Industry research post 2 – How to get my desired job within the games industry

My desired job within the games industry is to be an animator, and this post is going to contain some of the advice I have been given, and my research into what I need to do to become an animator. I have spent some time researching into university courses over the past few months, and I visited the UCAS exhibition back in June to see what varied universities had to offer.

Main choice

The top of my list so far is Teeside University, because the university itself is well renowned for animation, and lots of industry professionals studied animation there, so this information alone is good to know. After looking into the courses myself, I am most interested in the BA (Hons) Computer Games Animation course because this course covers everything I would ideally love to learn to become an animator. It covers 2D animation and illustration, 3D character animation and rigging, and motion capture, and is specifically aimed at the video games industry, which is my ideal industry to work for. The overall ratings for the course are really good, with 94% satisfaction (at the time of writing), which scores higher than any of their other animation courses. It is a full time 3 year course (4 years including work placement), and the entry requirements involve an interview and presenting your portfolio. I think that this course has everything that I want in order to learn how to be an animator and set me up for the games industry, and so this university takes the top spot in my list of potential universities.

Other potential universities

University for the Creative Arts has potential because they seem to have a good computer animation course, which covers both 2D and 3D animation, along with concept art, story development, and lots of broad areas, however this makes me worry about how much practical animation will be involved. The course involves software that I am already familiar with, Autodesk Maya and Photoshop, so it shouldn’t be too far out of my comfort zone. Graduates of the course have been known to go into companies such as Blue Zoo and Framestore, and the course’s showreel looks very good, so this course could be a good alternative, however the campuses are VERY far away and mostly based in expensive places to live, so this isn’t ideal for me.

Wrexham Glyndwr university’ BA (Hons) Animation course also looks good, and this one is based around 2D and 3D animation, which means that I would get a range of experience and learn more about techniques regarding many forms of animation, however at this moment I don’t think this course has everything that I would want, because Teeside has all of this, and more, so I’m much more likely to go for Teeside. The course requires 112 UCAS points to join, but isn’t the top of my list.

Professional advice

I asked Matt for advice on what to do, and how he got into the animation industry, and his advice was that he made his showreel with all of his best work and sent it to as many people and places as possible through as many social media networks as possible, and that when those places gave him advice on improvements, he would make improvements and show the people the improvements. He also recommended that my showreel be short and only my best work, and that I try to include quirky different things to set mine apart from other candidates, and that I do not stop animating!

Taking this useful advice into account, as I go through University, I will make my showreel and keep on updating it with only my best stuff, and spend lots of my spare time making some varied, different things in attempt to set me apart from other candidates, and I will make accounts on as much social media as possible so that when the time comes to promote my work, I will be able to spread my showreel as much as possible.

Industry research post 1 – Job roles within the video games industry

My desired industry to work for in the future is the video games industry. The games industry has many available jobs, and luckily this course covers most of them. Hopefully this post will cover enough detail on some of the potential jobs up for offer within the video games industry.

Animators – This job interests me most, as I am extremely interested in becoming an animator. This job is responsible for bringing life to characters, making a believable environment, and adding charm to movement and behaviour within a game. This can be within gameplay or cutscenes. Animators work closely with programmers and artists to create the best balance between smooth life-like movements and optimising the platform’s performance.

Concept and Lead Artists – These jobs are mostly centred around designing the game’s visual style, and designing the look of the characters, and environments. Concept artists make the initial art for the game and roughly design characters, environments, and all of the important assets, which then get developed by lead artists into official game art that inspires how everything looks. These artists work closely with all of the 3D art teams, and animators to make sure that all of the visual works fit the game’s style.

3D Artists – This branch splits into many smaller jobs such as 3D modellers, texture artists, and rendering specialists. These jobs consist of creating the assets that will get used in the game itself using software such as Autodesk Maya and 3DS Max to build and make the models. These artists work mostly with eachother, and lead artists so that the game assets fit the official game art and style.

Programmers / Developers – Programmers make and write the code that is used to run the game. There are different levels of programmers, but fundamentally they all share the role of making the code to run and control the game, and making custom codes wherever needed. There are specific specialisms, such as physics programming, AI programming, 3D engine development, and interface and control systems development. Programmers work closely in teams, and also with games designers to make sure that the code will apply properly to the necessary aspects of the game.

Games Designers – Games designers devise what a game consists of and how it plays, defining the core elements of the game, and designing levels and mechanics. They make the story, setting, rules, interface design, and all of the important features relating to the game. Games designers work with everyone and all of the other job roles so that their ideas get through properly, and work properly.

Producers – There are many levels and types of producers within the games industry, but ultimately, producers work on ensuring the successful delivery of the game, and making sure that everything is managed and organised properly. They are the managers of the projects, and they communicate with everyone involved with the projects, and they make sure that everything runs smoothly between all of the teams.

These roles are some of the most important roles within the industry. There are other important roles such as audio engineers, narrative copywriters, QA testers, and technical artists (and many many more), but it would take forever to describe every role in the industry, so I only listed the ones that immediately came to mind. In my next post, I will describe how I plan to try and become a professional 3D animator, and how industry professionals have gotten this job.

High Poly Sledgehammer Asset: Low and high poly models

Over the past 3 weeks, I have been working on making my sledgehammer model in Maya. I never got around to making separate posts each week, so for convenience I will just make one big post about my progress on this

I initially started off by making a low poly model. To do this, I got my scaled concept sketches of the hammer, and used image planes to make a set up that would make it easier to design the hammer. I then created a cylinder, changed the subdivisions to 8, and extruded faces to make the main part of the hammer. I then used edgeloops to make a smaller section in the ‘middle’ of that main part of the hammer, and extruded out the handle part. After that, I extruded the small part out of the top and merged the vertices to make a small diamond for detail.

Low poly sledgehammer creation.PNG

I then UV unwrapped the model in preparation for normal mapping. outUV.png

I then duplicated the model, and began working on a high poly version. Initially, my plan was to sculpt some scratches, dents, or engravings into the model itself, but I couldn’t work this out properly and didn’t want to risk damaging my model for now. I decided to just bevel some edges on the model so that it would look neater.

I then tried to bake the high poly model onto the low poly model, and this was difficult. I followed the steps, and actually managed to make a normal map. I played around with the hypershade settings, and I think I managed to apply it to a lambert. I then decided to make some renders of the untextured model, because so far any renders are better than none.

sampledNormals.png

Looking at these renders, I think something is wrong with my normal map, but this shouldn’t cause any problems. These renders have the normal map on, and the edges are very prominent, so it looks kinda weird but it’s worth showing.

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So far, I am quite happy with the progress that I have made on my model. I’m really surprised that I actually managed to make a normal map, this is the most advanced modelling technique that I have used that has actually worked out right. I like the way my model looks, I am slightly disappointed that I couldn’t work out sculpting, but some good textures can make up for that. My next step is to make some textures for this sledgehammer.