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Advice for looking for job in gaming industry after big life event?

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Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
I haven't had a job for a long time. Almost 3 years now. I graduated from school at RIT with a degree in 3D Digital Design in 2016. I also studied game design. It's my dream job to be a game designer. My plan was to go into 3D environment art in the gaming industry and breakthrough, eventually, become a game designer. I have made mods for games and made small games in Unity. I have done tons of 3D in Maya/3ds Max/Blender 2.8+. I know both Unity and Unreal Engine. I love creating 3d environment art for games. 

When I graduated from college, I was ready to start upgrading my portfolio and search for a job right away. We found out 3 days after my graduation that my dad had stage 4 colon cancer. So I had to hold off the job search and take care of him with my mom. We don't have any family. Just us. It got really bad quickly and for a long time. He died. It was hard to get through it. Not only that. My PC broke from electrical shock (old house with old outlets and no ground that my father would never fix). So I had to sell anything for my new computer on a budget. My mom and I were left with no money. No life insurance. His retirement was taken away from my mom from the government. So my mom will never retire or have any money. Then we had to move out of the house and downsize. I then at that time realized that my dad is a hoarder. He had four storage units (20x10) filled with stuff. Not garbage but just stuff. He also owned his own hair salon business which went out of business after he died because his employees stole all our money and harassed us online at my dad's funeral. So my point is that one thing after another has happened. It took 2 years to move and downsize. I still have a lot of stuff to get rid of. We just sold our old house. I have been selling stuff online. Then my mom got really in bad shape, she needed 24/7 care and I was alone to help her. I had to help her. There was no time to work on my portfolio and get a job in the gaming industry. I had nothing to do. I tried to get a job at retail like bagging groceries, home depot, or anywhere.

Also, I have severe hearing loss.  I wear hearing aids. That's a big reason why it's been so hard for me to get a job and now 2020 aborted a lot of jobs. There are only so many jobs I can do that don't evolve hearing. I got so many rejection letters for jobs saying that I'm not capable due to my hearing loss this year which made me so frustrated. I had a job for a short while 2 years ago but I got bullied by my boss for my hearing loss to the point where even HR wouldn't help and I had to quit. I felt really depressed at that time. 

So I started working on my portfolio just a few weeks ago after finishing moving and selling the old house. I have Photoshop, Blender 2.9, UE4, and Quixel Suite. I want to get a job as an environment artist in the gaming industry.  I'm also almost 29 years old. I'm scared that I won't ever get a job just because of my age or work experience. I have work experience in construction and some 3D work at school and worked for my dad during high school. It's just not 3D related. I know I'm very good at what I do in 3D art and design for games. I have been practicing 3D in whatever free time I had and now I'm working on 3D every day. It just comes to me naturally. I have been doing graphics and 3D since I was in middle school. I remember I did game programming and hacked a sonic game. Then I did Zbrush and Maya in high school. Ton of photoshop as well. Made mods for Unreal tournament. 

I talked to my professors from college about this recently, they said that I should still be able to get a job. They always need more artists or designers. I was one of the best students. They also said that I had a big life event. Most people would understand. One of the professors even said when he was my age, he had a big career change for a long time. They told me it's best if I just dedicate all my time possible to work on my portfolio. Have 4-5 pieces and a good resume. Get ArtStation website portfolio which I do have but it's all really old work that I'm not happy with anymore.
https://olliverpetkac.artstation.com/

My plan for 2021 is this:
Work on my portfolio almost every day for 8 hours each day. I'm doing a challenge where I do a remake of an old game environment in UE4 and Quxiel Suite every week. I also want to update one of my old portfolio pieces (pinewood forest). I want to create a whole new environment as well. I'm meeting with a recruiter in a few weeks to have them help me find a job (even a part-time temp job). 

Do you guys have any advice for me? I really need a job and I know I can be really good in the gaming industry.

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  • Zi0
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    Zi0 polycounter
    "Your competition isn't people at your school: it's the internet."
    This is very true, it might sound weird but professors lack perspective in this matter. Currently there are a lot of amazing tutorials and courses online, you can even get 1 on 1 tutoring from industry professionals. Because of this there is a huge amount of amazing artist who don't have any formal education but they do have a amazing skill set and portfolio. Look at portfolios from employed environment artists, that's the quality level you have to reach.

