Career Advice - Working as an Environment Artist for a Game Studio with Enguerrand Michelin
Want a successful career working as an Environment Artist at some of the world's leading Game Development Studios?
Enguerrand Michelin is an Environment Artist and recent graduate from New3dge. Since graduating, Enguerrand has been working at Sloclap Studios located in Paris, France. Enguerrand sits down with us to share his journey and advice to aspiring image makers, looking for an exciting and challenging career like his own.
When did you first realise you wanted to work in this industry?
Since high school, I was interested in 3D, where I started to learn by myself on Blender. At first, it was just a side passion, so after high school I began to work in a different environment: Cinema and Theatre, as a light technician. These were really good years! I eventually realised that I want to turn my passion into my job, and work on CG every day! From this point, I started a professional career and went back to study at New3dge, working on the side to pay for tuition. Rough times for 5 years, but it was worth it!
What's your current role and what does it involve? Where do you work, and what type of projects are you involved with?
Since graduation, I have worked at Sloclap, a video game company, as an environment artist. As we are not a AAA company, the job includes a range of disciplines such as level art, texturing, lighting, modeling and even some tech art.
I currently work on a project, but as I am under NDA I really can't tell much more about it. Sorry!
Besides work, I try to keep myself up to date and work on small video games projects with friends or other personal projects in order to practice different aspects of my craft.
How did you learn the skills needed to get your job?
I learned most of the skills needed at school. Well, of course I also had a lot of practice time, alone, at home, facing my 3d software in the eye.
But most of my work processes, tricks and techniques come from the teachers I met during my studies.
What was the interview process like and what advice would you give others?
The recruitment process was very easy for me. At New3dge, we have a big presentation at the end of our last school year and at this event we are asked to introduce our project to video game artists from all over the world.
Here I met an environment artist from Sloclap (now a co-worker and a friend) who asked me if I was interested to work with them.
Later, I had an interview with the Artistic Director and we spoke more about art than processes or skills. At the end, it was almost like a discussion that you might have with an other artist.
I think the best advice I can give for preparing for the interview process is to be yourself. I know it seems obvious, but be open minded, open to critiques and feel free to share your passion about your art without apprehension. Your passion for your work will come across.
Day in the life
Describe a typical day for you and your team?
A typical day at work starts with a small meeting with the art team. In order to be aware of everybody’s work, we just give a few words about what we did the day before and what we plan to do on that day. This helps to keep objectives in mind.
The rest of the day will depend on the task you're working on. Sometimes I will work on the new level of a game, sometimes I will be planning the next one. Sometimes your tech artist come to you and say "Hey dude, I have an idea!" and you spend the rest of the day improving some new feature.
Everyday is a new challenge!
What third-party and proprietary tools do you use on a daily basis?
Which departments and key people do you work closely with?
Most of the time, I work with the art team (especially with other environment artists, the artistic director and the tech art team) but depending on the feature I am working on, I will work closely with other departments.
Also, every level artist works closely with a level designer on one game level. This ownership method is really dynamic and makes us aware of all the constraints and problems of the environment we're working on.
One thing you’d never change about your job?
One thing I'll never change about my job is the fact that every day is different. I've worked at Sloclap for 1 year and I never stopped learning!
But one thing you wouldn’t mind seeing changed is?
Nowadays, there is really nothing I would like to change in my work. It seems easy but be sure, when you have some creative freedom, reasonable schedules and a good project in your hands, working life seems simple.
Why would you recommend your school to others?
New3dge is a wonderful school for those who are hard workers. All the teachers are actual industry artists and that's a very important point because the CG industry evolves quickly and if you are on the front line, you are always up to speed!
The master class system gives you the time both to learn and to practise or even to work alongside your studying if you need too.
Most of all, the administrative staff and teachers listen and care about you.
What do you wish you knew about the industry before you started?
Don't be afraid of this industry! There is a lot of work and if you're not a lazy person, you'll find your place. There are many things to explore, projects to lead, so you definitely have a place in it.
If you could give one piece of advice to artist’s trying to get a job, what would it be?
Don't panic! Remember that this first job is only a first step: it only leads to your next one and to more learning!