Television -> Games

Hi, I'm hoping to get some guidance and advice from professionals who browse this forum.

I'm currently working in the television industry under contract for a children's animated television series. I began my contract in rigging as a character TD, but was moved into the lighting department (shading, rendering, etc.) once the rigging component of the production had been completed. I have a Bachelor of Fine Arts (Honors) in Communication Design, majoring in 3D/Storytelling.

That's just some background, most of which is probably moot in regards to my query.

I'm considering (desiring) a move into the games industry once this project is completed. There will probably be a period where my work is still under NDA but my contract has expired, and I will be looking to move into new work ASAP.

I'm just wondering what I should be aiming for with a reel, and if any of the work done on this series would be considered good resume material for the games industry?

I have some limited games experience from working with friends on Unreal Tournament mods, mostly in asset creation - some level art assets, and vehicles for the mod "Furious Steals".

I guess what I'm really asking is for advice on how to structure a reel to demonstrate my abilities, but aimed towards the game industry rather than television/film?

I'm primarily - at this point - interested in asset creation. Characters, environments, basically any modeling/texturing/rigging/animating work. I've attempted to find a good guideline on poly counts, best practices in striping, texture resolutions, map types (spec, reflec, etc.)... basically just a good idea of what I should be aiming to produce on a reel, but I've become confused at the varying advice on game engine budgeting, and what exactly would be a good medium.

In the future I'd like to move into storytelling and design (being the primary focus of my studies) but I'm not so ideallistic (naive?) to aim for such a position right off the bat.

So... after the big rant, I guess I'm just after some tips?


Boonfaultymoose2007-07-17 23:13:27

raicuandi's picture

If we'd be talking in Unreal Engine 3 terms, a great-looking character will be made of around 5000 triangles, normal mapped, with both texture and normal maps of resolution at about 2048x2048.

They say that they first create a high-res model, between 1 and 5 million triangles, and then use a tool that reduces the triangle count to around 5000, and turns the original detail into normal maps. (the visual difference is quite small, and its pretty obvious which of the version can be rendered in real time, and which cannot...)

Those kind of tools should be available as plugins around the web. You could google for them.

Most stuff is normal mapped in modern games, and they are even starting to move to parallax mapping...raicuandi2007-07-18 10:56:28

panthr's picture

Its great to have a grand skill set but perhaps have a particular focus of what you want will be easier ie. character or environment modeling, texture artist or animation etc. Some positions will allow you to do everything you have, some may just get you to do one. Research the companies and find out how they are set up and what they are like to work for. Find out what they are working on. Theres very few companies in australia that are working on next gen titles, so it may be awhile before you get to show off your normal mapping skills :)

Once you focus on what you really want then point your portfolio in that direction.