    They also said that I had a big life event. Most people would understand.
    Yes and no, some might but others can interpret it as you being burned out by things that happened in your life so keep that in mind. If you get asked during a interview why you haven't got a job so far, then you should talk about the events that happened otherwise I wouldn't mention it.

    Your plan for 2021 looks solid but be smart about it, its better to have 2 very high quality environments then 4 mediocre ones. Also do you actually enjoy environment art or do you see it as a gateway to becoming a designer eventually?

    I wish you the best of luck, life has been very hard on you so I hope you will find a nice place to work with amazing colleges and no bosses asshole bosses that bully their employees because of a disability.
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    Crying is okay too.  I cried before that groundskeeping job because I was frustrated that, for someone with a bachelor's degree in making video games, why the heck was I mowing golf course greens to keep afloat?
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    Hey Brain, thank you for the sound advice. I'll check out the subreddits you mentioned. 

    Your professors, I'd imagine, were right about you being their best student, but as a Riot/Treyarch engineer has repeated to me during my undergrad at USC: "Your competition isn't people at your school: it's the internet."  Just keep that perspective in mind when you make your art, because the bad ass artists on the internet are the quality bar.
    I'm fully aware that the internet is my competition. My goal is to create 2 to 4 really good pieces and get an entry-level job as a game artist or environment artist. Just to get into the industry. Break into it. Brian "Panda" Choi said:
    Do you want to be a game designer, or game artist though?  Because I have never really seen a designer, outsided of some sparse engineering art from indie designers, do game art.
    My heart and passion say game designer. I also love game art and am very good at it though. I have made some small games where I did both the game design and art. I just don't really like doing the programming part. My dream job is honestly more of a game director I guess. I don't know any other way to break into the industry other than being a game artist first and then learn from everyone in the industry. I have bought some amazing courses on making games in Unity/UE4 and I could add them to my portfolio website as well. 

    There are quite a few game designers who are also an artist or writer. In fact, I think Shigeru Miyamoto was an artist before he was a game designer and created Mario. Hideo Kojima is another. Unless you think I should have my portfolio being game design? I did have an idea of turning my pine forest project (in my artstation) project into a mini story-telling game or puzzle game. Like very simple and minimal. Like just walk, examine, and storytelling. 

    I feel like my only chance to break into the industry is to get in there as an artist and then go from there. 

    Regharding the disability, I have to think there's disability advocates that you could reach out to online to get advice about . . . circumventing the discrimination on this front.
    Yeah, I will be asking about that when I meet with my job recruiters on zoom in few weeks. They specialize in helping people with a disability that have a hard time finding a job due to disability of any kind.
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    They also said that I had a big life event. Most people would understand.
    Yes and no, some might but others can interpret it as you being burned out by things that happened in your life so keep that in mind. If you get asked during a interview why you haven't got a job so far, then you should talk about the events that happened otherwise I wouldn't mention it.

    Your plan for 2021 looks solid but be smart about it, its better to have 2 very high quality environments then 4 mediocre ones. Also do you actually enjoy environment art or do you see it as a gateway to becoming a designer eventually? 
    Right, that's what I'm afraid of. That's why want my portfolio to be perfect. Just 2-4 really good pieces. I also want to get any job that I can do part-time or full-time. Just so I have money and job experience coming in. That way it won't look too bad on the resume that I haven't worked for a while.  I'm definitely not burnt out. I'm burnt out being broke and stressing out about money. Not to work and do what I enjoy doing for a living. 

    I do enjoy environment art and other game art. However, I do see it as a gateway to becoming a game designer eventually. I just don't see any other way of breaking into the industry. I do have experience in making mods for games and making small games in Unity/UE4. In fact, about 3-4 years ago. I was trying to make an indie game in UE4 that was fairly small, but I never got to finish it cuz of moving and everything else happening in my life. All my friends keep telling me that the game sounded really cool and hope that I will someday get back to it. 
    I wish you the best of luck, life has been very hard on you so I hope you will find a nice place to work with amazing colleges and no bosses asshole bosses that bully their employees because of a disability. 
    Thank you. I could use all the luck for this year to finally have a life and money. I just feel alive when I'm doing anything related to games such as art or design. I've been wanting to be part of the gaming industry since I was 12 years old. 
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    Crying is okay too.  I cried before that groundskeeping job because I was frustrated that, for someone with a bachelor's degree in making video games, why the heck was I mowing golf course greens to keep afloat?
    I feel ya. I have felt very frustrated and depressed about why is my life so terrible. I get really hard on myself like feeling like a loser or one of those "adult child" living with his mother but I have talked to a therapist that said they've never seen anything like that with one bad thing after another. The job market sucks for everyone now. I have friends who have graduated from college and they can't find a job with their degree. 

