Professional Practice – Research & Reflection

For our Professional Practice module we have been given an assignment based around the animation industry and the roles therein. Firstly we have to choose a local creative studio to base our cover letter on, write a compelling CV and also create a showreel with our best work to date.  In this post I have recorded my thoughts and research into my chosen studio, along with what my current hopes are for the future in relation to a job role I hope to pursue.

I have looked into the animation studios based in Belfast but at the moment none really stand out to me as somewhere I could develop my skills in the way I would hope to. Studios such as Flicker Pix, Sixteen South and Jam Media are aimed towards a very young audience and although this is fantastic, it is a route I am hoping to avoid. After further research into local companies I decided to set my focus more towards game studios.

I came across a website ‘’ which contained a directory of game developers based in Ireland. One or two companies stood out but not enough for me to want to work for them. I have my mind set on a studio such as Activision, Ubisoft or Betheseda…mainly for the amazing artwork they produce before their games go into production. I would love to be a part of that type of team.  Cartoon Saloon would be my first choice if I were to go down the 2D animation route although I feel I don’t have enough experience to write a cover letter to them so I might stick with Betheseda Studios for now.

Image result for bethesda fallout 4

Bethesda Game Studios were founded in 2001 and since then have won many awards for their games such as The Elder Scrolls; Oblivion/Skyrim and the Fallout series. I have the art book for the Fallout 4 game and it is just amazing. The book had really motivated me to continue my love for creating art, when I look at it you can tell it was created with a lot of interest and joy. The studios have definitely made their mark in the gaming world whilst winning many ‘Game of the year’ awards in 2011, 2015 and 2016.

Image result for bethesda game studios

I am going to write my cover letter for this studio as I feel my artwork might fit with their style…(someday maybe). It makes me more enthused to aim high for a studio that produces quality art and all round a great gaming experience both through their worlds and characters. The visual development and modelling side of their work really catches my eye and when reflecting now, I really need to start working on more original things to add to my portfolio/showreel. Although Bethesda studios are situated in Montreal and Maryland, it doesn’t put me off.

Below are some inspiring concept pieces from the studio that really sway me to stay on the pre-production side of animation.

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Visual Development Artist – Job Role (Pre-Production)

In regards to a job role that interests me at the moment, I am deliberating between a few but I need a little more time to produce more work to help me decide which area I enjoy the most. For now I have my hopes set highest on being a visual development artist. I have done a lot of research into the role and it really seems perfect for my skillset and also how I like to work in general. The work is mainly 2D but 3D models can be brought into the mix to help with visualisation of concepts, this really appeals to me as I do enjoy painting over models. The visual development artists are the first in the pipeline after the art director to start working on projects in the games and film industry. Their designs and paintings are sent to the other departments for them to work from. Vis dev artist basically seems to design most things in regards to what is seen on the big screen in terms of mood and colour, character design and layout etc…

If I were to apply for a vis dev role within a company I would need a completely different type of showreel/portfolio than the 3D modelling based one I currently have. Having plenty of work done do that I can change my showreel to suit various studios is definitely a must. Renown animator Aaron Blaise gives good advice on what a vis dev portfolio should include in this video.

This quote from concept art empire online sums up the role nicely; “Visual development artists create the mood, tone, and color palette of every piece for an animated movie. This can include environments, characters, clothing, props, you name it. The job is very demanding but also offers incredible freedom in actually designing an imaginary world from scratch.”…conceptartempire

I watched a lot of videos in regards to visual development and came across an artist named Armand Serrano. Serrano worked for Disney for many years and is so diverse with his style. Switching his style to match the production is a skill which is highly sought after in this part of the industry. See examples of his vis dev work below. Link to his webpage can be found here.

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I hope to work on more digital paintings over the next few months along with character and environment designs to help build my own visual language. I would also like to work more on hand painting textures for my own 3d models as this style looks very authentic and also allows me to mix the two mediums of sculpting and painting together.

Animation Industry Talks – 8th Dec

Twas a snowy day on the 8th of December but not enough to stop me from attending this amazing talk! We had an amazing workshop in the morning by Victor Perez who talked extensively on the subject of colour and light. I thoroughly enjoyed his talk as he explained his process of creating realistic imagery through the form of compositing. Before his lesson I was seriously considering trying to specialise in compositing but I realised that it isn’t for me, maybe a bit here and there or intertwined with matte painting.

The talks in the lecture theatre later were just amazing and really opened my eyes to how big the industry is. All the guest speakers were very inspiring and I am so happy to have been there for it.  I wouldn’t have thought that attending this lecture would help me realise that a lot of areas are just not for me. I now believe that it is probably best not to consider yourself a 3D generalist unless you really do enjoy all aspects, but rather to focus on one area and develop your skills there instead. This makes perfect sense. Overall it was a very enjoyable day and I look forward to next years talk.



Concept Art Empire. (2017). What is a Visual Development Artist?. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].

YouTube. (2017). Art Lessons – What to include in your visual development portfolio? (Aaron’s Art Tips S2 E6). [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].

ARMAND SERRANO. (2017). ARMAND SERRANO. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].

Imirt. (2017). Home. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].

Bethesda Game Studios. (2017). Bethesda Game Studios. [online] Available at: [Accessed 21 Dec. 2017].



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