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Junior Environment Artist

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Similar Titles

  • Associate Environment Artist
  • Assistant Environment Artist

Tools

Most Used:

  • 3DS Max
  • Blender
  • Photoshop
  • Substance Designer/ Painter
  • Maya
  • Unreal Engine
  • Unity
  • ZBrush

Good to Know:

  • Alienbrain
  • SpeedTree
  • Modo
  • 3DCoat
  • Mudbox
  • Marmoset Toolbag
  • Jira or Trello
  • Slack or Microsoft Teams

Role Summary

A Junior Environment Artist’s primary responsibilities include interpreting design concepts, creating 3D models, textures, and landscapes in alignment with the game's thematic guidelines and technical specifications. They engage with software tools such as Maya, 3DS Max, or Unreal Engine to breathe life into design ideas, ensuring the visual elements are both compelling and technically sound for a seamless gameplay experience.

Their role extends beyond individual contribution, requiring active collaboration with a multidisciplinary team of art directors, designers, and engineers to achieve a collective vision for the game. Through regular interactions and feedback loops with the team, they refine their work, ensuring adherence to the established artistic style and technical guidelines. This collaborative essence of their role facilitates a harmonious workflow, contributing to the overall project goal while fostering a productive environment for personal and professional growth.

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Knowledge

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The specific understanding around software tools and techniques, terminology and the responsibilities of the role. 
  • An understanding of current tools and techniques in the gaming industry, such as 3DS Max, Blender, Substance Designer/ Painter, Unreal Engine, Unity and Maya.
  • Familiarity with fundamental art concepts such as perspective and silhouette and how characters or props may interact within an environment.
  • Awareness of basic real-time art principles such as texturing, optimisation, shading, level of detail, realism and stylisation.
  • Have a grasp on composition in terms of both creating coherent level layouts and crafting aesthetically pleasing imagery.
  • A grasp of the principles of construction and organic growth, ensuring that creations are plausible within the world's parameters and adhere to the laws of physics.
  • Awareness of efficient file organisation practices such as consistent naming conventions, folder hierarchy and structure, version control and file formatting.
  • Basic knowledge of 3D tools suited for game engines such as Maya, Blender, ZBrush and Substance Designer/ Painter.
  • A beginner's understanding of 3D art principles including texturing and UV mapping, lighting, basic shading and materials, environment composition, scale and proportion.
  • Basic knowledge of texturing methods and materials, including texture types, layering and shading.

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 convey basic stories through environmental design.
  • Demonstrates clear communication, both written and verbal.
  • Ability to assist in producing models with good structure.
  • Basic ability to texture using industry standard tools including Maya, Blender, Zbrush and Substance Designer/ Painter..
  • Exposure to game engines like Unreal Engine.
  • Willingness to learn new tools beneficial to the role.
  • Basic familiarity with 3D software and design principles.
  • Ability to apply basic design principles to 3D spaces.
  • Able to follow diverse project art guidelines.
  • Collaborates effectively within a team.
  • Demonstrates planning and organisation skills.

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.
  • Actively collaborates, showing eagerness to contribute to the game's vision.
  • Open to guidance and feedback from senior members.
  • Shows an inclination to communicate effectively with team members.
  • Shows enthusiasm to learn and grow in the role.
  • Aspires to meet set work standards.
  • Problem-solves with a can-do attitude.
  • Demonstrates dedication and ownership of assigned tasks.
  • Aligns efforts with the company's broader objectives.
  • Continuous learning and adaptation is evident.
  • Shows respect and professionalism within the team.
  • Manages tasks efficiently and seeks guidance when needed.
  • Team-oriented, open to feedback, and keeps the team informed.
  • Flexible and adaptive to evolving project needs.
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What to expect in the day to day duties:
  • Responsible for contributing to the visual design and creation of the game world.
  • Use game design documents that outline the game's concept, narrative, and genre, as references to familiarise with the project's objectives and style.
  • Support in designing and creating game level objects, textures, trims, and decals.
  • Assist in updating and optimising existing textures and materials.
  • Aid in building modular environments in the game editor, focusing on playability and lighting.
  • Help maintain workflow and quality consistency across environments.
  • Learn and adapt to the technical limitations of the assigned project, including but not limited to hardware limitations of the targeted platform, in addition to the capabilities and restrictions of the chosen game engine.
  • Interpret concept art of props or environments and assist in converting them into game assets through tools such as Maya, Blender, Zbrush and Substance Designer/ Painter.
  • Collect and present relevant reference materials to support design decisions.
  • Factor in player interactions and game universe rules when assisting in environmental design.
  • Collaborate with other team members to ensure assets are in line with gameplay expectations.
  • Act upon feedback from senior team members.
  • Assist in addressing issues and bugs highlighted by testers.
  • Engage with project managers and art directors to align with overall design vision.
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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?

ArtStation courses. degree in computer games modelling and animation.

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

Completed a degree in computer games modelling and animation. Spent 6 months after graduating working daily on my portfolio, doing ArtStation courses and generally improving my knowledge/ work whilst looking for a position.

After 6 months I got a part time role teaching Game Art for 2nd year university students, I continued to work on my portfolio alongside this. After teaching for 6 months I finally got offered a Games industry position.

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

ArtStation courses to deepen software knowledge and workflow knowledge were the most important. I also did a degree in computer games modelling and animation.

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?

The biggest was not getting any feedback on declined applications. I also felt university did not prepare me nowhere near enough for finding a role, in terms of industry connections, quality of portfolio and depth of knowledge in the job I wanted.

The thing that helped me the most was reaching out to junior and senior environment artists in industry, asking for feedback/portfolio reviews along with general advice on getting into the industry. This was doubled with lots of self research and development to better my portfolio and software/workflow knowledge.

Interview Two

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

I undergone a Ba Honours degree in Games Art.

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

After GCSEs, I previously went on to study L3 Creative Digital Media in Film and Television. I later progressed on to the HND course but quickly realised I disliked the structure and source material. I then enrolled in games art with next to no 3D experience whatsoever, other than a keen interest in the subject matter and a means to stay in education.

I would eventually plan a portfolio in mind that would demonstrate my abilities and one that would appeal to employers and work with my assignments at university.

After almost 50 applications I applied for over 5 months, only 3 of which were for juniors, I received interviews from all 3 of them.

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

Unique experiences would included my previous role around military equipment that gave me a good understanding of hard surface assets in militaristic tones.

General experience would be the formal educational courses I was enrolled onto, as well as online courses.

I would encourage newcomers to find their interest, dabble quickly in free resources on other disciplines likes characters and eventually shop around themselves, but make sure to vet everything, as courses are expensive and the vast majority recycle the same information and often aren't beneficial.

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?

I would highly recommend reaching out to industry professionals and getting their advice, a lot of people love a nice, calm and professional inbox asking for advice.

Ultimately, there are two certainties in my opinion: one is that sheer persistence won't pay off without criticism, you must be willing and able to put in the difficult and time consuming hours to get ahead of the competition in this industry, but you absolutely must be finding feedback only from people who are qualified and good at what they do, otherwise your path and progression will always allude you, but persistence is still the key.

The other is patience, this industry isn't massive, it is highly saturated and job roles are harder to get and they are few and far between. The fact is there will be times where you have to wait, you won't receive call backs or offers, and you might flat out be denied, it's just the nature of the game.

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