Posted in Art 30+ days ago.
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The Technical Artist (TA) acts as a bridge between the artists and programmers working on a game. They ensure art assets can be easily integrated into a game without sacrificing the overall artistic vision or exceeding the technical limits of the chosen platform. The role is a relatively new one for the games industry, but it is becoming increasingly important as game systems become more complex. The Technical Artist works part of the art team and coordinates closely with the lead artists and the art director, as well as with the lead programmers.
The main areas of responsibility for Technical Artists include setting up and maintaining the art production workflow and making decisions about which art packages and tools a studio should use. Technical Artists are also charged with investigating new techniques and implementing them within the team. The job often includes an instructional element, with the Technical Artist sharing their knowledge with other artists via training and mentoring sessions.
The Technical Artist typically works one step removed from the direct creation of game art assets, setting up the systems of production as well as solving problems as they arise. It’s crucial for the Technical Artist to keep up-to-date in changes in technology, both in terms of console hardware, art packages, and new techniques. The Technical Artist is expected to be able to create custom tools to improve the efficiency of their team. This is usually carried out using the scripting languages included in the main modeling and animation packages.
Technical Artists will play a key role in providing feedback or debugging complex assets such as character skeleton rigs and skinning systems. They will also research and oversee the implementation of rendering techniques such as normal and specular maps, particle systems, and pixel shaders as well.
What skills does EA look for?
Technical Artists for EA will have experience involving both art and programming. A Technical Artist can come from either background, though most tend to have been artists who have specialized in a particular area of art production.
They should have a detailed knowledge of at least one industry-standard art package. The use of scripting languages is required, as is an understanding of the limitations of console hardware. Some Technical Artists come to games after holding a similar position in the film or special effects industries, where the experience of high-end rendering techniques or complex animation are useful skills.
The role of Technical Artist is a specialized one. Candidates must be able to show technical proficiency in areas such as lighting and rendering, texturing, and graphics-related programming languages such as shaders. They should also have extensive knowledge of art packages ranging from modeling to texturing and special effects and be able to customize them to be as streamlined as possible for specific projects.
Most Technical Artists will have a degree in a relevant visual art or technical subject; however, the most important prerequisite for the role is experience working with art tools and game hardware on a wide range of projects.
Skills and Experience
Excellent communication skills, with a willingness and confidence to provide a bridge between artists and software engineers.