Today we were asked for examples of our dream job within the games, animation and VFX industry. We would also need to considered the skills required within the chosen job role and the steps needed to enable us to reach this ultimate goal.
For me personally, my dream jobs fall within either the games or visual effects companies as I feel this is where my main interests, knowledge and skills lie. Honestly, I feel animation is the weakest section covered in the NextGen course, however if the opportunity came around, I would have no hesitation in try to develop my animation skills and knowledge to a professional standard.
3d Artist – Environment, Assets or Characters Models
From a child, I have always been a fan of Naughty Dog, the first-party studio of Sony Interactive Entertainment. The love started when playing the famous Crash Bandicoot 3D platform games on the original PlayStation, which further grew with the Uncharted series and The Last of Us.
I have always had a soft spot for graphics and feel Naughty Dog have always been at the forefront graphical fidelity, animation and story-telling within games for many console generation.
Skills / Responsibilities
I have gathered a number of examples of job advertisements from the official Naughty Dog website, which helps provide and understanding of the skills and responsibilities required to join one of the best teams within the industry.
- Sculpt and paint textures required for rendering physically based game environments
- Construct shaders using a proprietary in-house material editor
- UV layout for tiling and 0-1 mapped textures
- Match art styles defined by the art director/concept art
- Collaborate closely with 3D modelers and game designers
- Work with graphics programmers and technical artists to support the development of new systems and techniques
- Work with the tools team to convey your needs and generate tool requests intended to improve artists’ workflow
- Manage texture and shader efficiency
Requirements and Skills:
- Strong traditional drawing/painting skills
- Ability to sculpt and paint highly detailed 3D and 2D images
- Proficient at sculpting surface details and controlling shader features that represent a wide variety of material types
- Ability to create proper UV layout and tiling textures for games
- Working experience with shader networks
- Working experience with baking textures from high res meshes
- Strong Maya skills
- Strong Zbrush skills
- A solid understanding of procedural texturing techniques
(Environment Texture Artist / High-Res Sculptor, NaughtDog.com)
While not exact job I want to pursue, it gives you an idea of the abundance of skill and knowledge required to even be considered. You need to be comfortable within a wide range software including 3DS Max, Maya, Zbrush or Mudbox, all of which are 3d modelling / sculpting software. Furthermore, being able to UV and texture any created meshes in combination with shaders to produce models suitable for a game environment.
Contract, Salary and Benefits
Joining such a large and well-renowned company would come with number benefits, competitive salaries and various contract types.
As a result of searching websites such as LinkedIn.com, the majority of employees in roles such as environment artist, 3d artists and asset artists are all on permanent contracts with vast experience of working in the game industry, including working for competing companies such as Rocksteady, Crytek and Santa Monica.
A number of examples of current Naught Dog employees are linked below:
Martin Teichmann – Environment Artist
Andres Rodriquez – Environment Artist
Brian Kenny – Technical Artist
If lucky enough to get a contract with Naughty Dog, numerous benefits and perks will become available to you.
- Medical, dental and vision benefits
- Flex-spending account (For Health and Child Care)
- SONY USA 401KPlan
- Basic Life Insurance, AD&D insurance & Additional Life Insurance
- Short-term (STD) disability insurance & Long-term (LTD) disability insurance
- Met Law Voluntary Legal Plan
- Employee assistance plan (EAP)
- Paid vacation, post-project & holiday office closures and sick days
- Relocation Assistance
- Stocked Kitchen with fresh fruit, breakfast, snacks and more
- PlayStation Perks Card (various discounts on things such as food, clothes, and vacations)
- Free Monthly Sony CDs
- Discounted Sony Games
- Free Sony Studios Movie Screenings
- Sony Store Discounts
- Naughty Dog Daily Raffles
- Yoga classes
- Soccer groups
- Biking to Work/Parking Cash Out Program
- Naughty Dog Employee Referral Program
To understand the quality required to join a company like Naughty Dog, I feel it is best to view and analyse projects and portfolios of the employees currently working there. I have listed a number of examples below.
Frank Tzeng – Lead Character Artist
Keith Guerrette – Real Time FX Artist
Martin Teichmann – Environment Artist