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A Question on 3D Artist Job Openings

I have been looking at job openings for 3D Artists within game companies, 3D Character Artist more specifically. I have noticed something interesting. A large number of positions available all seemed to be Senior Artist positions. All the descriptions of the job imply or state that the Senior Artist would be working with Junior artists. From my search, it appears that Junior Art positions are less common, at least in matters of internet advertisement. Perhaps I am missing something here, but I wish to ask, is it a common phenomenon for many game companies to have a large number of Juniors and overall Non-Seniors working and seeking Seniors who keep leaving?

I know each company is different, but I also heard differing descriptions on the nature of Junior 3D Artists. On one hand I was told that Junior 3D Artist have made 3D Art for years and are somewhat decent, but upon entering a company they are relatively smaller duties such as texturing or sculpting individual parts of characters. One the other hand, I heard some Junior 3D Artists are only in the training phase and are not too aware of many greater techniques and operations of the software or 3D art in general, in which said artist learns and advances to a Midlevel artist where he can perform more complex duties like being able to make an entire character for example.

Nonetheless, what would be your suggestion in how one is able to enter as a Junior 3D Artist in the game industry?

Replies

  • EarthQuake
    This can vary significantly from studio to studio, but often times character art positions are senior positions. Character art generally only encompasses a small % of overall art production, so typically there isn't a huge team of character artists, with juniors and mid-level and senior character artists etc. So junior positions tend to be more generalist roles or environment/prop work.

    Now there may be some exceptions to this (games with really advanced character customization systems or high numbers of character assets), but just think about how many unique characters there are in an average game, and how much other stuff there is in the rest of the game world.

    So yeah, entry-level character art positions are often not a thing. You need to produce senior-level work to get hired at many studios in a character art role.

    One thing worth mentioning: having X years of experience isn't necessarily what studios are looking for in a senior position, obviously that helps, but what is more important is that your portfolio reflections senior quality work.
  • obscure_official
    Biomag said:
    There is a big difference in junior artists in AAA-studios and smaller name ones. Junior in AAA is usually somewhat with a 80-90% skillset to work on their own at the level of the studio, but mainly lacks production experience. In smaller studios you can have juniors that are below that level, but in big name studios they eat too much time to be of value. Big studios are not schools.

    Once you hit the level where simple art directions are enough to hit the quality bar on your own for less important assets that's when you are a junior level candidate for AAA.

    If you have enough experience with prodcution so that you can work on your own and just some art direction gets you to finish regular assets, that's the regular artist.

    When you reach a skill level where you can be tasked even important characters/assets and also take some additional responsabilities within the team, take care of specific topics/develop specialist level knowledge in an area that's senior. Seniors may guide juniors, but the notion that many have with juniors learning on the job is simply not true at AAA level. Its not about learning the basics of your tools, but about polishing your skillset, you get a couple of minutes of feedback and are expected to deliver on that.


    When it comes to recruitment pool, well as an AAA-company you get to pick from the top of the crop usually and when you look at intermediates or senior vs juniors - they simply are more independent and thus you get more value from them even if they cost more per hour. Rarely you will have someone junior with really good portfolio and pick him/her up, but lets be real, its not like you need to post these openings since they will apply anyway. You don't bother going on recruitment trips for juniors, its too much effort for too few that would really help you. Also if you pick up juniors its more often than not being someone local before you invest into them moving to your city.


    Last point - years of experience. They are more about skill level than professional experience. If you see a position with 3-5 years of experience that's intermediate level. Someone who can produce assets on the quality level of the company. Junior / intermediate/ senior are on the other hand about production experience.


    So how to get there? Usually you need to spend some time in smaller studios or even better in reknowned outsource studios to gain some epxerience and polish up your skillset and then you will become actually a very solid candidate for AAA - as long as you have a killer portfolio ;) Turth is as long as your portfolio is good, nobody cares about your epxerience level, its just that most students underestimate how far away they are from the level required to be ready.
    Are there any good examples of these renowned outsource studios. Also do you know of any good sites that help you find job opportunities for specifically smaller game companies. 
  • Biomag
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    Biomag sublime tool
    Sperasoft, Elite3d, Airship Images, Rabcat,... are just 4 from the top of my head. You can find more outsourcer on artstation or linkedin - or in the credits of games ;)

    For smaller studios, I have no clue. You will find those that are internationally hiring on artstation and linkedin as well as well known sites like polycount. It also good to establish contant with studios close to you. That's when living in a 'hub' really pays off.
  • jose.fuentes
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    jose.fuentes interpolator
    @Brian "Panda" Choi 
    thats a great resource, I've never heard of this site before 
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