Friday, 15 June 2012

Train2Game - Art & Animation TIGA Diploma

Well, I paid for and started the TIGA Diploma in Game Art & Animation back in 2010.

At that time I was also trying as hard as I could to maintain my income which comes from the sales of digital art and textures which I make and sell both from my own website ( / ) and third party websites such as
and Second Life Marketplace. was the place I found my feet and the place that has provided me with the bulk of my income since 2005 and I was not ready to drop the that time.

But last week, I blew the dust off Train2Game study books and DVDs and got back on the horse.

I see in the T2G forums some of the students who started the course when I did,  have moved on and found success in one form or another because they seized the opportunity and ran with it.

I on the other hand, decided I couldn't abandon my baby and kept on plodding down my determined road.

Whilst I didn't reach a dead end, the road is now more of a narrow, hard to navigate, dirt track with too many forks and none of them seeming to lead to pastured lands. Lesson One learnt.

I still make my living from the creation and sale of textures but my income continues to shrink with each year that passes and it does so across the board, from all platforms both on the net and in virtual worlds like

With a new mortgage pending, I have had to re-evaluated my options and decided to try find paid work as a game texture artist on a sub contract basis working from home.

I consider myself an advanced 2D artist and very fluent with Photoshop and the creation of Normal and bump maps too.

I have textured an entire continent in the development of Embers of Caerus where I am working on a voluntary basis with Forsaken Studios.
I have completed and been paid for bits of sub contract work for small indie studios like the two here:

But it's not enough.

I have sent my resume to a few online job agencies, some that deal with the game industry exclusively but from reading some of the job descriptions, the published studios want you to be experienced in both 2D and 3D software and have some examples of published titles you have worked on but mine are still in development stages.

I know the bare bones of 3D. 
I have created custom maps for existing plant models in Poser 8.
I created some Ivy Vine meshes and then went on to create the leaf maps for the vine but other than that, I have just pushed a few vertices's around in 3DMax.

It's glaringly obvious that I need to stop clinging to my comfort zone (2D and Photoshop) and get my head into 3D now. It's the way everything and everyone is going.

Sadly I have lost two years.
Had I just stuck to the course I started in 2010,  I would be rendering 3D scenes and meshes today like I can whip up a tiling, photo-realistic game texture in Photoshop.
Lesson Two Learnt.

I completed my last TMA (Tutor Marked Assessment) last week which covered the basics of Photoshop and I am relieved to have got 100% pass.

Right now, I am in 3DMax generating and populating a pre-made house scene with my own "made from scratch" furniture.
I also have to ensure the UV map surface is even and seamless in preparation and application of the bump and diffuse texture maps. So I am learning about UVW unwrapping...ugh! lol

The problem I find is this; From a pure artistic point of view, learning 3DMax is too technical for me to enjoy the learning curve at this stage.

When I learnt Photoshop and 2D textures, I could open existing images and textures and I could see the creative flow in them.
Whilst I found the process frustrating at times, from an artistic POV I could still see the process of artist creation,  even if that meant reverse engineering PSD layers to see how the creator had reached their end product

3D software and the use of it, at this stage, seems more technical than "creative" and so to me, it's boring and annoying which puts me off wanting to learn.

BUT! I am determined not to have to learn a third lesson though.

If I am to find paid work I need to demonstrate I am at least capable of navigating the basics of Maya and other 3D applications because whilst I know I can offer quality 2D seamless texture maps, without some 3D examples, I am lacking a creative limb.

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