they're still unemployed though)

    I'd recommend following https://www.linkedin.com/in/vishnepolsky/detail/recent-activity/posts/ his advice is more holistic than other motivational speakers I've found. Puts humanity first.




  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    NikhilR said:......




    Gonna get me all fired up again, Nikhil.

    I don't mean to make this a personal attack as I have a lot of respect for Tim and truly appreciate the awesome content he's been putting out to benefit beginners, but I think there is a fundamental mindset underlying the general advice of "git gud so you got leverage" that leads to very real and very terrible consequences for the majority of people who follow it. It also shows in the fact that there is some assumption we are jaded about getting rejected or ghosted -- no, it's not that at all. You can slap me in the face and call me a mother fucker, I don't give a shit. I am just tired of seeing people suffer from the same mistakes over and over. I think I know better, so it's my duty to share. I already got everything I need in life, I have nothing more to gain and I don't need validation from others for anything.

    Now, it is true, if you have the right stuff and you put in the work, you can make it. But top tier in this is industry is not nearly as good as it could be. As artist, we have to see what is, and also imagine what could be. Accepting status quo is no bueno. And I don't want anybody thinking I am some spoiled millenial. Two times in my life I have given away all of my money and lived with zero modern comforts in the wilderness, and I doubt anybody here has suffered physically and lost friends like I have. So don't jump to conclusions there, but try to understand where I am coming from.

    The fact is, status quo is leading to excessive amounts of depression, other mental illness, suicide, and an overall toxic work environment. Capitalism is the best system we've built in the last 10k years, but it needs a lot of improvement. I don't mean at the ground level -- you may love working for the company you work at and have great friends -- but this larger culture of individualism and selfishness is destroying the west... and the world. It is untenable, and I think artist are in a great position to help move things in a better direction. Why not start with our own work environment first? Everybody must do something.

    It may be hard to see the connection, but when you tell somebody, "you don't have enough skill to make it worth my time to speak to you," think about what happens from there. Different things for different people. Some people -- few people -- are gonna strive hard to prove themselves. This is people like me. I was like that for a long time. I really wanted people to respect me and to be the best. Lots of young men have this drive. But most will fail and a very few will eventually make the cut.   The ones who fail may actually be better off, because the ones who make the cut -- if they are paying attention at all -- will realize that compared to others the return they are getting for their top tier talent is pittance. Why? Because somebody else more selfish and with more advantage doesn't give a fuck about them and will squeeze them for all they got. And the saddest thing is, unless these "winners" get flat-out dumped as many do, they'll go on believing they've got it made and everything is hunky-dory, and they'll perpetuate the cycle which is fucking over most people.

    Then you got other types of people. Sycophants. Whether consciously or unconsciously, they will devalue themselves, make idols of those with the influence, and this feeds into a gross cycle that builds ups ego's and rewards everything except quality of work. It's how you end up with awful leaders who believe their own bullshit and abuse people beneath them. Why? Because where insecurity meets power is where monsters are born.

    So I don't think Tim's advice is bad or wrong, but it only helps to perpetuate a cycle that I think is not working for the majority of people. If your only concern is getting your own meager slice of the pie and fuck everything else, sure gittin gud is the fast track for that. But if you can get your finances settled in a more secure way first, then you'll have the power to make a more positive impact and help build teams that truly work for human beings and don't demand an unwholesome, unhealthy, and unfulfilling lifestyle.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi insane polycounter
    @Alex Javor So, what makes you think these studios are choosing to be quiet with rejections instead of some sort of response to each applicant? What are they proritizing if not a studio that "[doesn't] demand an unwholesome, unhealthy, and unfulfilling lifestyle. "?
  • Alex Javor
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    Alex Javor polycount lvl 666
    I think Tim nailed it. Just isn't time. It's not any individual persons fault. Not like I am saying recruiters are assholes. But it's a symptom that gets passed down from the highest levels. Too much disconnection between the people making decisions and the people doing the actual work. So you get unrealistic schedules that force people to be going in turbo-mode constantly, burn out, and not feel like they have time to do things which are really important to developing and maintaining healthy relationships. 

