Technical Artist at Creative Assembly
My name is Emil and I am a Technical Artist at Creative Assembly.
As a Technical artist, every day is different and filled with new challenges. I create tools in Houdini for procedural geometry, or manage/convert existing assets in our pipeline. I work a lot with making custom tools in Unreal Engine for our level designers/artists. It can, for example, be a tool for applying materials/decals to different objects more quickly. Recently I made a tool to easily build overview levels with our various assets, in order to speed up our QA (quality assurance). Pipeline tools built with Python is also an important part of my job, where we connect programs and workflows and make sure that it's easy to work within the production's rules and structures.
As a Tech artist, you act as a bridge between different departments, and work with many different people. My company has an entire internal website where animators/artists/designers can request tools to facilitate some part of their work, which we then create for them. As the tasks are so varied, tech artists have the opportunity to specialize. We have tech artists for animation/rigging, and tech artists for environment - I work with environments. A lot of my work then happens together with level designers and environment artists. Environment tech artists can further specialize within the department, and I have chosen to focus on Unreal and Houdini tools.
Already as quite young I was set on becoming a programmer, but after testing 3D graphics in a high school project I discovered how awesome it can be. I changed direction and started learning the basics while studying various games/programming courses. After that I studied Computer Graphics at LTU in Skellefteå.
A bit into the education, I discovered the role of Technical Artist - which seemed to be a perfect fit for me, as it is a kind of hybrid of 3D/programming. In my free time I tested scripting and Houdini. Many Tech Artists have different backgrounds, as it is difficult to find traditional training for it.
A good piece of advice is to dare to apply for a job abroad. It may seem difficult, but there are so many cool companies around the world, and many offer help with moving etc. When looking for work at a particular company it helps a lot to check out their types of games/movies, and create a portfolio that matches their style. Also try to find forums in the area you are interested in.