    I mean talk about bad luck. At the beginning of 2020, I was sooo close to getting a part-time job as a personal trainer at my gym and then the pandemic hit. Then I didn't feel safe going to public places and I still asked them about the job cuz I need money. They said they're not interested now because it would be too much work to train me with a mask on due to my hearing loss and that really hurt me. I remember when it was February or March of 2020, I was so happy and ready to get a part-time job (I love working out and fitness) making money while I work on my portfolio online and start living life like move into an apartment, start dating, join a public game dev group, etc. The pandemic also made moving and sell the old house much harder. 

    Hopefully, this year will be a lot better and we can all have some healing from the disaster that is 2020. 
  • Brian "Panda" Choi
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    Brian "Panda" Choi high dynamic range
    Game designer and game artist are TWO different jobs, and discplines frankly.

    You will likely not be able to do both at a medium to triple A studio.  Your only reasonably chance to do both is going to be as an independent developer.

    You really need to choose either or.

    OR, make indie games.
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    Game designer and game artist are TWO different jobs, and discplines frankly.

    You will likely not be able to do both at a medium to triple A studio.  Your only reasonably chance to do both is going to be as an independent developer.

    You really need to choose either or.

    OR, make indie games.
    What about just environment art and then do game design practicing on the side. Then make an indie game? I've been wanting to make indie games for a while now. I did for a while until l had to stop. I could get a job that is strictly 9 to 5. I don't mind being a environment artist in the industry. It's better than nothing. 
  • poopipe
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    poopipe high dynamic range
    I've got no idea how to get a job as a designer (even after all these years I still don't really know what they actually do) 

    I do know that in a medium to small sized studio the environment artists often get a lot of input into design. If you have varied interests aiming for a smaller studio is probably a good bet since you'll be able to poke your fingers into more pies.

    If you think you'll enjoy doing environment art and you can get a job doing it then why not?  It's not like you can't change lanes over the course of your career and a couple of dev cycles in any role is a big plus 
  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth
    I think stability, however temporary, is important for your mental health and it sounds like it's been really rocky. Knock on wood; hopefully, you'll be allowed some time this year to just focus on your craft for a little bit.

    You sound like you've had a tough few years. It probably feels like hell right now, but 3 years break more or less while you're going through all of this... It's okay to have needed to take that time. I think you need to stop beating yourself up there. You sound like you've been doing everything you can to look after yourself and your parents, and that's all anyone can ask of you. I don't think anyone would blame you for the lack of work history in that sense, and honestly, maybe this is naive of me, but I don't believe it's any of their business anyway. If your art is good and your portfolio shows you can do the job while achieving that, you have a chance. Age and work history be damned. :+1:

    Brian and Zi0 addressed a lot of other areas and made excellent points. And definitely research and find disability groups and advocates; there are industry groups related to this area as well as not strictly industry-related but helpful resources none-the-less. The recruiter sounds like a good start.

    So, presuming you'll want to do environment art and need to be hirable quickly, I'll go over what you currently have up;

    • I noticed going through your Artstation, that it says
      I thought I just show this but I'm not particularly proud of it. It could use a lot of work and updated design.
      Please know that I say this bluntly with respect to how you feel as an artist but... Never, ever publically disparage your work in the context of a portfolio. Saying that when showing your art is an invitation for folks to agree with you. And why would they hire you if even you don't like what you made or think it's worth showing? If you need to keep something you don't really love anymore for some reason, maybe say "I learned a lot" or "there's a bunch of stuff I'd change, these days" or something but honestly the point is that you shouldn't have work you dislike or that isn't good on your portfolio at all. You want to project confidence without appearing too conceited. In my experience that generally means letting the art talk for itself.

