BORN YESTERDAY - please help
#1
Hi. You don’t know me but I "know" some graphic design artists (all concept designers) and theyr life seems pretty pink (read as "good and happy").  

I’m writing this because I want to know how is this industry of video games/movies. Some questions may seem to personal but I consider the direct approach is the best kind of approach a subject – of course not to personal. First of all, I’m 24years old and an architecture (building, environment desing + enginering) student in year 5 out of 6 and the future of this job seems very grim. There are to many students and not so much projects, all offices (here in Romania - its a country) are full, closing and/or want long interships (1-2 years with no pay at all or minimum wage if you are lucky). The skill in 2D/3D (for architecture projects) is no problem, but there is no request for projects – most of eastern Europe is the same (dont be fooled if a building nearby you is rising, that dose not mean that the market is flowing). All of projects go to that "especially" someone everytime and there is no more work for young folks. The main problem is that there are some old architects who aprehended all the market... long story in short version: THERE IS NO ROOM FOR NEW COMERS (you need to have some relatives or connections that allready have a architecture office to have at least a chance at a decent life as an young architect). If i continue this way... well my life is gona be a living hell.

Aaaaand… after facing this grim truth I was wondering about the video game/movie art industry. I was in an art highschool (drawing section) and all the classmates who further followed the art college had a very poorly start, but in 1-2 years they start to live very well – one is a freelancer that works one month and then he self improves for 2-3 months, and another one works in a studio and he makes backgrounds for Mobile App games (his skill is average but don’t know how he is more than decent payed – guess luck dose count sometimes). So in the last 5 months my perspective about jobs and the market request have drastically changed – I’m starting to regret not going to an art college (my first passion - dropped because i didnt think i could live decent..... gues i was wrong), struggle 1-2 years at first and then do what I like. But what the hell, life is short, I can still change – I hope. So I’m starting by collecting some feedback about this industry. Is it possible to get to a average-decentish-goodish-acceptable skill in 2D concept drawing in 1,5-2 years if I try to impove my self every day (3-4 hours every day, 6h/day in weekend and vacantions......average to good skill in hand drawing.....terribe at tablet dowing at the moment)???? And by average-decentish-goodish-acceptable skill in 2D concept drawing im referring if I could get a decent job in this industry ??? By decent i mean a normal pay, the weekly 40 hours are respeected and nice people. I cant afford to count on luck like the guy that I told you about. Im asking this because …. I saw on artstation.com a lot of artists who were freelancing, and usually when someone is freelancing, that means he is unemployed - most times (sad face). Or I am wrong? I don’t know what to belive because I saw their artworks and its beautifull -  im referring to those who have original concepts, awesome colouring skill and light knoledge, not to those who are just copying Deadpool, Batman, Sasha Grey etc. and make 3d of already made character concepts - that is copying.

So the short version of this important section – HOW EASY IS THE PROCESS OF FINDING A DECENT/CORRECT JOB IN THIS INDUSTRY AS A 2D CHARACTER/ENVIRONMENT CONCEPT IF I HAVE A DECENT-GOOD SKILL (i am referin mostly to stabile jobs, not freelancing, but opinions and advices on frelancing jobs are welcomed)??? ARE THE GOOD JOBS OUT THERE ALLREADY TAKEN LIKE IN THE ARCHITECTURE INDUSTRY??? 

Now I don’t even dream about jobs at studios like Ubisoft, Blizzard, Riot, Rockstargames, 20th Fox Century – I know they request +5 years of experience plus level of skill over 9000 (dragoon ball reference )… still here in Romania (country where I live) there are 2 big studios Gameloft and Ubisoft + a few smaller studios.  Some guy gave me a website with lots of jobs (like 120) but all of them were posted by super big companies who can affort to hire the best. And the main issue is... ok there are 100 good jobs.... but there are 10.000 good artists (hope i exagerated). Would that mean i would have to struggle like crazy just to find a decent job. I'm asking so much about the "jobs" in this industry because lets face it, everyone needs to make a living.

AND the second important section: HOW APPRECIATED IS THE ENVIRONMENT 2D CONCEPT/ENBIRONMENT PHOTOBASH? ARE THERE ANY JOBS ON THIS SECTION? DO YOU THINK 6 YEARS OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM PLANNING ARE GONA HELP? I think this is what i would like to do.

