Industry News

Senior Environment Artist George from Rare

Have you ever wanted to know more about working in the games industry? Which tools and software are used by artists? Or even what they do on their spare time?

So stay tuned for a series of interviews with various artists from all over the world, where they will be talking about their work!
And to start our first interview, we have Senior Environment Artist George O’ Keeffe from Rare.

Who or what inspired you to get into 3D art?

Since a very young age I was really into video games, but I never really understood it was something I could do for a living. It wasn’t until after studying an Architecture degree that I started to see all the other cool jobs out there, and I decided to really see 3D as a real career path.

What are you working on at the moment?

I am currently working as a Senior Environment Artist at Rare (part of Microsoft Studios). As an environment artist, I create the props and the environment of games, which is really cool. I currently work on Sea of Thieves, which is a shared-world pirate adventure game, where you and your friends team up to rule the seas. As an artist it is a really cool project to work on, because it has this really interesting and challenging stylised art style.!!

What are the best and worst parts of your job?

There are so many aspects of the job I love, to be honest. I really love sculpting and texturing assets, and creating cool art that fits in the Sea of Thieves world. We also have a really talented team at Rare, and I really love working alongside them and learning all I can from them.

How your typical workflow looks like and which tools and software do you prefer to use?

Luckily at Rare, our workflow is quite flexible. We can kind of pick and choose the software we like, and use whatever we need to do the task at hand. Personally I use Maya for modelling and ZBrush for sculpting. I then predominantly use Photoshop for texturing (because of the Sea of Thieves art style, I find the Photoshop brushed really useful for getting the bold brush strokes that are so prominent in the assets). I will sometimes use Substance Painter and Designer where necessary too.

What key piece of advice would you offer to a 3D artist aspiring to work in the games industry?

Our industry is a notoriously difficult industry to break into, but it definitely is possible. Don’t give up, and never stop learning and practising. Sure, it’s not always fun and games, and takes a lot of hard work, but when you get there it is so worth it!

What’s your favourite game and why?

Oh man, that’s a very difficult question. I like so many games, and for so many different reasons, so I can’t really pick a favourite.
For story, I would have to say The Last of Us because the story and characters are just so moving, but Red Dead Redemption 2 and God of War (2018) are definitely at its heels.
As an artist, the visuals of a game are really important, and games like Bioshock Infinite, Sunset Overdrive, Uncharted 4 and the Batman Arkham games are amazing pieces of artistic mastery.
And finally, I love to be fully immersed in a world, and games like Red Dead Redemption 2 and Grand Theft Auto V have created such amazing and believable worlds that I love to get lost in.

What do you like to do in your spare time (if you have any)?

Spare time is something I genuinely dream about, but I do have a couple of go-to’s whenever I get a second. I love creating art, so a huge chunk of my spare time revolves around practicing and learning new techniques. I always try to keep up on new software, and experiment with things without the pressure of work.
I also love watching TV and movies, and playing games, obviously.
And lastly, I love hanging out with my friends. Sometimes that is digitally, playing Overwatch or something online, but usually it is in a pub or a restaurant somewhere…!

Unreal Authorized Instructor, Programme Leader for MA Games Art at Escape Studios & Tutor for Games Art Short / Part Time Courses. I have been teaching new creative talent for the past 15+ years, at institutions such as Alpha Channel and the University of Hertfordshire. I've also wrote numerous published books about Unreal Engine including; UDK Basics, Level Design and Documentation and UDK Games scenarios integration as well creating game assets for the next generation consoles such as the racing game ‘Pacer’. Currently working on my own game!

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