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Junior Character Artist

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Similar Titles

  • Assistant Character Artist
  • Associate Character Artist

Tools

Most Used:

  • Maya / Blender / 3DsMax
  • ZBrush
  • Substance Suite
  • Unreal Engine

Good to Know:

  • Mudbox
  • Adobe Photoshop
  • SideFX Houdini
  • Sculptris
  • Marmoset Toolbag
  • Marvelous Designer
  • Jira or Trello
  • Slack or Microsoft Teams

Role Summary

The Junior Character Artist role is tailored for artists who have a deep-seated passion for crafting characters. Those in this position will significantly contribute to the development of engaging and high-quality characters, participating actively in their evolution from concept to completion.

An artist in this role will apply their specialised skills and artistic insight to enhance the impact of the project. The work done in this capacity is crucial for establishing a strong connection between audiences and the characters they encounter.

To excel in this role, an artist must have an extensive understanding of human anatomy, a strong foundation in artistic principles, including form, structure, colour theory and lighting; and the ability to adeptly use industry-standard software tools for character creation including ZBrush, Maya and the Substance Suite.

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Knowledge

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The specific understanding around software tools and techniques, terminology and the responsibilities of the role. 
  • Familiarity with common industry 3D modelling software like Maya or
  • Blender, sculpting software like ZBrush, coupled with a basic understanding of real-time rendering engines.
  • Has a grasp of basic human and creature anatomy, understanding proportions and skeletal structures.
  • Awareness of foundational character design principles, its role in storytelling, and its placement within game development cycles.
  • Understanding of workflow relevant to character modelling, UV mapping, and texturing.
  • Knowledge of how different disciplines intertwine in the game development process, especially concerning character art's role.

Skills

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The specific proficiency around technical skills, the types of creative and problem solving abilities, and areas of communication and adaptability.
  • Ability to convert concept sketches into 3D character models to set art style standards.
  • Ability to comprehend and adapt to various character art technical workflows which include digital sculpting and texturing.
  • Keen ability to communicate ideas, present work, and collaborate within team settings.
  • Competence at managing tasks, setting priorities, and working towards deadlines.
  • Capable of adjusting to different artistic styles and technical requirements while aligning with project goals.

Behaviour

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In relation to the capabilities around working within the team, and the expectations when it comes to professionalism or commitments to the role and company culture.
  • Shows a cooperative mindset, championing team goals, actively engaging in group discussions, and valuing input from peers.
  • Exhibits a budding professional demeanour, punctuality, and a commitment to the task at hand.
  • Displays a willingness to accept feedback, fostering an adaptive mindset focused on continual growth.
  • Conveys a strong inclination towards learning, skill improvement, and keeping up with basic industry trends.

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What to expect in the day to day duties:

  • Tasked with assisting in the crafting of anatomically accurate (according to universe/ project style) character models that adhere to project guidelines and artistic direction.
  • Plays a key role in supporting animators and riggers, ensuring characters are prepared with animation-ready topology and edgeloops that support deformation.

  • Responsible for helping maintain consistent and optimised texture maps and polygonal structures, while abiding by technical specifications and game direction.
  • Tasked with gathering research material to make sure sculpts/models are following the game direction as part of your workflow

  • Entrusted with showcasing iterative work, adapting based on feedback, and ensuring their models meet project standards.

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Interview One

Did you undergo any specific training or education (formal or informal) that you think was beneficial in obtaining your current role?

I went to university studying games development.

Describe your journey into your current role in the gaming industry.

Before University, I did not have any experience with games development. In fact, I did not know there were courses for it or anything. I did have a big art background (from fine art to illustration), so I knew I wanted to go into something art related, but never thought it would end up 3D.

I had a placement year in place of my 3rd University year which was just a bunch of University students that came together to make a game, but it didn't go well. It still taught us quite a bit about team-working, mostly through a bunch of failures.

I think that extra year definitely helped me through the projects I was doing on the side, though. If I wasn't constantly in a project, I don't think I would have been ready to get my first role the time that I did. Still, I never felt truly ready, but nobody ever does.

What experiences or qualifications were most critical in securing your current role?

I have seen a lot of artists make really great things out of private mentoring, but of course that is not always something people can afford.

A lot of people dropped out of my Uni course and generally found it difficult, because it is not tailored to a specific role that you want to do, usually. University courses aimed towards game development tend to teach you everything about it, which is also why a lot of graduates look for generalist roles, or have mixed portfolios.

So I can't say that I fully recommend going for a degree unless you are ready for the discipline and perseverance that it would require to go out of your way and learn on your own.

However, it could be a good choice for someone who doesn't know what they want to do or have absolutely no experience with games development, because it explores everything.

What were some of the challenges you faced when trying to get into the industry, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for individuals trying to get into your role?

My first challenge was to scout through a bunch of studios that I would want to get into and try to tailor my portfolio to them.

Try to show as many technical things that I put into each of my piece, show that I've learnt something different in each of them. If I am missing a particular skill in a portfolio piece, I would make another piece showing that (e.g. if my character is hand-painted, I would do a PBR-based character next time). Because when you are just learning, there aren't a lot of things that you can show which you are happy with, so you have to tailor them to specific technical abilities as guidance.

However, this isn't something that I've noticed a lot of people do - most just create things without a second-thought of why they would be making that piece.

When someone asks me for portfolio feedback, I always ask them what studio they want to apply to, because if they are aiming for a studio like Riot, they need to show their ability to create brilliant hand-painted materials and show understanding of very specific character optimization within games.

Another challenge for me is not getting a response from studios after applying, or getting rejected, and not knowing why. Sometimes people go through interviews and not know why they were rejected. It's difficult to not feel imposter syndrome. I accepted really early on that everyone has imposter syndrome and I tried to put my anxiety asides. You need to stay mentally strong and just keep grinding at it - keep looking through work of people who have gotten into industry and see what works they presented, compare your quality to theirs. Always stay up to date and always keep yourself busy.

Interview Two

Did you undergo any specific training or education (formal or informal) that you think was beneficial in obtaining your current role?

2 college degrees.

Describe your journey into your current role in the gaming industry.

I worked at a supermarket and after many failed tries to get into the industry I managed to be apart of an Indie team, still no pay though.

What experiences or qualifications were most critical in securing your current role?

They just looked at my portfolio.

What were some of the challenges you faced when trying to get into the industry, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for individuals trying to get into your role?

Cant find any place to give me an interview, having mixed reviews about my portfolio saying it was great to not their yet, and for an entry level job comparing my work to their other entry levels.

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