3 Steps you can follow to become a better artist Today!
“Every artist was first an amateur” Ralph Waldo Emerson, Lecturer and Poet.
Do you want to become a better artist? If you are reading this chances are you do. Maybe you are just starting out in your art learning path or you are a veteran that may have just hit a plateau in your art skills. Regardless of where you are in your artistic skills there are many things you can do to improve your craft.
So what are some steps you can take to improve your skills? Let's explore three things you can start doing today to become a better artist.
Study the work of other artists
A great way to improve your skills is to study the work of other artists. You would be surprised at how much you can learn by simply looking at what other people are doing. The fact is, most artists like to share their work and a lot of times they also enjoy sharing their process. Analyzing other artists techniques can greatly improve the way you approach your own art. Start emulating the work of artists that you want your work to be like. Do you want to be the best comic artist in your city? Well then look at what the best comic artists in your city are doing; this will help you greatly in getting closer to where they are. Do you want to be one of the best 3D artists out there; hang around online in the places where those people gather. A good source for 3D art inspiration is Artstation or the Polycount forums. The best way to improve your art is to study the work of the people who already are at the place you want to be. By hanging out in the places where the pros hangout you give yourself the opportunity to get advice from them.
It's not a mystery that the best artists are usually the ones that have been doing art for a long time. You don't just suddenly start drawing and become the best at it overnight. One of the best ways to improve your art is to practice on a consistent basis. This does not mean that you have to make a finished drawing, painting, or 3D model every day. One of the most effective ways to improve is to develop a schedule for when you do art. As a 3D artist myself, I have found the most effective way to do this is to schedule a 30 to 60 minute session a week. I usually spend 30 to 60 minutes on a weekend doing 3D art on what I call "speed modeling". The goal of this session is not necessarily to make the best work possible, but to make the best work possible on the scheduled time; in this case a 60 minute session. During a session I try, as much as I can, to get a piece to an almost finished state; without any polish off course. After doing this on a consistent basis I noticed that I started finishing 3D models faster and also noticed an improvement on my work. It is important that when you do something like this that you create work that interests you. If you don't the activity will eventually become insufferable and something you hate doing. You should also not do it so often that it begins to feel like work, once that happens the joy of doing it will fade away.
You may be thinking , I just starting learning art myself so how can I start teaching others. Sure, if you just made your first drawing ever than you should probably wait on this. Believe it or not , if you have been doing art for at least a few months you should be ready to teach others, whether in person or online. So why would teaching others make you a better artist? Because you will do anything in your power to appear as someone who knows what they're doing. If you are teaching others, chances are you don't want to make a fool out of yourself. Having to teach others will force you to go out of your way to learn as much as you can before you teach something to someone. Teaching others online is easy, the simplest way to do so is to create a YouTube channel with lessons on how you do your art and why you think it's effective. Other ways of teaching include sharing your process in art forums, a personal blog, etc. Many people will see your work and process and either learn from it or give you feedback, which is also a great way to improve your art.
These are three things you can start doing today that will help you greatly improve on your art. There are also other resources that will help you improve such as art books, online videos,etc.
What do you think? Do you have any tips to share? where are you in your artistic journey?
Leave your thoughts in the comments section below!
If you are learning 3D Art should you learn how to use Autodesk Maya or Blender software?
You may just have started learning 3D or you may be interested in starting your journey and be questioning whether you should be learning one software over the other. Before I get to the answer I will first point out the benefits of each software.
Pros and Cons of learning Autodesk Maya
The main benefit of learning the Autodesk Maya software is that it is more widely used in the video game industry. Most studios use either Maya or 3ds Max, though the use of 3ds Max has been decreasing through the years. One only needs to glance at any video game job opening description to see that almost always Maya is listed as the software required. Another benefit of Maya is that it has some great animation tools. I am not an animator myself, but from what I have read online Maya has some of the best animation tools in the industry. Other benefits include a friendly user interface, easy to set up rigging tools, and decent vfx creation.
One of the main cons of learning Maya is that because it is the most widely used software in the video game industry, it rarely innovates. You will quickly learn that Maya is always a few steps behind other software, some may argue even Blender, in terms of tools. This is specially evident in their modeling tools. Another drawback of Maya is its price point, which unless you are a student, you will have to pay.
