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Transitioning from VFX to Games

polycounter lvl 7
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brittanydrewapicture polycounter lvl 7
Hi Polycounters! 

I'm seeking some advice regarding transitioning from Visual Effects industry texturing and surfacing to the world of Games. 
I have some awareness of the pipelines and procedures as well as the different software proficiencies necessary, but it is only surface level. 

I've been starting to learn Painter and Designer (definitely wish I had a number of years ago when I first heard about it!) 

Yet, I'm not sure where I should direct my focus and time to build the right extra portfolio pieces necessary. There's so many options so little time! 

My thoughts are: 
1: The direct parallel would probably be as a PBR artist /Substance Designer shader creator since that seems to be the new trend for higher fidelity games.
----For a position like that I imagine a couple of more complex shaders in my portfolio would help?

2: Environment artist.
----With that would I try and build a couple pieces in a set? Build a whole environment? 

Right now I'm working on painting a character in Painter. I'm approaching it more in the VFX multiple UDIM method. As a way to bridge my knowledge gap.  

How much modeling should I brush up on? I've kept those skills up slightly but definitely not as much as my texturing and surfacing skills. Would that be as important in my portfolio as my Texturing? 

For reference my current portfolio is here: http://brittanydrew.com/
I've worked at Blizzard Entertainment in their Animation dept, Rhythm & Hues, Digital Domain as well as others. 

This came about since I moved with my family to Seattle two years ago from LA. I've been working on a personal project a Graphic Novel series and improving my illustration skills since we've been here, but I miss the collaborative work environment.

My location goal for a company would be Seattle area. 

Thanks so much!


  • garcellano
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    garcellano greentooth
    Nice work, just checked out your demo reel. You've been around.
    I think the transition will be fine for me. I was kind of in that route, in vfx/stereo compositing at one point. For games, overall, they're just more optimized or brought to a standard that'll fit for console and PC. 

    I had this same issue long time ago, but some breakdowns or some images to show your textures and models would be helpful. I'm only familiar more on the environment art side. The topology/wireframe for some assets are a bit tight, like, using just enough triangles/polygons to get the silhouette just right. Painter/Designer is a good start (I know exactly how you feel) You'll nail it down, eventually. Painter, I want to say, is much easier to learn and jump in quicker, compared to Designer. Designer is like Nuke, a node-based system (my past life in vfx/compositing was all in Nuke).

    Look up texture baking, high-poly to low. I wish I can pin-point exactly what you should, but I think it comes with practice, on what you're modeling, and baking to a low-poly mesh. On my end, I'm just use to showing materials, some scenes, then wireframes (or a 3d view of the model, using Marmoset Viewer), textures, etc. A bit similar to some of those vfx breakdowns, where a frame will cut, and there will be slides, showcases what was done, one-by-one.

    Also, hope you're liking it in Seattle :) I was just there a few weeks ago. I'm in the Albany, NY area now. I was in Seattle for about 2 years, and lived there before, like 4 years ago, for about a year. You have the experience. I'm sure you're getting a ton of responses from recruiters.

  • poopipe
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    poopipe grand marshal polycounter
    As someone who hires material/surfacing artists for games... 
     I'd need to see breakdowns of the materials - It's hard to identify what you've done in a reel like that and it's impossible to properly analyse a surface without nice high res images. 

    Your resume and reel are impressive - it's a shame you're in the states really. 
  • MisterSande
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    MisterSande polycounter lvl 8
    I would ask yourself what your passionate about and where it would ideally meet your current strengths. From the looks of your reel you already posess great texturing knowledge but it is now up to you to show that you can translate this skill to a realtime game environment.
  • jStins
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    jStins interpolator
    Honestly it wouldn't surprise me if you were able to land a position at a game studio here in Seattle with your current reel and resume. That said, I've not been in a hiring position at a game studio so I'd lean on @poopipe 's advice. I think you'd really just need a single portfolio piece showing you can get the same artistic quality out of a game engine like Unreal or even just real time with Marmoset. I'd personally aim for a simple environment that highlights your material (substance designer / painter) work. 
  • brittanydrewapicture
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    brittanydrewapicture polycounter lvl 7
    Thank you everyone, I appreciate the advice!

    I wish I was easily able to show my professional works breakdowns, but they're pretty much under lock and key. I'll aim to do that with some of my personal art especially upcoming pieces. 

    Very good point, I guess I am at a crossroads since I love texturing surfacing and illustration, illustration is more commonly an at home freelance job which I've tried the past two years and miss a studio atmosphere. So Probably environment art since I enjoyed that a lot at Blizzard on the cinematics I worked on, especially since I wouldn't consider myself as much of a character modeler, but I loved surfacing characters!   

    Thanks! I appreciate that! Hopefully it's pretty smooth going when I have something to show and apply to the fitting position. 

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