Most people told me that “I must figure what I want from this industry, where I want to activate” but they didn’t told me any exact information about the jobs, how to work, what the average time for a pice of artwork (image – starting from sketches – composition – color study – detail… I don’t know the steps). The section in that I would like to work I allrady know it: environment. I also like character/vehicle/weapon/etc. design but these things are so "changeable". Think of The Witcher 3. Of course the main character is a badass, but this badassery dose not come from his armor or weapon design. the player changes this thing once every few hours. The "badassery" comes from his actions and attitude... which is more a moral character design job for a writher. But the environment... well that is unchangeble, it stays there, and it depends on the designer skill and imagination to capture the player. So yes, i think environment is what i like to do. To be more exact, 2D concept and maybe....MAYBE.... 3D design. But not texturing or jobs like this because i feel like my brain will die if im not trying to create something from scratches.

So what are your advices toards the artwork jobs (games and movies)? Do you have any suggestion for tutorials or other artists, books????  Guess at the end of those 1,5-2 years I should have a good CV - personal site nowdays. I heard that the internet buzz over your work is more important thanthe qualiti of it - dont know if it is true. But there are a lot of these nowdays and some of them have a series of outstanding works. Some advice what should I post? How could I “catch the eye” in an universal way? I mean take Blizzard and Riot - they have totally different styles. The question is: THERE IS A WAY TO CAPTURE THE INTEREST OF MOST OF THIS KIND OF STUDIOS? you know... like killing 2 birds with one rock.

 To be honest I don’t even know for sure what to ask. I've just asked what i think was importtant. If i missed something, please say.  All I know is that in a short time I have to improve myself -  but what I do after? Please give your most honest answer. Till now I have asked for more than a few opinions and advices and I had very polite answers but not on subject, very rude ones (not worth mentioning), and maybe 2-3 answers that really helped me. Thank you and have a very nice day. Bye.
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#2
Hey man ! Welcome to the forums ! Please don't write in small fond again, it makes me dizzy and its hard to re-read some of the points you made.

There are plenty of opportunities for flexible hard working people. By that I mean people who are okay with changes in techniques and software. You need a good portfolio in order to show that you meet studios demand's. There is no such thing as universal appeal, studios usually hire people who's style is close to the IP they are developing. For example most of my portfolio is Sci-Fi stuff, there is no reason to hire me to do castles.
However there are universal requirements which regardless of the style , can make you an appealing candidate for every concept job. Those are knowing the fundamentals of form and light, storytelling , 3D modeling and texturing, photobashing and matte painting.

I think the fact that you were studying architecture is great. Because you are familiar with more styles, history and can make your environments more functional and solid than people who come from other backgrounds.

My advice so far is : Decide what type of designs you like the most , look for a studio which works in a similar fashion, make a portfolio which can meet their demands. If you want more freedom however, freelancing seems better. I'm into environment design as well, if you are interested, you can PM me and talk about it more.
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#3
Hi Simion.

Good news is, you're just at that right age to decide whether or not to pursue the much coveted career in video games. Mid-20's seem to be the right age.

The not-so-good news is, what you heard about the industry being highly competitive is absolutely right. About "struggling like crazy just to find a decent job", struggling really depends on how good you are skills-wise and how good you are at personal marketing. You can be a really crappy artist but a really nice, upright person, you will struggle to work on your skills. You can be a really good artist but a crappy person to work with, you will struggle to work on yourself. Beyond that, you will struggle because every artist in the business is constantly upping their game, that you have to always improve yourself as well to keep up. Everybody is working at the highest level quality wise and everybody is finishing faster. From what I heard, the video game business is not exactly cake-walk as many perceive it to be. It will always be a struggle. It is a struggle you have to love to survive. But hey, if you find that perfect, big foot of a myth chillax art job, I will be super jealous, but, at the same time, happy for you.

"HOW APPRECIATED IS THE ENVIRONMENT 2D CONCEPT/ENVIRONMENT PHOTOBASH? ARE THERE ANY JOBS ON THIS SECTION? DO YOU THINK 6 YEARS OF ARCHITECTURE AND URBANISM PLANNING ARE GONA HELP?"
- Man, if you can pull that off and crank out a dozen beautiful pieces per hour, I will probably hound you for hints and tips. There's a job called Environment Concept Artist that may pique your interest. I think any information, like experience in architecture and urban planning, that will expand your knowledge and visual library will help.

"So what are your advices toards the artwork jobs (games and movies)?"
- Have an awareness for the industry. Keep an ear to the ground. See how you stack up with the artists who already got their foot in the door and try to push your work to that quality and beyond.

