Blog Archives

Should I take a video game job I don’t want, just to get my foot in the door?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Indigo, who asks “I have a question about taking a job in a position you don’t want just to get your foot in the door. I’ve had many teachers and other people tell me that taking a QA job or a 2D art job is a good idea just to get in. But I know that I really wouldn’t enjoy it nearly as much as a 3D art position. But it’s pretty hard to find a 3D position. So I’m not sure what to do. Any advice would be great.”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • What happens if you don’t have the skills you need to get the job you really want
  • 3 reasons why starting in a different job can boost your career
  • The 1 major drawback of starting in a different job

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Do you need an art degree if you already have a strong portfolio?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Mihai, who asks “I have a question regarding game art colleges. I’ve watched Marc Brunet and other artist’s videos and they strongly advised us not to attend any colleges as long as our portfolio is as strong as the Industry demands. Would you recommend attending a game art college if I already have a game studio quality portfolio?”

In this episode, you’ll learn:

  • Whether you can get a job as a game artist without a degree
  • Why an art degree doesn’t guarantee you’ll get a job… or that you’ll be a good artist
  • How to get real, candid feedback on your art skills

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Posted in Applying, Podcast

How to Become a Video Game Character Modeler

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.
Profile photo of artist Darran Hurlbut, video game character modeler

“Be inspired, believe in yourself. There’s a lot to learn to impress yourself, and even more to impress others.”

Darran Hurlbut has been making art for as long as he can remember – but his first job as a Video Game Artist was purely accidental.

That was in 1995, and he’s never looked back. His decades-long career in games has included many roles including Concept Artist, Environment Artist, and Character Modeler. We’re speaking with him today about his primary job as a Video Game Character Modeler – how he got the job, what it takes to succeed, and how you could start your own career as a character modeler in video games. Read more ›

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What are the different job occupations in the video game industry?

In this episode of Game Industry Career Guide Podcast, I answer a question from Dennis, who wants to know what are the all the different job occupations in the video game industry?

In this episode, you’ll learn:

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Posted in Podcast

How To Become A Video Game Character Animator

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.
Portrait of Tony Ravo

What did Tony learn when he received a letter from Disney Animation Studios? How can you learn it too?

Meet Tony Ravo, Video Game Character Animator

Tony has been making video game characters come to life since 1996. From beloved kids’ games like Finding Nemo, to classics like Harry Potter and the Chamber of Secrets, to action-adventure hits like Assassin’s Creed and Marvel Super Hero Squad, Tony has animated dozens of characters and shipped over 20 titles throughout his enviable career in games. (He’s also credited as “voice talent” on The Sims 2, but that’s another story!)

We talk with Tony today about how he started his career, what he does each day at his job, and how you can start preparing for your own job as a Video Game Character Animator. His advice will inspire you. Read more ›

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How To Become A Video Game 2D Artist/Animator

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.
Jason Bay poses with a zombie by Rich Werner, 2D Artist

This is me, posing at PopCap’s Seattle offices with one of Rich Werner’s zombies. “Braaaaaiiiins!”

Meet Rich Werner, 2D Artist/Animator behind “Plants vs Zombies”

Rich Werner has been using his art to make games come alive (or at least, undead) for over 15 years. He’s well-known as the artist behind Plants vs Zombies, an award-winning franchise that’s sold millions of units across a dozen gaming platforms.

Rich left his job at PopCap Games in 2012, and set out on his own to spawn a new breed of indie games. Today we talk with him about his role as a self-employed video game artist, and what it takes to succeed as a 2D Artist – whether you want to work inside of a game studio, or out on your own. Read more ›

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Video Game Artist Salary for 2016

This article is part of the Video Game Developer Salary series. Read about the annual salary ranges of all video game jobs, and get advice on maximizing your paycheck throughout your career.

young video game artist

Does video game art pay better than finger painting? Or is it just slightly less messy?

Table of Contents

  1. Game Artist salary: Overview
  2. Game Artist salary: Factors
  3. Game Artist salary: Details
  4. Other factors that affect Artist salary
  5. Demand for Game Artists
  6. Should I become a Game Artist?

When I first started playing video games (way back in the 1970’s!), the “art” was pretty terrible. A game’s screen could only show a few colors at a time, and often the “character” you were playing was little more than a colored square. Games were so simple that it was common for a single developer to do everything by herself – all the design, all the coding, and all the art.

But that all changed over the years. As gaming systems grew more powerful and made the leap from 2-dimensions to full-color 3D, the video game artist’s job became too much for one person to handle. Now, the job that was once done by a single artist has fragmented into many different art specialties, each with its own suite of tools and techniques that take a lifetime to master. But when it comes down to the paycheck, not all art jobs are created equal.

How much do video game artists make? And how much could you make as a game artist?
Read more ›

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How To Become A Video Game Special Effects Artist

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.

Meet Nathaniel Hubbell, Video Game Special Effects Artist

Nathaniel Hubbell, Video Game Special Effects Artist

Nat takes bare-bones games and fleshes them out with stunning visual effects.

When it comes to animation, Nathaniel is a consummate “jack of all trades.” Whether it’s his work on big-budget franchises like Assassin’s Creed, Spore, or X-Men, Nat has leveraged his skills in animation, rigging and special effects to make amazing visuals that shock and awe gaming audiences everywhere.

Today, we talk with Nat about what it takes to become a VFX (Visual Special Effects) Artist in video games, and what you can do to get started down his path. Read more ›

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How To Become A Video Game Environment Artist

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.

Meet Caleb Parrish, Video Game Environment Artist

Caleb Parrish, Video Game Environment Artist

“Be prolific. Draw every day. And play beautiful games before the fun ugly ones.”

Caleb has been creating gorgeous interactive environments for over 15 years. He’s shipped 10 games as a key art team member, and contributed to many more as a consultant and technical art resource. Caleb’s work includes titles from blockbuster franchises like Spiderman, Assassin’s Creed, and Spore, and he specializes in making art look amazing even on resource-limited mobile devices.

Although his credited work is largely as an Environment Artist, Caleb is also a talented digital painter. (There’s a link to his breathtaking online portfolio at the bottom of this article.) He accomplishes all this by living his own advice about drawing every day and being prolific in your work. Read more ›

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How to Become a Video Game UI Artist

This article is part of the Quest for Your Career series. We focus on each specific job in the video game industry by interviewing an expert in the field. Learn what they do, how they got started, and whether it's a good job for you.

Meet Tamara Knoss, UI/UX Artist

Tamara Knoss, Video Game UI/UX Artist

This is Tamara, and she hopes you don’t notice her work.

Tamara has been active in the game industry for well over a decade – her early work was on the Nintendo Game Boy Advance as a 2D animator. More recently, she’s been a key user interaction (UI) artist and user experience (UX) designer on a number of titles including Battle Nations, Deer Hunter Reloaded, Samurai vs Zombies Defense 2, and Shinobi 3DS.

Tamara talks with us today about why it takes a thick skin and collaborative mind to work in UI/UX, and why doing interface design can be supremely rewarding for somebody with the right kind of personality. Could it be a good job for you?  Read more ›

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