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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

Abbergrl
Haha, thank you. I don't want to date, it's just that these stupid crushes :/
reply about 4 hours
SimplyAda
I can relate very much.  :e  It happens a lot. But here's one thing, try not to date. At my middle school, everyone literally dates everybody and relationships never last. Part of the reason is that most of us aren't in that mature phase yet (mostly boys). As the days go by, we're growing. But, it's completely normal to have a crush on a boy. :) :thumbsup
reply about 4 hours
SmartSunnyShadow
Sorry for the late reply, but I'd love to help. If they don't want to talk to you, or don't like your jokes, don't talk to them. They probably don't like you, so you shouldn't try to make it better. You should hang out with your other friends. They'll make you feel better about yourself. If you don't have any friends in your class...that's the problem.  That's exactly what happened to me last year. But I started hanging out with the guys more, and they were really nice and had a lot in common with me. Maybe the guys will be nice to you and accept you. I hope I helped you. :)   
reply about 11 hours
SmartSunnyShadow
Aw, that's sad. I know this is a late review, but I would love to help you make new friends. There are kids that do nasty things at every single school, trust me, you'll never find a perfect school, and if people are reporting this form of bullying, teachers are probably supervising children more, so don't worry about that. :) Now making new friends, ahh, that's very difficult. I can be shy myself, but it honestly depends. What I usually do is observe different groups of people, and see how they interact with each other. If the person seems nice, wait until the time is appropriate and greet them. A friendly "Hi, I'm new, could you maybe show me around, or help me with this, or tell me about this school?" That will start off a conversation. :)  As well, I tend to make jokes, or go to my funny side. I usually make way more friends that way. You could try to make slight jokes, and gradually make them less implied and more clear as you joke around.  If there are any other new kids, or shy kids, definitely talk to them. If there are any kids that look lonely, or sad, maybe take some time to approach them. If they look like the want to be left alone, leave them alone. If you're not sure, it's best if you see someone else interact with them first.  If you're bisexual, that doesn't really matter, and don't bring that fact up in a conversation. That's kind of personal, and when you get a little closer, you can say that. It's not really important, and necessary for people to know that. And it's personal too. So don't bring that up unless you really want to.  I hope i helped you! Sorry for the late advice. >_< 
reply about 11 hours
SmartSunnyShadow
Several people are having the same problem as you. Whether they're the same gender or not, many people crush on some of their closest friends. So don't feel alone, remember that. I know this is some late advice, but I hope so far things are going good. Many people are feeling the urge of confessing like you. Yes, I think you should confess to her clearly, but when the time is right. She may not like you, but if you really really like her, you should absolutely confess to her. But be aware that confessing to one of your friends can ruin your friendship. You have to be cautious, confess when the time is right. 5 months may be long for you, but honestly, that's a short-term crush. Don't rush your confession, and don't give up unless you think you should. Getting over someone can be incredibly hard too, but you're either going to get over her, or confess to her. When the time is right, confess. When the time never seems to come, I'm sorry, but unfortunately, I think it's best if you get over her, because you have to be 100% sure before you confess to someone. You're risking your friendship to, so think if it's really worth it.  I hope I helped you. :) 
reply about 11 hours