"Do you have any suggestion for tutorials or other artists, books?"
- You can try to be active at this forum called: "Crimson Daggers!" (; There's a Crimson Crucible Challenge happening right now, you might want to take a look!

"I mean take Blizzard and Riot - they have totally different styles. The question is: THERE IS A WAY TO CAPTURE THE INTEREST OF MOST OF THIS KIND OF STUDIOS? you know... like killing 2 birds with one rock."
- They have their distinct "house styles", so it's better if you gear your portfolio towards either or, or, make separate portfolios for each to cater both. I haven't found that big of a boulder that could pancake those two innocent little birds.

"All I know is that in a short time I have to improve myself - but what I do after?"
- If you honestly can say to yourself that you got all the foundations (color, value, form, perspective, composition, etc..) down to a pat, you can expand your visual library! Read books! Look at designs! Learn how things work! And such! That's going to be a lifetime of learning.

I hope I helped, even just a little bit! Disclaimer! I am not working in the industry yet, but I read and heard so much about the business. I'm just parroting what I heard from people who is working/have worked in the industry.

Good luck! Let me know how it goes!

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
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IG: @thatpuddinhead
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#4
I'll be honest with you - it's hell. The concept art industry became very popular in recent years, there are many artists with great skill and each year it's getting more competitive. Of course you can make it, but it'll be very hard and will require a lot of dedication and work.

I don't know how advanced are your drawing skills, but it would probably be better and more realistic to aim at the 3D modeling - there are way more job openings and less competition. Many companies need 3D architecture models for their games so these 5 years of your studies may not be in vain after all.

There are some guys who do 3d on this forum so you might just get in touch with them.

No matter what path you choose I wish you good luck!

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#5
Tongue 
Ok. So from what i see there it will be a fierce competition. 
So i'm gonna post this painting and i want your opinion. How far do you think i am from becoming average? Have to mention that this is a first atempt at a tablet drawing in PS - very weird to draw on something and looking in a different place. And the pencil movement is like .... well its very  different :P . Gues i will get use to it in time. 
And as practice... lets say i REstarted to practice on drawing 2 days ago - after 4-5 years... dont remeber exacly. And this drawing here took like 7 hours. from idea to what you see...
I know that lighting, texturing, anatomy, etc all require more studying... a lot more...the idea was to make a biological anomaly with swollen belly, broken jaw, and long big arms... something like in Dead Space i think...
So what do you think? As a first impresion?


Attached Files Image(s)


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#6
My opinion, judging from this piece it would need from 1 to 2 years of really hard work before being able to work in a studio. Especially if you find it weird working with a tabled, this probably means that you are not very familiar with PS -> layers, masks, curves etc.

Apart from the digital side of things. In my opinion you should focus on the fundamentals -> perspective and lighting. Its also good to learn some 3d package, if you are into creature and humans Zbrush , if into buildings , vehicles basically man-made stuff - Modo, Maya 3ds, blender etc.

If you are really serious about this and want to put the working hours into it. I recommend starting with the one year Schoolism subscription for all courses (144$)

May be start with introduction to digital painting, then Sam Nielson's Lighting classes.
Then the book how to draw by Scott Robertson.

Also be sure to check out CtrlPaint - the website is an amazing. It's a great starting point and free education alternative. http://www.ctrlpaint.com/
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#7
"How far do you think i am from becoming average?"
- You are close to being average. But I hope you don't shoot for that. From an HR standpoint, if I have to fill up one art position from a sea of applicants, I won't pick someone who's just average. I'd go for someone who's overqualified for the position. Strive for over-qualification!

"So what do you think? As a first impression?"
- I think were on the same page. Lighting, texturing, anatomy, etc all require more studying.

Besides books and online tutorials, which are great, have you thought of going back to school or an atelier?

It's debatable whether or not what you're trying to achieve is indeed impossible. One thing's for sure: it's impossible to defeat a person who doesn't know how to quit.
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IG: @thatpuddinhead
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#8
well... i have like 1 year till diploma and after 2 years of assistant practie to get my right of signature, if i lasted 5 years there is no poin in giving up on architecture. And in the spare time i will work at my drawing/modeling skill. Hope in 3 years ill get good enough. 

Guess ill follow the online tutorials (viva el torrents), work and post to get feedback once every 2 weeks.

Do you guys know any other good forums like this one? Id like to have multiple sources for feedback. And if you know could u give me some names of some good artists? Like Anthony Jones, Maciej Kuciara, Daniel Dociu, etc??? -want to see and study their work. 

