Kw-logo-smaller

Becoming a Computer Graphic Artist

At some time or another most of us have thought about a fantasy world. Some of us live in a fantasy world while others wish they did. Not Steve Ogden. He creates them for a living. "I make what you might consider virtual environments, pretend worlds that people can explore in computer games."

Og has been a computer graphic artist for about 18 years (he's 35 now.) Right now he works for Cyan Worlds, Inc. Cyan is the company behind the computer games Myst and Riven - both puzzle solving and exploration games. But Og hasn't always worked for his dream company. "When I was starting out as an artist I did just about anything to pay the bills. I painted signs, drew art on T-shirts, magazines and newspapers," says Og. "I even did some hand-drawn cel animation for some TV commercials. Mostly, though, I've done games." Before Cyan, Og worked for Leaping Lizard Software and released two games there - Bally Game Magic and Centipede 3D.

Thinking of becoming a CG artist? "In order to become a successful CG Artist you should have some formal training in art," suggest Og. "Personally, I think you should know how to draw but it's not absolutely necessary. You do, however, need an eye for detail. You should have some familiarity with 3D graphics and the basics of the main tools out there (3D Studio Max, Maya, Lightwave and Softimage are a few.)" Og says those are the basics to begin your career but warns that companies like Cyan don't have entry-level positions. They want the best. It took Og five years and a really impressive portfolio before he got in. "I have a degree in Art and Film from a four year university, as I believe it's important to the growth of an artist (anyone, really) to be as well-rounded as possible. You should have a broad range of experience and education because that's the pool you draw from when you create."

Not interested in creating games? Well, there are several other special areas to go into. "Architects use CG artists to help visualize buildings," says Og. Then there are special effects people (Hollywood just isn't about acting), animation film studios, TV commercial companies (Og says there are hundreds of artists who help out) and 'Industrial film' companies, who spice up videos for employees with graphics. These are just a few but it gives you an idea.

Wondering how much CG artist bring home for rent? Most game copanies pay around $30,000 to $50,000 a year. Senior or Lead Artist get a bit more. CG artists in special effects, film and TV industries can bring home up to a $150,000 or more.

If you seriously want to pursue a CG artist job, here's what Og has to say, "Study. Get as much education as possible. Develop and eye for detail. Go outside. Count the leaves on a tree. Watch the way water swirls in the pool at the bottom of a waterfall. Learn to draw." Og also advises you to "find someone who's done what you want and see if they have any advice for you... maybe they can help." But most importantly, don't forget to have fun along the way."

To check out more of Og's work head to this site. To see Henry Doyle talk, click here and scroll to the bottom of this page.

Related Links:

  • NASA Sniffer
  • Listening to Marine Life
  • Calling Balls and Strikes
  • More Cool Jobs!
  • 9 Comments

    latest videos

    What's your favorite TV Show?
    • Grey's Anatomy
    • America's Next Top Model
    • The Office
    • Lost

    related stories

    Dear Dish-It in the forums

    hugebear
    hugebear posted in Friends:
    Im sorry that you has such friends that seems to enjoy entertaining themselves by being mean to you.  They is just people that you hangs out with cos you says you hasnt anyone else to hang out with.... not friends.  I doesnt think you should think of them as friends either and then its gonna be easier to move on. Is there any way you can hang out with other people by eg [what other posters said] taking up the new activities? And you has friends on KW :) :D
    reply about 1 hour
    -Gwen9--
    -Gwen9-- posted in Friends:
    If they call you fat and stupid, they are not your friends. Your so called 'friends' are just using you. You need to find your truest friends. Clearly, they are not your truest friends.
    reply about 1 hour
    PrincessAmelia
    PrincessAmelia posted in Style:
    Normally just a hairband or clips on the either side of my side divided hair.
    reply about 6 hours
    PrincessAmelia
    PrincessAmelia posted in Friends:
    Society will not be soft to you always, just because YOU are soft. You must have a strong background. Also they are not your friends. You know what they are doing to you?They are packing a gift box looking all attractive (friendship) and filled with hurt ...like Pandora's box.  Just move on. Be alone n discover more of the world. Or just make new friends.I was in a state like you some months back. Now I moved on n I have 3 best friends. That time I thought too that they r my only friends. You will not find the world until you set out for the world.
    reply about 6 hours
    disney princess
    They are not your friends, really. You should leave them and move on. This might sound difficult, but being alone is better than being with an untrue friend. You'll make better friends soon, anyway. Plus, WE are here for you! :D
    reply about 7 hours

    play online games