Pros and Cons of learning Blender
The main benefit of Blender is that it's free to use. This means that all you need is download the software and start learning, you don't need to worry about licenses or payments on a yearly basis. The fact that Blender is free is also good when it comes to the number of resources online; because there is no cost of entry there are more people out there who have access to it and many of them are making excellent tutorials. Blender is also more community based than Maya is as you will find a lot of forums, resources, and help from those within the Blender community. Many will also argue that Blender has more robust tools than Maya does; Blender also benefits from having a way to sculpt and texture models within the software. In terms of features you could say Blender has more to offer than Maya, from advanced modeling tools, a game engine within the software, and even video editing capabilities. Without a doubt Blender has a lot to offer and this is very impressive given the fact that its free.
The main drawback of learning Blender is that it is not widely used in the video game industry; you will rarely see a job posting even mentioning Blender within the job description. Because of this, if you learn Blender you have to be ready to transition to a different software, most likely Maya, if you plan on working in the video game industry. Another drawback, and this is a personal opinion, is that the user interface is not very user friendly and the controls within Blender feel a little clunky.
So which should you learn?
The answer is a lot simpler than what you may think. The fact is, whatever you learn in one software can easily be transferred to the next. Sure keyboard shortcuts and names of tools may differ between software, but it should not be too difficult to transition. The real answer to this question is that it really doesn't matter, but although it doesn't matter there are some things to keep in mind. If you learn Blender you should be aware that there aren't many studios that list Blender as a required software. If you get a job in the video game industry you should expect that you will be required to use Autodesk Maya or in rare occasions 3ds Max. As mentioned earlier, this should not be too much for someone who has already mastered the art of 3D modeling.
If we want to get more specific with the answer I will narrow it to this, if your goal is to work in the video game industry professionally you should learn Maya. If your goal is to learn 3D for fun or as a hobby feel free to learn Blender.
The main takeaway from this is that you shouldn't focus too much on the software you learn, but more on the techniques and procedures needed to learn the craft of 3D modeling or animation.
What do you think? Do you agree with my assessment on the matter? Do you think it's best to learn one over the other?
Leave your thoughts in the comment section below !
5 Steps to follow to increase your odds at landing a job as a 3D Artist in the Video-game industry
The video-game industry has expanded exponentially since the days of Atari and the early days of Nintendo. Video-games where once thought of as a hobby for the nerdy and socially awkward, but we have since past those days and now video-games are as mainstream as movies. The expansion of the industry means more jobs have opened up, but it also means there are more people interested in working in the field since it's now a viable career. Many kids dream of one day working on video-games, this was me as a 90's kid and it's great that I fulfilled that dream.
Finding a job as a 3D artist in the gaming industry is no easy task, but there are 5 things I followed that you can do to increase your odds and finding that dream job.
1. Create a Strong, but Simple Portfolio Website
This may come as obvious, but you would be surprised at the number of times I have come across someone's 3D art portfolio site which looks like a mess. If you want to get a job in the gaming industry you must have a good porfolio website. The best part about making a website is that it doesn't have to cost any money to do so, there are multiple ways to create a website for free these days. I am personally a fan of Weebly as it makes it incredibly easy to make a portfolio website. You don't have to purchase anything or even buy a domain name, the domain name you get here works just fine and employers will not care that it's a free domain name.
The important part about making a portfolio site is to keep it simple and to the point; you don't want the person visiting having to click through multiple pages. I personally like having all the content in one or two pages. My 3D portfolio page is set up so that my best work is displayed on the Home page, in my case my best 3D Environment work is there. I have a separate page/tab for Props and one for Miscellaneous with things that I could not categorize go. That is how my portfolio site is set up, 3 pages in total; I don't have a Bio or Contact page because information about myself will be sent to the company I am applying for through a cover letter. A Contact page is not needed because whomever is visiting your site will probably be a person from a company you have applied for so they already know how to contact you.
It should go without saying that you do not want to include Works in Progress in your portfolio or anything that you do not consider to be Finished. Another important thing to remember is to not include everything you have made as a 3D artist and only your best work; I personally have 4 environment pieces, 5 props, and 3 miscellaneous works. You have to remember that anyone visiting your site will only spend a few minutes or seconds there; if they see anything that is out of place ( i.e not that good) they will probably rule you out on the spot.