As for going back to school (gues an art one) or an atelier... thats kinda out of discution. Here in Romania, art schools and ateliers are... lets say dying or the proffesors dont show any interest at all. Maybe there are some exeptions, but not that i know of. Besides, an art school would count as a second college diploma and i should pay for it... the architecture ive got it for free.
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#9
Hey there. Thanks for posting questions on the forum, hopefully we can help.

1. I want to test an assumption you made in your original post. You said there is more competition for Arch Viz with less opportunity for less money.

Everything I have seen/heard tells me exactly the opposite, so it makes me question your statement a little. I started as an Arch Viz 3D guy ages ago and I was absolutely shit at it at the time with a godawful folio. It seems like you are stressing out about it, BEFORE even getting out there and testing that assumption and seeing what might happen. A positive attitude is as important if not more important than just having skills or connections. Probably more important actually. Granted this was a long time ago, but I had positivity about my shitness at the time, if that makes sense. I was helpful and enthusiastic and it got me into a job.

As far as I know there is a lot of demand (people ARE building stuff all the time), it is a specialised skill, and it pays much better. I know amazingly skilled concept artists / illustrators that are actually going the other way because they can't make money from freelance. So what I would say is make sure your assumption is tested properly before you make any choices.

The situation in Romania may be very tough, but there is an entire world out there of opportunity so be sure you aren't closing doors before you have even begun to look through them and open up to them. We often make our own opportunity...so don't just roll over and play dead because people will tell you often and regularly that, that is what you should do. Hell, nobody would ever become a creative of any sort if they listened to all the common understanding around them about the nature of art and its relation to the world.


2. 3D Environment Artist. This means you are modelling assets for the levels in games...architecture, roads, caves, forests, mountains, vegetation, whatever. I would say your skills are directly and immediately transferable to these jobs. The only difference is focus and having an appropriate folio of work to show as well as learning the limitations of modern gaming platforms. Since you are versed in 3D fairly well I assume, all you need to do is take other people's concepts of recognizable big name IP's and model some awesome game level assets from them. The exposure of big IP's against your name will be a big plus, and if you do great work it actually won't take you too long to get a folio together. You could have a decent 3D asset/level design folio together in even as quick as 6 months to 1 year. Check out Dan McGowan's environment design mentorship on Robotpencil.net. He does 3D environment level design for games class and I have seen people from this forum take that class, and they ended up with some really awesome work. Some of them got into Spectrum this year!

Just have a look on any CG job site, or ArtStation jobs etc. There are many 3D environment artist or 3D layout / level designer jobs around. There are FAR FEWER 2D environment concept artist jobs around. I know. I am one. It makes sense, it only takes one person to design the look of an entire setting, but it takes a handful to get into 3D and actually build all that stuff. I have been trying bloody hard for over a year to make consistent money from 2D environment design and I am struggling. Most of my work is actually illustration really. Take a look at my work...is it lack of skill? Haha well maybe, but I also think it is a fact that competition is high to get that first break into something on the level of AAA games.

3. Freelancing is damn damn damn hard! It is not the freedom it is touted as at all, unless freedom means stressing out every day about how you are going to pay your bills the next week. Where your next job is going to come from, why you feel you can't live a normal life, because of the feeling that if you aren't at it all the time, the money will dry up....oh and it will dry up. Freedom of being a loner weirdo that looks at people in funny ways, and forgets how to talk and relate to regular people. Sure once you have a reputation, and some good known IPs and clients under your belt, things can get better, and the rates get pretty good (70-100+ USD/hr) but you have to make that first break and that is damn hard to do. Freelancing is not for the faint of heart. I highly recommend you try and get a studio job first rather than aim at going straight into freelancing. And while time isn't important, it takes as long as it takes, and there are no rules, I would say it took me 5 years to go from the first thought of doing art as a career to going fulltime (about 2 of those years was hardcore self study while working full time) I also destroyed part of my ability to be human as a result of that crazy obsessive period.

Don't want to put you off too much...there is definitely a certain sense of fulfillment and freedom to freelancing that you just cannot get in any day job in any studio. You set your own times, you don't answer to anybody but your next client. You don't have to deal with horrible office politics, obnoxious coworkers, idiotic managers, and the rage fest of modern day commuting. There are definite upsides, but money (at least at first) is a HUGE downside. A part time job is probably gonna be in the cards for a while just to make ends meet.

4. This is a BIG one. You should never do anything art related just because you feel the money will be much better or there will be more job security if you focus on some particular area. I feel that money is an important consideration of course, but you must love what you do as an artist first to some extent as well so let that love guide you where it will, even if it does fly against all logic. I am not saying be an idiot about it, but be open to what you truly want to do.