    So what to do? Just be aware of the fact that different companies have different cultures, and especially some of the larger more famous ones lots of younger people strive to work for are actively predating on that passion. And just remember, all the people in the corporation can be great, fantastic people. But the people making the big decisions that effect whether or not you keep your job have zero connection and only view you as a number. The goal at the end of the day is to extract as much from you as they can while giving back only the minimum to keep you happy enough to stick around until it's time to dump you. It's not a system built for happy, healthy, human beings.

    The priority is ever-increasing profit. It's not competition, it's war. And everybody loses when that line is crossed.

    Doesn't mean you can't have a happy, healthy life working for a big corporation. You can even have some asshole bosses and still be generally happy. As long as you are feeling good about things like 70% of the time, you really can't do better than that. But we who are lucky enough to have that 70% must be aware that mostly it's just due to dumb luck and circumstance as much as our effort and good decision making. Things do not work out well for most people, despite their best effort and earnest desire to positively contribute to the team. And that's sad. If somebody wants to join in and help out, how dumb is it to not help them as much as you can? The best investment you can make is in other people, it's just that the returns are not always immediate or obvious, so more selfish pursuits (money to buy dumb shit you don't need) take precedence. The culture of selfishness in the United States has caused the government to stop investing in education, which is the goddamned dumbest thing ever and the surest way to dig a grave for your country. In the same way, a company that is using people but not investing in people is digging it's own grave.

    But changing culture takes a lot of power. People have the power. Too many people just don't know that. The people at the top are just people to, and you can change them as much as they change you. Anybody can be a leader. All you have to do is set an example. That one studio that took time to send me a rejection email -- I also got an message from one of the employees inviting me to come meet the studio and feel free to send him any questions. What a nice guy, right? That one small ten minutes he took out of his day makes me feel a certain amount of loyalty to this place already. If they were to hire me, I am already coming into the place with a positive, team-oriented attitude. I feel like I can relax around these people and do my best work.

    Whereas if I am coming into a place where nobody talked to me until I finally won their attention through sheer effort of my work, then I am starting out with an inferiority complex, a lot of insecurity, and the overall dynamic is more one of "I have to please the masters." That kind of stress is good for some things but I don't know that it does much for creative work. And it feeds into a cycle that doesn't really do anybody any favors.

    And what happens when somebody else gets in in through connections or syncophantism, but their art isn't as good as mine? I'm pissed right? Fuck this place! What did I do all that goddam work for?

    It's also not a system that older, more mature people are going to generally favor, and you do need some people who know how to get shit done, not just confused, eager to please college kids (no offense guys, I am only talking about my younger self here). That's the kind of thing that I think Nikhil is getting at. There is a lot more to a person than just their art as it is right now. If you can determine that a person has control over their ego and can understand feedback, communicate, and basically just exercise professionalism, quality of the artwork is something that you can easily increase. What is not easy to increase is a person character and personality, and these are the things that make or break a team.

    For instance, Nikhils was a dentist, so I don't think it's too hard to imagine what kind of experience he can bring to a team that's gonna help everyone. Very detail oriented, absolute understanding about how to get complicated things done right the first time, very high level of professionalism... college kids with talent and passion are great but without a leader who has the experience of being a professional in a serious profession they are gonna struggle. Also, I don't want most of my team to be people who don't have the confidence to speak up and have the maturity to handle a difficult conversation without it devolving into an argument. Most people who are younger than 25-30 aren't gonna have that confidence, and what good is a team where everybody just quietly follows the leader? So you need to be looking for a large scope of experience.

    The thing is though, if you just hire people for a one-off, balls-to-the-wall project and then dump them, you don't really have time or reason to invest in them, right? Fuck em, they can figure it all out on their own. The only time dogs eat other dogs is when its desperate fucking times, right? Why would we model our system on that?

    This kind of attitude won't pay in the long run.


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