Game Industry: worth getting in to?

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  • I have a daughter who is about to graduate high school. IMHO she is a very good artist, and wants to pursue game design and all the things that go with it (character design, etc). I am a self-taught animator and compositor and stay pretty busy freelancing. She wants to go to a college/university and get a degree in graphic/game design, and I say just learn what you need to just start marketing yourself now. Still go to school, but you don't have to wait four years to start 'working' in the industry. If you can deliver environments and characters that are animated and ready to drop into games (or illustrate children's books, etc), you can start working now! Or get a real job and just pursue this on the side for fun (ie starving artist)?


  • I'm not sure how much help I can be, but I'll give you my take. (this advice coming from a designer/developer)

    There will always be room in this industry for great artists. The faster she can find her niche, the better. (at school or in the market)

    (Pick a spot in the industry to study or work on... For example: 2D, 3D, concept art)

    Whatever the route she takes, she needs to be focused on adding value. Keep doing actual work toward her end goal (and projects, as they will lead her to more profitable areas)

    When she is looking at areas to study or grow in, I highly recommend she look on freelance websites like (or similar places) to find things that are actually in demand. (and price ranges) to make sure it's an actual area that makes anything.

    (Advice to Her ^, advice to you \/)

    But I think the biggest thing you are asking is, go to school, or do it on the side...

    I would let her decide, but give her one condition... She has to set a time frame that if it's not working out within this time frame that she will do something else. (at least temporarily)

    That way, her goals are real, and need to be acted on now or maybe never. (instead of checking Facebook again)

    Whatever the case, I would love to see some of the art <img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_biggrin.gif" alt=":D" title="Very Happy">

    Also, this channel for any game designer (if that's the right term) has so much info that is definitely work a look for her!

    I hope my rambling can be of some help!


  • I'll preface this by saying you shouldn't take anything I say too seriously, because I don't know what is best. What works for someone might not work for someone else..

    I think the main benefit of schooling is that you get taught whatever is being currently used/practiced in the industry, so that when you're done with it you can expect to seamlessly transition into the workplace.

    It's the school's job to know what the student needs, etc. So if you aren't going to school, you have to do extra work figuring all that out, and you also may not have access to everything, such as specific tools.

    That being said, I'm a self-taught artist, and managed to get into the industry when I was 16 or 17. Straight out of highschool I moved and work full-time for 5th cell media, but I had been doing work while I was in highschool related to game-art too.

    There were less people doing what I was doing back then, so maybe it was easier than it is now, and also technologies have changed- so expectations may have risen.

    A lot of people who have gone to school and gone to work at game companies have also gone on to a more independent route, because chances are a person isn't going to be able to fulfill all their creative desires creating what others want them to create instead of what they themselves want. I know people who have worked at major game companies who are now choosing on their own to do their own thing instead, because for them it is more rewarding that way even though it doesn't pay much if at all.

    I feel like, if a person isn't doing what they want to do already, what's going to make them continue doing it later?? Everything I have done has always been an extension of the things I've already done. I've been doing art all my life, and game dev related stuff for almost 20 years now. As it looks, It seems like I'll continue doing it, but in what shape or form, I'm not sure- but I'm at least doing it.

    I'd say whatever helps her do what it is she is doing, would be good, whatever it is. But, I don't have a kid, and I'm only 30 years old with 2/3rds of my life inside my games/art- what do I know about life..

  • Thanks for the advice guys.

    Here are some examples of her recent artwork. She free-hand sketches into Photoshop on her Surface tablet.

  • I'd tell her to stay away from the anthropomorphic stuff.

  • [quote:3vui5490]I'd tell her to stay away from the anthropomorphic stuff.

    Yes, so far she has only ever drawn for fun. It's just what she likes to draw.

    I work with clients regularly, and I understand you have to deliver their idea, not necessarily your own.

    Would a regular graphic design course be of value? Neither of the two local universities offer anything on game design etc.

  • I'd tell her to stay away from the anthropomorphic stuff.

    I don't agree at all. Human history is filled with anthropomorphism, from Greek mythology , ancient Egypt and religion to modern FUN games and educational books. Its in the human nature to see everything around as being human or having emotions.

    Most fun games I played where anthropomorphic in nature.

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  • A degree is pretty much useless unless you want to get hired by a triple a developer.

    If you do go that route make sure it's heavy in 3d, or code.

    Also once you go furry, you don't go back.

  • As someone, who never finished university, I can tell you that a degree is never a must. It does help, rather than hinder, but it's never mandatory (unless you want to be a doctor, lawyer, etc.).

    I graduated high school less than 5 years ago and I am currently a team manager at a serious IT company, dealing with online advertisement. I am soon moving to a position in one of the top mobile tech sites as a journalist. And all this is done with just a high school degree and a lot of determination.

    The best course of action here (in my opinion) is to just let your daughter decide what to do and support her the best you can.

    Then again, I am not a parent, nor have I made any achievements in the gaming industry, so I could very well be wrong.

