Case study

3D artist — Mary-Sue Challinor

Through networking and sharing her portfolio online, Mary-Sue was directly approached by a games company that was impressed with her work

How did you get your job?

My current employer, Sumo Digital, saw my portfolio online as I was very active on LinkedIn. Having attended some of their events, I was a somewhat familiar face and was contacted about attending an interview for a position with them.

What are your main work activities?

In terms of the overall game design process, my role is to bring the game to life from a visual perspective. This means I'm involved in a diverse range of work, including asset creation or assistance, environmental modelling and set dressing, outsource management, optimisation and clean up, implementation of 3D or 2D assets and technical art.

I normally work on only one project at a time, but am aware of more experienced artists who work on more than one. Sometimes I'll work on my own individual asset for a few days before receiving input from designers, VFX and animators. I typically work in conjunction with animators, designers, VFX, quality assurance and art leads.

I also attend regular meetings, including full studio meetings, project meetings, updates, daily scrum meetings and, as and when needed, art meetings.

How has your degree been relevant?

My degree was one of the main reasons I got my job in the first place, specifically because of a few select modules on my course. It gave me all of the knowledge and skills I needed to perform and excel in my field.

What do you enjoy most about your job?

The environment and the people I work with are the things I enjoy the most. I've made friendships for life with a diverse set of people. I also enjoy working as part of a team which shares the same passion I do - it makes coming into work a positive experience every day.

Another advantage of working at a place like SUMO is that sometimes I get the opportunity to experiment with certain design features, if they work better artistically.

What are the challenges?

Working to impending deadlines can be quite stressful, but it's rarely a problem as I've worked with some phenomenal producers.

How has your role developed and what are your career ambitions?

My role has developed in such a way that with more experience and skills comes more responsibility. The advantage of this field is that every day is different and you'll always be trying something out of your comfort zone.

Eventually I'd love to manage a team of artists and use the same great leadership skills that I've witnessed myself.

Any words of advice for aspiring game artists?

  • Keep developing your skills and broadening your software knowledge. This will help you stand out and increase your opportunities for work.
  • Networking is key - it's important to build up a range of contacts who can be helpful when you're looking for work and who you can go to for tips and advice.
  • Make sure you enjoy the work and have fun - it's a great industry to be in.

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