Jan Pijpers - IGAD Visual Design - 2010

Technical Artist at Square Enix, Tokyo - Japan

What does that entail?At the moment I am a Technical Artist at the Advanced Technology Division at Square Enix Tokyo Japan. Here that means that I support the artists and researchers in creating tools to improve their pipeline and workflow. I share my knowledge on best practices for artists and find ways to speed up their daily tasks. Besides that I am now working on the facial animation pipeline and all its aspects. Ranging from motion capture to runtime lip-sync.          
What keeps you alert in this job?

In this job its important to keep an eye on problems in the art pipeline. Everything that gets either modelled animated and exported can be improved and be made easier. There is a great quote:

“It isn’t the mountain ahead that wears you out;
it’s the grain of sand in your shoe.” -Robert W. Service

And he was right. Especially as technical artist you try to find that grain of sand or pebble in the shoe and take it out. The work itself will still need to be done but it's finding those small errors or repetitive tasks that can be fixed to greatly reduce the production time and speed up the workflow.

Advice to students:

First and foremost make sure you enjoy what you are doing no matter what course you choose. You will most likely work in this area for the rest of your life so better make sure you enjoy what you do. So do not choose the programme because you don’t know what you want to do. It would be a waste of your own time and that of the teachers.
Another bit of important advice is: Make sure that by the end of the program you know what you like to do within game development. Never ever apply at a studio and tell them that you like to do everything that actually reduces your chance of getting hired by 75%. Make sure you tell them that you are
specialised in one area, so they know what they can hire you for, but add to that that you also have experience in other areas.

In the end you have to put your back into it and work hard to get there. It’s an industry lots of people are trying to get into so you have to become good at what you do. Make sure you are that person that gets good at their job and then you will be able to go wherever you want.

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