  • ehm, yes you have a good point, but if she likes drawing so much, you could infuse the idea of Architectural Designs in her mind, and not worry about (ie. Starving Artists).... you know why im saying that... Architects are like Doctors. She having the drawing skills is a good start, that is one requirement, the other is Mathematics if she studies good id say go for a Architect University, yes takes 6 -7 years but man once she finished it. She be making in a month as you did your entire life.

    atleast that is my point of view, as for her love for drawing stuff for fun as she does now, cause she thinks is cool and her Daddy is in the business. she can do it part-time and learn while doing it.

    As a side note: i have a few Graphic designers friends in university all where so enthusiastic at beginning about it, then 2nd year came and they where thinking to drop from the school.

    Its best to ask her where she sees herself in this business in next 10 years, and if she has stuff in her mind with being a artist, and im not saying the commercial type, but the more fancy and not understood types(ie. staving artists) ... that is going to be a rough future for her, if she tends in that direction.

    plus she just finishes high-school, you can model her idea of designing, and help her choose a career point. where as a woman she needs to be in future, and can sustain herself, and not depend on her future husband or worry where her next freelancer job will come from.

    im thinking at your problem, as i see myself if i wold have a daughter.

    and from my point of view, not worth it getting into game industry as a graphic designer.

    The text above is just my opinion on the issue posted by the OP no pwn intended or trolling.

  • Some advice from an industry veteran (designer, 20 years for my sins...) for your daughter:

    Hello! From the samples of your work posted you obviously have some chops, always a good starting point for working as a game artist, but before you plunge into a full-time course you should spend some time making sure that it's definitely the career path for you. Many skills you can pick up without attending a study programme, and if you do decide to go down the academic route you'll find it a much smoother journey with some prior knowledge under your belt.

    1) Learn the tools of the trade: check out job vacancies for artists on games industry recruitment sites and familiarise yourself with the packages that the industry is demanding. Learn how art assets are implemented from these packages into different game engines and what the restrictions are when working with these tools.

    2) Expand your repertoire: game art is more than just character design. Learn the basics of anatomy, animation, scenery design, typography, graphic design, HUD design visual effects, textures etc. Try different styles of art: pixel, vector, 3D, isometric, and learn how to implement these for different platforms. You will stand a much better chance of landing your first job in the industry if you can show versatility. As others on this thread have pointed out, it is rare to find a position that fits perfectly with your preferred areas of interest.

    3) Study games, don't just play them. Consider how different systems were implemented and how you would go about replicating them. Make notes on what works and what doesn't. Play old games as well as new ones - learn about the constraints on old platforms that dictated the look and feel of the games on them.

    4) Make some games! There's an abundance of free tools available (C2 of course!) that are easy to learn and can produce professional results - there's nothing like actually creating a game and seeing it through from start to finish to work out whether this is a career you want to pursue. In addition, help out others on projects - there are always people on this forum looking for help with art - give them a hand and get your work into their games and gain experience of working in a team (to deadlines!) in the process.

    The more you can do in your free time to improve your portfolio and master the craft the more compelling a candidate you will be.

    Final warning: life in the games industry can be tough; it's highly competitive, companies go bust, projects get canned, hours can be long. Try and secure some work experience with a games company first to get a feel as to whether it's the sort of lifestyle you will be comfortable with. If you're absolutely certain that games are the right path for you then go for a specialised course, otherwise a more general graphic design qualification would give you the flexibility to work in a whole range of fields, many that you may not have even heard of, whilst still allowing you to transition into games if you later feel that's where your gut is leading you.

    Hope that helps!

  • To the people that answers to this or any topic.

    About the degree and not degree topic.

    A degree is not always necesary to land a job.

    A degree will some times be necesary for that job.

    Some people get nessesary knowladge on their own.

    Some get them with a degree.

    None will know everything.

    Time, study, and practice is absolute to both.

    About the drawing:

    She's definetly talented.

    Style is trademark.

  • If she is willing to work for free, I can match her up with our artist.

    And learn 3D. You can always go back to 2D later, but 3D is the "way of the future," so to speak, especially with VR coming on to the scene.

    Granted, I am a "jack-of-all-trades" kind of guy, so take my advice with a grain of salt (or two).

  • I'm a Senior Character Artist with 12 years of experience. Worked in several companies here in Montreal. My perspective is that you don't need schooling but, its better. It will teach proper anatomy, color theory and a bunch of other things that I see a lot of people often lack and fail to find a job easily.

    Her concepts are alright but if she is serious about it, she'll need to show an exceptional ability to create any kind of concepts, whether is realist or more stylized.

    Also, concept art is more difficult to get in comparatively to 3D art or animation.

    Art in general and maybe specially for the video game industry means working really hard. Its a lot of hours to perfect your skills. So is she is serious about it, then she'll have to do a lot of extra learning and always look where she wanna be in a couple of years.

    There's a ton of online resources like Feng Zhu school of design which offers some very nice videos for free. And also schoolism (paid but great)

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