5. FEAR. I know it is so easy to succumb to fear, but please don't let it. Try and foster a positive attitude. Be grateful and passionate about your work and anything you put your mind to whatever you decide to do. Indulging in your fears has a nasty way of making exactly that that you fear the most, come true by your own hand. It makes us tighten up, and remain out of any of that positive flow that would actually help us. I have done this too. Face your fear, name it...then kick it in the balls and do what you want anyway. Not saying don't be thoughtful or strategic, but don't succumb to the big hairy fear monster.

I couldn't go through and answer every single question you wrote, because to be honest, it was a pretty large dump of fear and anxiety, and I am just here to tell you, as are the others I am sure. It is ok to feel overwhelmed and insecure and wanting answers, but the reality is, you have to take stock of what you really want to do in your life, then use those goals as a way of guiding you along. You might not end up exactly where you started out to get to, but fuck man, none of us do in this life. That IS life. It is a meandering journey, often aimless, often with no purpose, that never goes exactly as we plan it.

There are also many other avenues one can be creative and be fulfilled that aren't just games or architcture or movies. So be open to the wonderful world out there, and see what that can bring.

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#10
well of course i am a little afraid.. almost no one looks toards future and says "im gonna be the best madafakar in this area" and actually belives it :D

You said that you see a lot of buildings being constructed but that dose not mean its good for architects - that mean is good for engineers. An architect can only design (esteticall and technical), but an engineer can both design and build. The difference is in education, way of tinking and imagination. But most people dont know the difference and they think an architect=constuction engineer, and when they want something done... they go to an engineer (because they are a lot more than architects). Its true that every building need an architect signature (i think its forseen by law in most countries)... but in the end is just a signature... and a lot of architects do what we call "architectural prostitution".... they just offer the signature for some crappy 500-1000euros or even less.

As for portofolio, most architecture offices are looking for experience as a technical designer... almost no one looks for 2D/3D renders because they know that they almost dont count at all. Well, their main porpouse is to create a impresion on the client but.. no one asks for super realistic images. Only big companies ask that. I say this because till now i have worked in 2 architecture offices and all of them faced the same problems.

Now i dont want to do this only for money. I have some professors (2 of them are the kind that get all the big projects in city and cities nearby... dont know how the hell) and despite all their fortune they are some of the sadest, misserable, angriest people i've known. Nah... i prefer to be a normal person and happy than a old cranky geezer that no one likes. Besides... it going pretty well doing projects for lazier students and overcharge them... a lot.

Truth is i like them both, architecture and visual art... just from what i saw in real life architecture is more "bad habbitated". You can suck and get projects but i doubt in visual design u can get top jobs if you suck big time. In architecture it takes more than that hard work and huge skill... it need that struck of luck also. So i preffer to do them both.. for now.  If i manage to enter the world of artworks thats awesome... if not... well lets hope that luck will strike. :D

And i didnt say i will quit architecture... hell no. I know its gona be crappy here in Romania, but still who knows? maybe in 5 years im gonna be in some other country. But it will be nice to have a nice hobby that im good at (visual design) and could offer a second lifestyle. 

As for freelancing. Well that will be a no. I know i like to do what i want but still... i like to be sane and have human interraction also :D and a office offers more of these.

And i dont want to be limited only to movies/games... those are the only 2 domains i know of... there were some other ones i think like illustration for card games (pokemon or whatever.... ) and comic books. As for 3d yes i gues i could like that also...
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#11
Ah sorry, for some reason I thought you wanted to get into Arch Viz, not be an actual architect! It was late last night when I replied, and that text was pretty hard to read...haha. My apologies.

The reason I mentioned Arch Viz, though was I am still under the impression there are way more gigs out there for that and it was something you could get a good handle on. Yeah you're right most of those do tend to focus on large scale developments, or high end property. All I worked on was condos and resorts and gated communities pretty much.

I would still suggest to try and not worry too much about what other people are doing or are like. Most of what people portray about themselves is like the tip of the iceberg. Everyone has their own journey and struggles just as you have/will have. It is good not to judge others too harshly....none of us is unblemished. :)

Ok well good luck with your journey! The journey is one of discovery and self-exploration as well, so the best skill would be to learn to listen to yourself better and figure out what you want. That will give you clarity the more you know about yourself. Make your own luck!
Definitely stay posting here in the forum to keep working on your artistic skills! :)

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