Which position do you think you’re most interested in?
There are more positions out there now that the industry have matured but I’ll list a good chunk of positions in the industry. I’ll be simple as possible.
- Art Director: An Art Director is someone who makes sure the art style and feel of the game is consistent throughout the game. This is more of a management job than an artist job. Depending on the company, the amount of management and art responsibility varies. You need to have great management skills, strong leadership, and strong artistic skills. You are usually the final filter for art assets being published into the game. Usually there are only one Art Directors at most game companies. You work with the entire art team along with executives and also designers to achieve great looking art assets.
- Concept Artist: Most of the creativity starts here. You’re responsible for drawing out multiple variations of ideas that the Art Director requests and help them find the look and style of… well just about everything in the world. Your job is to concept out ideas in 2D images, which gets reviewed and approved by the art director. Once this is done, your images will be handed off to other artists like Environment/Props modeler, Character Modeler, FX artists, etc, so they know exactly what they need to make. Strong creativity, drawing, knowledge of colors, anatomy, lighting, and communication skills are needed for this job. You work closely with Art Director and other leads.
- Environment/Props Modeler: Art asset wise, this is probably the one that requires the most of in games. All those trees, bushes, crates, weapons, buildings, etc, all have to be made by environment/props modeler. I put them together because they usually handle both sides of the assets. You’re responsible for taking the concept art and making that into a 3D object. So you need to have strong knowledge of 3D Modeling, Materials, and Texturing skills. You work closely with Environment Leads, Art Directors, and/or Concept artists to achieve the final asset that’s needed in the game.
- Character Modeler: These artists are responsible for creating characters for the game. It could be humans, robots, animals, etc. Whatever “character” it is, you’re responsible for modeling them out in 3D. Same as Environment/Prop modelers, you take direction from concept and make it into a 3D asset which then goes to a rigger, who will put bones into them so they can move around. Strong knowledge of 3D modeling, Materials, Texturing, and solid understanding of anatomy is required for this position. You really do need to have a strong understanding of bones, muscles, and mass of characters, as well as basic rigging knowledge to give a quality model that will animate well with the rig. You work closely with Art Director, Concept Artist, Rigger(Technical Director), and Animators.
- Rigger (Technical Director): Someone needs to put bones into those characters and this person is it! In order for Animators to animate characters, it needs to be rigged. Character model is passed on to you and you’re responsible for putting a skeleton inside it so it can move and function. Highly technical job and you need to have strong rigging knowledge and also strong understanding of the software package you’re rigging in. You work closely with Character Artists and Animators.
- Animators: Walking, running, shooting, dodging, and just anything character movement related is your responsibility. You take the rigged character from the Rigger (Technical Director), and key frame animations to make characters move around. Game animators and film animators are two different breeds. While film animators work shot by shot, game animators need to worry about proper looping animations, transitions, additive animations, etc. Strong knowledge of movement and technical knowledge is required. Great Animations could really push the feel of the game to the next level. You work closely with Rigger and Character artists.
- VFX Artist: Explosions, gun fires, sparks, blood splatters, etc are all made by VFX Artists. You’re responsible for creating any VFX that’s needed for the game. You need to have both of strong artistic and technical knowledge. A strong knowledge of explosions, smoke, fire, electricity, water… just about anything VFX related. For “Next-gen” games, a good understanding of today’s particle simulators like Fume FX, BiFrost, Real Flow, Houdini, etc is great to have. You work closely with Art Directors, Programmers, Designers, and other artists.
- Creative Director: The top content lead for the game. You drive what the game is going to be ultimately. The big honcho.
- QA (Quality Assurance): Ever see a very well polished game that plays beautifully? QAs test the game so there’s no unwanted interruptions, visuals, crashes, etc. You play the game to find all these bugs and report them so people who are responsible for those specific bugs can fix them. This is also where designers start off at as well. Great position to start your industry career on. You can climb the QA ladder, or you can venture off into different areas of the company if you have the skillsets to do so.
- Producers: You’re a people person. You work on people’s schedules and organize all the tasks that needs to be done. You talk to the content creators and also the upper management about when things will be ready by. This helps the production of the game move forward and able to track where things need to change.
*Above image is owned by Bethesda Games “Skyrim”