Other things to consider is the use of images, videos, and 3D viewers. I personally only have images in my portfolio, 3D viewers are nice, but they also take a few seconds just to load. I don't consider it a negative to have, but 3D viewers should not be the only way to view your work. I think it's also good to have short descriptions of the works you display; these should be one or two sentences of why it was made or the process or how long it took to make.
2. Specialize your 3D Art Portfolio
I talked about having a simple, to the point, portfolio and another important thing is to focus your portfolio to the position you are applying for. If you are applying for a 3D Character Artist position you only want to show work that is relevant to that position. In the case of a 3D Character Artist you only want to show characters, creatures, or anything that is organic in nature. For this kind of position you do not want to include any Environment work because that is irrelevant to what you will be working on. The same applies to applying for a 3D Environment Artist position where you do not want to include any character work. Including a mix of things only shows a lack of focus from your part; the only time you would want to include both types is if you are applying for a 3D Generalist position which are far less common than the specialized positions and typically require years of experience. If you truly believe your work is outstanding for both categories you should create two different portfolios tailored for each when applying for one or the other position. When you use Weebly to make your site you can make as many sites as you want at not cost.
3. Have someone Review/Critique your Portofolio
You can have the best portfolio set up for your website, but none of this will help you land a job if the work displayed is not up to standards. You have already placed your best work on your website, but before you send it out to potential employers make sure to get a second opinion on the work on display. If you are a recent school graduate a good person to review your portfolio is someone who was your professor on the subject. They should be able to assess whether or not your portfolio pieces need any work. Other places to get good feedback are sites like the Polycount Forums where people often show their work for feedback. You should also be able to critique your own work, take a step back and put yourself in the shoes of the employer; would you hire someone with your skill level for the job? Could you picture your work in an actual video-game? is it up to standards and has it been made with the latest workflows?
Your chances of getting a job in the gaming industry are very much tied to the quality of your work.
4. Get a College Bachelor's Degree
If you have been learning 3D art from online tutorials or on your own this is probably not what you wanted to hear. It would be great if all that was needed was to be a great artist to get into the gaming industry, but this is just not the case. The Art Director at a studio may not care if you have a College Degree or not, but the hiring department does. This is specially true at big studios where applications will go through a hiring department and will be curated before ever getting to the Art Director. In many cases your application may not even make it to the hiring department as it could be taken out of the pool via automated software. The automated software could be set up to discard applications that do not meet certain criteria which could include not having a College Degree.
You have to remember that when a position opens up at a studio there is a flood of applications that come, specially at bigger studios. The hiring department has to go through hundreds of applications before deciding which are worth sending to the Art Director. Another thing to keep in mind is that the first thing a hiring person will see is your Resume and they could discard you if it shows you do not have a College Degree; if they do this it means they won't take the time to look at your awesome portfolio.
So does any College Degree work? The answer is no, but your Degree does not need to be really specialized. As long as your Degree is relevant to your position you should be good.
You should also be aware that this tip applies mostly to large studios, smaller ( indie size) studios may be more willing to hire someone without a College Degree.
5. Establish a Linkedin Presence
In this day and age having a Linked-in profile is a must. It is important to have a profile here because it allows a recruiter to see your experience along with your connections. Linkedin is akin to a Resume where you show your skills and what experience you have. A lot of companies even let you apply for their jobs using Linkedin to fill up your application profile. It's very easy to make a Linkedin profile and send connection invitations and you have to remember that there is also nothing wrong with sending invitations to people you don't know personally. It also looks good when other people have endorsed any of your skills and even better when you and a recruiter have shared connections. One thing to keep in mind is to keep your profile professional and stay away from making any posts that are irrelevant to your industry. For more information on how to create a very effective Linkedin profile just click Here
Landing a job in the video-game industry is not easy, but I believe that if you follow the steps above you will increase your odds at making it. The steps outlined are the same I have been following since I started working in the gaming industry. I truly believe these are proven ways to better your chances at getting to a job interview.
Did you find these tips helpful? Leave a comment below and let us know if these made any difference.
Are you currently working in the video game industry? Please add to the conversation with tips of your own in the comments below!