    • Definitely make sure you're checking professional portfolios so you have targets to hit for final render/game quality. What you have here is mostly older if i'm understanding correctly, so it's probably naturally dated, but you will always need to curate an eye for what looks good and modern, I think. This can be a bit morale draining, so do it in moderation and with curiosity moreso than direct comparison haha. "Wow, how did they get this look?" vs "I couldn't do that/it will take so long for me to get as good as this person/etc". So many popular and beautiful games have texture, model, tech breakdowns on Artstation. I'm a big fan of the more recent Destiny 2 ones, regardless of your opinion on the game itself haha. eg, 1, 2 , 3 ,4 .

      So yeah, make sure you at least see a little of what you're going to be having to do and compete with if you continue on this path. Maybe you already are comparing, and its just a matter of updating with new projects, but better safe than sorry. Did notice your other thread at the moment looks a bit more promising regarding my concerns here.

    • On that note, regarding specific pieces; do remove the monster. Also remove the "game model" of the gun; but the high poly actually looks decent for now and is presented well. I would keep that until you get another project up. I think the Underground tunnel isn't really very impressive. If you feel you can update it to be significantly better, remove the project until you actually can; saying you want to but you haven't will just make people wonder what's stopping you. In this case, it's legitimate life reasons! But you don't get to pour your heart out on a portfolio. :p

      Of the hard surface modeling, Jet has some of the more complex modeling you've done, but also quite a few problems. Would remove that. Make sure you're read up on the how the f do I model this thread; it has solutions to a lot of hurdles I think you might have been encountering. Cobra is something to go on a blog, maybe, not really a portfolio piece. Lab is promising enough that it could probably stay.

      Once again, apologies for the bluntness, but your senior thesis project description is accidentally a little revealing, I think. The issue with this project is absolutely not the lack of 4k/8k textures, or FX, or ray tracing. There are a lot of good things in this project, but also quite a few glaring errors and signs that you didn't have a super-refined artistic eye, or maybe that your workflow was a bit busted. If you choose to make a go of updating this, maybe if you made a thread here regarding it people could weigh in while you work...? I only say this because I simultaneously agree that this is your most promising project and it's got a lot of really good aspects, but also that your description of it gave me big huge red flags on how you'd approach updating it and what you'd prioritize. Live feedback from other artists would help mitigate that, I think. I could keep writing about this but I don't really want to do a whole breakdown unless you're actually interested in that; this post is so long already lol

      Your strong suit is definitely your general sense for spaces (I can tell you're more of a designer), but in terms of art you may benefit a lot from recreating a really good, small concept faithfully and really considering what kind of workflows and aesthetics pros currently use, or will be using in the future, and why. Breaking down games that look good, and trying to implement the stuff that appeals to you or that gets the kind of look you want or need for the scene.

    • My personal input on game designer vs game artist: breaking in as a designer seems pretty difficult, frankly. So in that aspect, you're correct... But like Brian, I've not seen many modern designers follow the "work way up through art" pathway. But if you LIKE environment art, it's quite possible that Environment Artist > Level Designer/World designer will satisfy you day-job wise until you have the means to do some indie work where you have more creative input over the whole direction of the game.

    All of this said! Your plan sounds pretty good.  Also just to recap I believe it may be better to have less stuff on your portfolio and kind of start fresh than to have such old stuff or stuff you don't like on there.

    I'm keen to see new projects from you, and I really do wish you luck in finding your place within this industry ASAP. I also hope you can find the space to mourn the last few years, if that's not too out of pocket. :'(
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    poopipe said:
    I've got no idea how to get a job as a designer (even after all these years I still don't really know what they actually do) 
    Haha, that's a common thing. When I was asked by my parent's friends what I do in school. They would give me a weird look like what do I do? I have gotten tired of explaining it to them. It's actually quite a simple but vital role in game dev. They simply create the ruleset, gameplay mechanics, ideas for gameplay, and often times do more directing and documents than any art/programming work. They may often do scripting, basic programming, or blueprint (UE4) to get it up and ready to go. They sometimes do concept art, or any other kind of art, or none at all. Maybe they sometimes do programming or not much at all. Honestly, a lot of game designer roles are very different than others. One game designer could also be an artist like me. Others could be programmers well. Rarely do game designers get a job as a game designer in the industry is what I'm told. They usually start off as a programmer, QA tester, or indie dev solo or small team. 
    I do know that in a medium to small sized studio the environment artists often get a lot of input into design. If you have varied interests aiming for a smaller studio is probably a good bet since you'll be able to poke your fingers into more pies.

