There is a lot of advice out there about getting a job after you’ve finished your studies. But how much of that advice applies to artists with an eye on a career in the gaming industry? Today we talked to three junior artists at Crytek, an international video game developer and publisher, about creating a portfolio, honing your skills, and getting your foot in the door in an incredibly competitive industry.
Always work on your portfolio and get other artists to critique your website and work
With hundreds of applicants for a handful of positions coming in every month, you need to make yourself stand out. The artists we spoke with each approached this challenge in their own way, but everyone agreed that there were two factors that consistently matter: constant practice and sharing your work.
It’s all about the portfolio.
Marika Speck, Junior Environmental Artist for CRYENGINE, felt that as a visual artist, the portfolio is the most important factor in landing a job – even more so than a degree or grades. “Your online presence and portfolio are the most important. Always work on your portfolio and get other artists to critique your website and work,” she advised.
Once you get a foot in the door of the industry, your actual learning process starts all over again.
Marika has worked at Crytek for four months now, and while she says she learned a lot at university, she felt she learned far more practicing in her free time. It is not necessarily inherent talent that makes a great artist, she said, but hard work and practice. “Never sit at home and say ‘I’m too lazy, I’ll never be a good artist.’ It’s not about talent; it’s about motivation. Constantly improve yourself.”
Emil Nweje, who recently started at Crytek as Junior Video Editor after a year-long job search, agreed that his portfolio – and the practice he got creating it – was essential in getting hired at Crytek.
He had taught himself video editing before beginning his studies in Media Arts, and by constantly making and uploading videos he was able to refine his skills – both through constant practice and the feedback of the online community. His advice for graduating creatives was simple: “Just keep doing your thing and putting it out there.”
The real learning begins after university.
Björn Wimar, Junior Environmental Artist on The Climb, Crytek’s highly anticipated virtual reality climbing game, told us that working at Crytek has shown him that the real learning process starts after university is over.
“You can’t compare studying something and really doing it all day long, especially here at Crytek where you work with artists who are really, really amazingly good. This is how you learn the most. Try everything out at university, then find something that suits you and stick to that. Once you get a foot in the door of the industry, your actual learning process starts all over again,” he explained.
Learning something new every day is the best part of the job.
Specialization, he told us, is the key to getting a job at a big studio like Crytek. While smaller studios are often looking for people who know how to do a little bit of everything, bigger companies tend to be interested in specialists who can bring in-depth knowledge to the team. And of course, he recommends recent graduates practice. Constantly.
In this industry there’s so much competition. There is no way to get that high quality without practicing every day.
It sounds hardcore, but to be honest it’s fun. And to be able to get a job and get paid for doing what you love is amazing. Learning something new every day is the best part of the job.