There are countless career paths to choose from in the games industry. If you excel at building processes and have a genuine enthusiasm for computer graphics, the role of an art producer might be a perfect fit for you.
At its core, an art producer is a project manager. The scope of responsibilities includes goal decomposition, planning, risk management, and project budgeting. Relating to game projects, such a specialist coordinates the team of artists and handles technical tasks (e.g. creating mood boards, collecting references, working out briefs), as well as moderates demo meetings with clients and creative presentations.
Kseniia Taranets (pictured), Lead Art Producer at Room 8 Studio, made her way into the job due to her passion for uniting people and bringing creative visions to life. Among the projects she has worked on are Call of Duty: Modern Warfare II and the Dead Space Remake. She reveals what makes a good art producer and how to land in this role:
An art producer is a person who balances the business and creative processes. Therefore, it is essential to be flexible, resilient, and capable of building a positive work environment, leaving no chance for miscommunication. To speak the same language as your team, you need to have at least a basic understanding of game art pipelines. You don’t have to be able to model yourself, but you have to know how it is done. As long as you know what kind of needs, risks, and challenges artists face, you can plan their work properly.
Another important thing is to follow the industry and develop watchfulness. Besides the fact that it eases communication with artists, it’s of use to your professional growth. In game art production, having a wide visual experience is crucial for distinguishing between good and bad pieces of work. Also, don’t be afraid to ask questions if there is something techy that you don’t understand.
One more important thing to know about every work is challenges related to it. The hardest time for any project is its setup. Especially when it scales quickly and the team has to adapt to changes in the internal processes with no quality loss. In one such case, the lead and I had two completely different ideas of the workflow. Eventually, we took the best of both worlds, added the team’s ideas from the first retrospective meeting, wrote down the rules, and only then moved on to the next sprint.
To finish with, here are some tips for aspiring art producers looking to launch a career in the game industry:
- Take a step back and clear up your motivation: a passion for games doesn’t make game dev a perfect career fit, yet it is a must-have for any gamedev specialist.
- Try to stand out from other candidates: come up with an authentic cover letter or record a creative intro video, or design your test task in compliance with the brand style of the company you’re applying to.
- Speak about any relevant experience that you have: even if it was outside your job responsibilities, and if you have a pet project, make sure to mention this.
- Prepare for the interview: check out the company’s website and portfolio and do some research on its competitors. Come to the interview with your homework done, in a good mood, and you’ve got this!”