    If you think you'll enjoy doing environment art and you can get a job doing it then why not?  It's not like you can't change lanes over the course of your career and a couple of dev cycles in any role is a big plus 
    Yeah, I wouldn't mind working for a small studio since they often times can have a bigger creative outlet with fewer crunch times. I have read and been told by others in the industry that people oftentimes change lanes in their careers.
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    BagelHero said:
    I think stability, however temporary, is important for your mental health and it sounds like it's been really rocky. Knock on wood; hopefully, you'll be allowed some time this year to just focus on your craft for a little bit.

    You sound like you've had a tough few years. It probably feels like hell right now, but 3 years break more or less while you're going through all of this... It's okay to have needed to take that time. I think you need to stop beating yourself up there. You sound like you've been doing everything you can to look after yourself and your parents, and that's all anyone can ask of you. I don't think anyone would blame you for the lack of work history in that sense, and honestly, maybe this is naive of me, but I don't believe it's any of their business anyway. If your art is good and your portfolio shows you can do the job while achieving that, you have a chance. Age and work history be damned. :+1:

    Brian and Zi0 addressed a lot of other areas and made excellent points. And definitely research and find disability groups and advocates; there are industry groups related to this area as well as not strictly industry-related but helpful resources none-the-less. The recruiter sounds like a good start.
    Yeah, it's been rough. I also can be hard on myself since I have family members who are very critical of me. They would say stuff to me like "I would never hire you" or "Game design is the stupidest degree ever", etc. That's why I said that my parents are all I got as family goes. Now it's just my mom. I also wanna help my mom since she has no money and can't retire. 
    • I noticed going through your Artstation, that it says
      I thought I just show this but I'm not particularly proud of it. It could use a lot of work and updated design.
      Please know that I say this bluntly with respect to how you feel as an artist but... Never, ever publically disparage your work in the context of a portfolio. Saying that when showing your art is an invitation for folks to agree with you. And why would they hire you if even you don't like what you made or think it's worth showing? If you need to keep something you don't really love anymore for some reason, maybe say "I learned a lot" or "there's a bunch of stuff I'd change, these days" or something but honestly the point is that you shouldn't have work you dislike or that isn't good on your portfolio at all. You want to project confidence without appearing too conceited. In my experience that generally means letting the art talk for itself.
    That's good to know. My portfolio right now is mainly private but I had comments on them to say I don't like so and so about this. However, good to know. Be more confidant in your work. 
    • Definitely make sure you're checking professional portfolios so you have targets to hit for final render/game quality. What you have here is mostly older if i'm understanding correctly, so it's probably naturally dated, but you will always need to curate an eye for what looks good and modern, I think. This can be a bit morale draining, so do it in moderation and with curiosity moreso than direct comparison haha. "Wow, how did they get this look?" vs "I couldn't do that/it will take so long for me to get as good as this person/etc". So many popular and beautiful games have texture, model, tech breakdowns on Artstation. I'm a big fan of the more recent Destiny 2 ones, regardless of your opinion on the game itself haha. eg, 1, 2 , 3 ,4
    • So yeah, make sure you at least see a little of what you're going to be having to do and compete with if you continue on this path. Maybe you already are comparing, and its just a matter of updating with new projects, but better safe than sorry. Did notice your other thread at the moment looks a bit more promising regarding my concerns here.
    Yes, it's naturally dated. I wanted to update it even at the time I created it. It was just a big project and I had other classes. So it wasn't like I had all the time to just focus on the thesis project. It was my first truly modular project. I'm always checking other people's breakdowns of their art projects and seeing how they did. Destiny 2 is a beautiful game! :)
    • On that note, regarding specific pieces; do remove the monster. Also remove the "game model" of the gun; but the high poly actually looks decent for now and is presented well. I would keep that until you get another project up. I think the Underground tunnel isn't really very impressive. If you feel you can update it to be significantly better, remove the project until you actually can; saying you want to but you haven't will just make people wonder what's stopping you. In this case, it's legitimate life reasons! But you don't get to pour your heart out on a portfolio. :p

