Friday, October 7, 2011

def HelloWorld(newContext):

Hello internet! Since I last posted here, many things have happened... most of them incredible.

I not only had a fantastic internship at Riot Games, but since became a full-time technical animator. I have seen our product, League of Legends, evolve from a pretty popular online game to a multi-award-winning, international, multi-million-player sensation. I have a GDC award sitting on my desk. I love my job. Everything went... way better than expected.

I also had a bit of a career re-focusing. When I last posted here, I listed my skills as "animator and concept artist." While I still love to draw and animate, my career path has strayed almost entirely into technical art. This is actually awesome. For the past year, I've become involved with a very smart and passionate group of people focused on helping others on their teams be effective. Though I've animated a few characters for LoL (Swain, Urgot, and Jarvan IV!), I've touched every character in the game by re-making their rigs, fixing problems, making tools, and generally filling that all-important support role. I'm learning more about rigging and programing (so far, mostly Python with a smidgen of C++) and a lot about game production. I'm really excited to see what sorts of problems I try to solve next!

The switch from student to industry professional happens incredibly fast. It was bizarre for me to go back and read my first couple of post on this blog; I was totally focused on the goal of getting hired and, as soon as it happened, I needed to totally re-contextualize my idea of success. I'm sure most Rioters who have been part of this ride from the beginning are stunned constantly by how far the company has come.

I'm excited to say I've had a few opportunities to help other students make the switch to industry professional as well. I've looked at dozens (hundreds?) of portfolios at GDC and SIGGRAPH. I've made a presentation with my co-workers to student volunteers just a year after I was sitting right where they were. Next week, I'm going to have the incredibly surreal experience of making a "how to get into the industry" talk at Ringling, speaking to many of the people I've known as a student! I'm incredibly excited for this trip. I've got my slides ready and a follow up Q&A lined up with the Game Design Club. It's going to be sweet.

I don't know how often I'll update this blog. Ideally, I start posting some work related to tech art; none of my internet presence currently suggests what I actually do. This is terribly hypocritical, seeing as I encourage every student I speak with to demonstrate their work and thought processes through blogs or websites. Historically my interests have been incredibly fickle; I start and stop side projects all the time. Within the last couple months I've started D&D campaigns, Warhammer 40K leagues, music jam sessions, indie games... tonight alone I painted miniatures for a co-worker, edited an article that'll be coming out soon in Game Developer magazine (super excited!), watched SoloMid livestreams, and wrote this blog post. I'm not sure I'll be able to stuff everything I want to do into the nights and weekends, so expect updates to be sporadic as usual.

For most of my life, I've felt guilty about the projects I keep starting and stopping. I'm starting to think, however, that it doesn't really matter; all of this is valuable. Even if I can't maintain focus on one problem for months on end, it's exactly this desire to stick my hands into everything that's allowed me to grow into a support role across many different projects. I'm excited for seeing where it all goes next.

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