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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.

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Dear Dish-It In The Forums

Autonomy
Autonomy posted in Family Issues:
"StarrChild" wrote: Two years ago my parents broke up. I was never really the same after that point. My mother she began to just not care about anything. She would go out clubbing every Friday and would yell at me for my attitude towards it. Why would I be okay with her doing that??? I didn't really realise it but I began feeling kind of depressed. Of course we didn't fight all the time but when we did I would always end up crying alone in my room. And it would be really painful. One time I cried every night for a week because of her. A week ago, I felt really sick at school so I went to the sick bay but my Mum refused to believe I was sick. She thought I was lying and being over dramatic as usual. I felt really horrible after that, that the teacher sent me to the guidance councellor and almost immediately I burst into tears. I didn't even know why I did but the councellor did a little test on me and came to the conclusion I was slightly depressed and had anxiety. It wasn't really surprising but hearing it out loud just felt really weird. Even after knowing that fact my mother doesn't really act any different. She's not a bad person I swear but she can just be really horrible at times. Anyways, that's technically whats been happening in my life lol. Nothing really interesting Oh dear, that sounds like a dreadful situation. I've lived through similar difficulties in my own life, and my heart goes out to you, truly. May I offer you some advice? I don't have the cure to your problems or a magic wand that can make them disappear, but I do believe that some good can come out of your living situation. The first thing I'd like to make note of, is that everyone makes mistakes. As human beings, we have to make mistakes. There's no way around it; it's how we learn and grow. And as we get older, we don't stop making mistakes. Your parents are no exception. Although we look to our parents for guidance, and direction, and support, we have to understand that they aren't perfect people, and they make mistakes. They may not always lead us in the right direction. They may not always set a good example. They may not always be there for us, to encourage us and support us when we need them most. And that's okay. Everyone makes mistakes, and we have to accept that. But we can't let allow other people's mistakes to hurt us, my dear. And I know it hurts. Your mum might not understand how her actions make you feel. You said you haven't been the same since your parents divorced, and I know how challenging that can be to go through. But you know, some of the brightest, wisest, and happiest people I've met, are people who have dealt with difficult problems in their lives, and used them to grow as people. You can let your parents' mistakes get to you, and make you upset and depressed; or, you can accept that they aren't perfect people, accept that they make mistakes, and accept that their mistakes don't have anything to do with you. So here's what you do, friend: you can't stop your mum from going clubbing, and that's okay. Don't try to. Don't fight with her about it. You can let her know how it makes you feel, but don't get into an argument. Accept the situation for what it is. Your mother is her own person, and she is accountable for what she does; you aren't. Next time you start to get in a fight or an argument with her, just step back, and withdraw yourself. Try it, see what happens. Once you decide not to let other peoples' failings affect you--and you do have the power to do this--then you'll find a sense of peace you probably haven't felt before. And you'll learn from your mistakes, and the mistakes of your parents, and everyone around you, and you'll be a better person. Press on.
reply 23 minutes
Dounuts
Dounuts posted in Family Issues:
Go to your neighbor's house and ask him/her to call to police.Everything will be just fine.
reply about 6 hours
RavenClawRaina
my ex is going through the same thing. Call the police now. Things will get out of hand. My brothers friend has been living with us for about 2 weeks becuz his dad punched him in the face. Call 911 now. They will help you. Just say you have been abused by your family member and they will take it from there. If you want, add me and we can talk
reply about 7 hours
XxRuby_PhoenixxX
If you are getting abused to the point where you bleed, call the police immediately. This isn't acceptable behavior.
reply about 7 hours
MRAP
MRAP posted in Family Issues:
Hey, Just wanted some advice to help me on what to do on this. Ever since I was 3 I've been both Verbally, Mentally, And Physically abused. To me, this is normal since it's been happening for so long. But I just can't take this thing anymore. When I get home I always get yelled at for no reason. I have been on Anti-Depressants for the past 1-2 years. Been going to counseling for 6-7 years for family. Nothing has changed yet. I just need help on how to handle this. Thanks.
reply about 7 hours