      Of the hard surface modeling, Jet has some of the more complex modeling you've done, but also quite a few problems. Would remove that. Make sure you're read up on the how the f do I model this thread; it has solutions to a lot of hurdles I think you might have been encountering. Cobra is something to go on a blog, maybe, not really a portfolio piece. Lab is promising enough that it could probably stay.
    I do have a question though. If I'm going to be applying for jobs as an environment artist. I have been told that it's not a good idea to have other kinds of art like character, concept, props, etc. Just environment art to specialize so it's easier to get a job. Is that right? I oftentimes thought I should have environment art be the primary in my portfolio but also include game design, game mods, and/or level design to further show that I understand game development. My professor has told me that I have seemed more like a designer but also a generalist or technical artist. I'm not quite sure what a technical artist does but I do know they help communicate and translate between artist and programmers roles. 

    Should I update the weapon model and create a new one that is "next-gen" with a higher poly model, better uvs, and brand new textures? Same for the monster? I could download a trial of ZBrush and reopen all my files. Originally I wanted the monster to be a part of the Pineview forest project and turn it into a mini-game.

    Yes, get rid of the underground tunnel. I also want to turn the lab into a game environment with textures. That could end up being a quick quixel/ue4 project. I just have to download a trial of Maya and Zbrush so I can reopen all my school projects which were done in that software and I can't afford them. 

    • Once again, apologies for the bluntness, but your senior thesis project description is accidentally a little revealing, I think. The issue with this project is absolutely not the lack of 4k/8k textures, or FX, or ray tracing. There are a lot of good things in this project, but also quite a few glaring errors and signs that you didn't have a super-refined artistic eye, or maybe that your workflow was a bit busted. If you choose to make a go of updating this, maybe if you made a thread here regarding it people could weigh in while you work...? I only say this because I simultaneously agree that this is your most promising project and it's got a lot of really good aspects, but also that your description of it gave me big huge red flags on how you'd approach updating it and what you'd prioritize. Live feedback from other artists would help mitigate that, I think. I could keep writing about this but I don't really want to do a whole breakdown unless you're actually interested in that; this post is so long already lol

      Your strong suit is definitely your general sense for spaces (I can tell you're more of a designer), but in terms of art you may benefit a lot from recreating a really good, small concept faithfully and really considering what kind of workflows and aesthetics pros currently use, or will be using in the future, and why. Breaking down games that look good, and trying to implement the stuff that appeals to you or that gets the kind of look you want or need for the scene.
    Yeah, I want to redo the plants and vegetation. Maybe just downscale the project, just show the central garden, the room, and the living headquarters. I think updating the textures in higher quality would help. I don't have a very decent pc anymore (it's 5 years old) and don't have a ray-tracing card (GTX 1070). I'm not even sure if it's worth it to upgrade my pc at all since my CPU is pretty slow and a bottleneck and I simply just want to get a job and get a brand new pc when I have money. It's like throwing money into an old car that keeps breaking down. 

    I will definitely post the Pineview forest project on a thread once I start working on it. 
    • My personal input on game designer vs game artist: breaking in as a designer seems pretty difficult, frankly. So in that aspect, you're correct... But like Brian, I've not seen many modern designers follow the "work way up through art" pathway. But if you LIKE environment art, it's quite possible that Environment Artist > Level Designer/World designer will satisfy you day-job wise until you have the means to do some indie work where you have more creative input over the whole direction of the game.
    I don't think I would work up my way through art, I would try to get into level design and then game design. Then possibly do indie work. I also just want to be part of the community. I love the gaming industry despite all its flaws such as crunch times (which need to be fixed). I can't think of anything else I'm really passionate about and enjoy doing. 
    All of this said! Your plan sounds pretty good.  Also just to recap I believe it may be better to have less stuff on your portfolio and kind of start fresh than to have such old stuff or stuff you don't like on there.

