Thursday, 22 May 2014

Dave Blewett, Sumo Digital

We had a talk from the Art Manager at Sumo Digital, a majorly established independent game studio based in Sheffield. The talk felt very tailored for someone in my position, as Blewett had worked most roles in the game artist field. As he explained, 'Artist' in the game industry used to be an umbrella term for something with the full package (UI, Environmental Art, Modelling...).

The roles in the industry today are:

Concept Artist.
Environmental Artist (3D)
Character Artist (3D)
Motion Gaphics
User Interface Artist
Vehicle Artist
Technical Artist (rigging, hypershade)
Lead Artist (lots of planning on Microsoft Excel)
Art Manager (meetings and more Excel)
Art Director (monitors quality of art)

Blewett asked us some questions relating to how we see ourselves as practitioners:

How adaptable are you?
Can we pick up new skills quickly and help fill a hole where needed?

How realistic are you?
When time and budget run out will you be prepared to modify your approach?

Do you have the right team spirit?
When clutch time comes, will you be prepared to stay late and grind it out?

Are you a professional?
Can you be trusted to talk to the publishing staff.

Reflecting on these questions, firstly I feel I am quite adaptable, as I had to change my style to adapt to our final major project. I do feel quite able to let go of preciousness with my work, a point raised by Bewlett. When working in groups I am always open to feedback, making tweaks and even sometimes discarding pieces that don't quite work out. Also I feel that I have a team mentality. I like to think I'm quite a tactful and considerate person, and would feel confident with talking to publishing staff. I think the point Bewlett was making here, was that sometimes when publishes arise to criticise or discard work, some artists can reply with attitude. I am quite an easy going person and receive criticism well.

It was interesting to hear Dave Bewlett talk about the characteristics and attitudes of good artist in the game industry. I think the key message was that when developing games as an independent company, teamwork and flexibility is key. I will carry this mentality in to 'Zeppelin for Hire.'

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