God, i cannot believe it is finally over. This year has been a roller coaster of a ride with several pit stops along the way.
My first thoughts on this year were pretty simple, i was a first year and now i'm a second year. I figured it was going to be the same as before but obviously knew that there would be more work to deal with. I figured being a second year that things would just fall into place and that i would get better at what i did. Part of this is true and the other was a harder lesson to learn.
For those of you that are first years moving into second year, i would suggest you pay attention. Life is a strange thing and can take you along different paths. For me when i first joined first year i can say i was a different person than who i am today. Some changes for the better some for the worse but all i knew was that i wanted to work in the games industry making awesome games and cool artwork. I'm sure many of you thought the same and probably still are thinking the same, the difference being that when i first started i figured that i would instantly start making games that people would play. I thought that by being on this course i would learn what it took to make games and it would be an easy way to get into the industry. I thought i would just learn everything off hand and start producing good artwork. This now looking at it sounds so stupid i wish i backhanded myself and stopped dreaming.
The thing is..i can't really blame myself, and for those of you who saw interviews for the course you know what I'm on about. People like to dream and picture themselves in places they want to be. Dreams are a good thing, they drive us forward but for some, they dream too far to look at the realities of what is in front of them. I was one of those people that never really put thought into what was involved within being a game artist. I just thought i could sit down and do a couple of drawings, get paid and then chill for the rest of the time. Many who decide to join think that its an easy job and that they could do it because "they like games". This was partly why i joined, i liked games and decided to merge it with art. I figured I'd rather go into the entertainment industry since its perceived to be a more chilled out industry. Now for game artists its not as hard as doing maths or physics, but it does rely on a different set of skills and attributes that are just as challenging as other academic subjects. This of course i am now figuring out.
i suppose what I'm getting at is that, second year has opened my eyes to what is involved within this industry and what kind of person it takes to be in it. Many first year students are already figuring this out and are probably changing course which i can understand. I realized this early on in the year, that this course isn't for people that just want to play games all day. That was a simple task and first year shows you this, the harder part is the realities of what it takes. I stayed on to second year because i wanted to carry on and see what else i could learn. I still wanted to be a game artist and thought i could get there. I learned 3dsmax and could produce both digital and traditional art. THE BIGGEST DIFFERENCE is that everyone can learn this, its about perfecting the skills so that you are producing work at a higher standard. This i overlooked, just cutting it will not make me a better artist and will not secure me a job at the end of the day. Second year is all about this for me, i realized halfway through that for me to be a game artist i have to work smarter, faster and produce work at a higher level. I realized that i have to learn what makes good art and what people want to see. I cannot sit around and play games all day, if i want to get somewhere i have to work for it. This is the biggest hurdle i think i have passed, the realization that hard work is involved and has to be done by you yourself. Anyone sitting around thinking that by just being on a game art course, you will get into the industry, you will NOT. I know its scary and this is a heavy subject but it is true and i think i have learned it. I know what i have to do now and what changes i have to make to get there i wish i made them sooner. For a few people i have spoken to, this is not for them and they don't see themselves working in this industry which is a good thing. Realizing this now provides the chance for anyone to do what they find is better suited to them, for me i know i want to do whatever it takes to become a better artist. I am not fussed about working in the games industry but definitely want to become an artist.
During first year, speaking to third year students i was told that this course can change you and you will probably find yourself not playing games as much as you do. I was scared of this and figured i would never be that person, games were a big thing for me but now i see what they mean. I no longer have as much of an interest for games as i do for the art involved. For many of you who want to be a games artist, i would say the same thing to you. Work out what you really are interested within this field and pursue that instead. I'm not saying give up games to become a game artist but instead find out what what you find more interesting about them and go with that. Strive to become better at what you do and do what it takes to get there because no-one else is going to get there for you. Even if you are changing course, i would suggest you re-think why, for some you may be changing because you aren't interested in it but for others i know you maybe changing because its hard. For those of you that are finding it hard but would have wanted to carry on, carry on and take the initiative to work harder. I understand now that even if you change course, you will still have to work hard for what you want.
I have to finish this with one last thing...Mike, you said earlier this year that second year really tests students. At the time i thought it was a generalized term and that it wouldn't affect me at all. I thought i would never question my decision about what i wanted in the end. Although it is still the same, i found that i want it even more now and i did question my self several times. You went on to mention the group project to be make or break and that it would be enlightening. Again i thought i would blitz through it without a single problem. all i can say is that you were right and the experience has been very rewarding. I hope third year has more to offer and that, i am willing to show for.
BTW as before, here are more artists that one should aspire to be as good as or better...