    I'm keen to see new projects from you, and I really do wish you luck in finding your place within this industry ASAP. I also hope you can find the space to mourn the last few years, if that's not too out of pocket. :'(
    Thank you.:+1:
    That really helps keep me motivated. :)







  • BagelHero
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    BagelHero greentooth

    I do have a question though. If I'm going to be applying for jobs as an environment artist. I have been told that it's not a good idea to have other kinds of art like character, concept, props, etc. Just environment art to specialize so it's easier to get a job. Is that right? I oftentimes thought I should have environment art be the primary in my portfolio but also include game design, game mods, and/or level design to further show that I understand game development. My professor has told me that I have seemed more like a designer but also a generalist or technical artist. I'm not quite sure what a technical artist does but I do know they help communicate and translate between artist and programmers roles. 

    Should I update the weapon model and create a new one that is "next-gen" with a higher poly model, better uvs, and brand new textures? Same for the monster? I could download a trial of ZBrush and reopen all my files. Originally I wanted the monster to be a part of the Pineview forest project and turn it into a mini-game.
    Specialising is definitely better unless you're seriously set on being a generalist, can show it with a portfolio that shows you're equally as good at most things, and the level on all of them is good enough to get paid for. So I don't often recommend that path, no.

    For an Environment Artist or Level Designer. It is a good idea to have props (something you would likely be doing or working with as an Environment Artist), relevant. But characters are a huge undertaking that need a similar amount of learning and time to perfect and also don't have a lot of overlap with Environment work, so if you're splitting your attention to both environments AND ALSO anatomy and rigging and character animation, it's likely you will just... well, slow your progress at improving with environment art, alongside showing to them why you're not a character/creature artist. Even if you can technically get it done, a creature or character that is not the same level as your environments will distract and only serve as an excuse to doubt your work, in the context of a portfolio.

    If you're interested in technical art... You're looking at scripting, maybe material and shader work, creation of tools for other artists to use, implementation of stuff that may be more technical to do but kinda needs an artists eye, like some UI, post processing FX, simulation, rigging. From what you've shown it doesn't sound like exactly what you want to do, but if it strikes your interest definitely dabble! There's been a pretty strong need for folks who are good at this role.

    Regarding the updates to the weapon model. I'd be for updating it. I don't think you need to focus on things like higher polygon count or texture resolution and focus more on making it look right and have it be optimized. A big issue with the current "game" model is that the polys are unevenly distributed. Why are the rotating barrels so high density, but then the big chunky cylinders right behind them have like 12 polys? Especially while the handle right next to them is so high poly... I'd focus on getting it consistent. Make sure stuff that's high density actually needs to be, and stuff that was lower poly actually has as much geo as it needs. I'd personally vote against the monster update though, for now. Backburner for when your environment portfolio is up to scratch, maybe.

    Also fwiw I primarily work with a GTX 970 on a build that is... god, probably about 5~6 years old now, too. I haven't touched a huge environment in a while but I truly think you will have no issue with a 1080, that is a perfectly serviceable card. Fancy shit like 4k textures and ray tracing and stuff doesn't mean anything if your art is wonky, and there are games from well before either of these cards that hold up great artistically.
    Less worrying about the fact you'll have to use 512, 1024, and 2048 textures and maybe be a tad conservative with the FX and workflow, and more time worrying about if placement of things is natural and makes sense, if your scene composition is good, if the lighting serves its purpose and accents the scene well, if you're telling a story with all these aspects, and if your materials are working for their purpose. I do wonder what your CPU is, that could be an issue (I've a i7-4790K, which was a bit overkill when I bought it but idk how it stands up to current specs), but its probably workable.
  • Oblivion2500
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    Oblivion2500 polycounter lvl 6
    BagelHero said:

    I do have a question though. If I'm going to be applying for jobs as an environment artist. I have been told that it's not a good idea to have other kinds of art like character, concept, props, etc. Just environment art to specialize so it's easier to get a job. Is that right? I oftentimes thought I should have environment art be the primary in my portfolio but also include game design, game mods, and/or level design to further show that I understand game development. My professor has told me that I have seemed more like a designer but also a generalist or technical artist. I'm not quite sure what a technical artist does but I do know they help communicate and translate between artist and programmers roles. 

    Should I update the weapon model and create a new one that is "next-gen" with a higher poly model, better uvs, and brand new textures? Same for the monster? I could download a trial of ZBrush and reopen all my files. Originally I wanted the monster to be a part of the Pineview forest project and turn it into a mini-game.
    Specialising is definitely better unless you're seriously set on being a generalist, can show it with a portfolio that shows you're equally as good at most things, and the level on all of them is good enough to get paid for. So I don't often recommend that path, no.

    For an Environment Artist or Level Designer. It is a good idea to have props (something you would likely be doing or working with as an Environment Artist), relevant. But characters are a huge undertaking that need a similar amount of learning and time to perfect and also don't have a lot of overlap with Environment work, so if you're splitting your attention to both environments AND ALSO anatomy and rigging and character animation, it's likely you will just... well, slow your progress at improving with environment art, alongside showing to them why you're not a character/creature artist. Even if you can technically get it done, a creature or character that is not the same level as your environments will distract and only serve as an excuse to doubt your work, in the context of a portfolio.
    Yeah, I think specializing is a better idea than doing general. I love character art but I feel that I will do better if I do environment art. That will also allow me to move to level designer and then a game designer. 

    Should I have a portfolio piece that is just props? or create an environment that is has created props?

    If you're interested in technical art... You're looking at scripting, maybe material and shader work, creation of tools for other artists to use, implementation of stuff that may be more technical to do but kinda needs an artists eye, like some UI, post processing FX, simulation, rigging. From what you've shown it doesn't sound like exactly what you want to do, but if it strikes your interest definitely dabble! There's been a pretty strong need for folks who are good at this role. 
    Yeah, technical art sounds interesting but doesn't sound like something I would enjoy doing...
    Regarding the updates to the weapon model. I'd be for updating it. I don't think you need to focus on things like higher polygon count or texture resolution and focus more on making it look right and have it be optimized. A big issue with the current "game" model is that the polys are unevenly distributed. Why are the rotating barrels so high density, but then the big chunky cylinders right behind them have like 12 polys? Especially while the handle right next to them is so high poly... I'd focus on getting it consistent. Make sure stuff that's high density actually needs to be, and stuff that was lower poly actually has as much geo as it needs. I'd personally vote against the monster update though, for now. Backburner for when your environment portfolio is up to scratch, maybe.
    I think I will just redo the high poly model. It was rushed and last minute from what I remember. It for a final deadline and I had a bunch of classes. I think I just did automatic retypo on it and apply some quick textures. Bam, called it done. I feel that the high poly model could use some work around the handle and grip. 
    Also fwiw I primarily work with a GTX 970 on a build that is... god, probably about 5~6 years old now, too. I haven't touched a huge environment in a while but I truly think you will have no issue with a 1080, that is a perfectly serviceable card. Fancy shit like 4k textures and ray tracing and stuff doesn't mean anything if your art is wonky, and there are games from well before either of these cards that hold up great artistically. 
    Less worrying about the fact you'll have to use 512, 1024, and 2048 textures and maybe be a tad conservative with the FX and workflow, and more time worrying about if placement of things is natural and makes sense, if your scene composition is good, if the lighting serves its purpose and accents the scene well, if you're telling a story with all these aspects, and if your materials are working for their purpose. I do wonder what your CPU is, that could be an issue (I've a i7-4790K, which was a bit overkill when I bought it but idk how it stands up to current specs), but its probably workable.
    I have a GTX 1070, not 1080. I think you're right. Once I get a job, I will replace my desktop completely. It's just getting old and my cpu is so slow for compiling code/shaders on my pc. It's just a mix of some 8-year-old parts and 4-year-old parts. 

    I think the biggest holdup for me right now that is really bothering me when I'm working on my project (such as my DM-Tutorial UT map project that I'm currently working on). Blender. Blender is 2.91 is still nowhere as good as Maya/3DS Max and ZBrush. I'm trying to do many things that I can't do easily as I was able to on Maya. Same with ZBrush. In blender, the sculpt is pretty simple and only handles about 3-4 million poly which is actually pretty low while ZBrush handles 40 million. I'm trying to sculpt and it's just frustrating. I wish I still had student version of Maya. I know Maya Indie is $280 for one year and it's the same as the full version of Maya. ZBrush is $160 for 6 months. Maybe I will ask my mom if she can help me with getting these software. I don't want to be taking forever to just create something when it's easier on other software. I don't want my software to limit my creativity. Blender is great and all (a bit overhyped), it's still lacking in many features and ease of use. 




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