Doubts about how to keep learning



Hi all,

I was looking for information about the technical artist’s responsibilities. At beginning I thought technical artist are like ninjas, they are able to make a videogame for their own until I found this site. I am glad to find this site and I thank you for keeping it alive and updated.

I read all I can about this professional profile and I have some doubts about the way I should choose, so any advice will be welcome.

I started to study this branch after a talk with another Technical Artist. At the beginning I was studying to be an Environment Artist but this TA took a look to my stuffs and he recommended me to study to be a Technical Artist as I had artistic and programming skills.

Thanks at that talk I started to study VFX and Shaders within Unreal Engine 4 and after two months I got my first job! I was in charge of making Shaders, VFX and Scripting by Blueprints. I really enjoyed my tasks and now I want to grow up in that way.

Currently I am learning Python because I think it is a usefull tool and it can be used by many others softwares (Maya, Houdini, 3ds Max, Substance, etc.) and I studied a little of Rigging during the summer but actually I am more happy working with effects.

Here is where I have my doubts. I started to study how to make VFX and Shaders within Unreal Engine 4. Without UE4, I have no idea how to make it.

I don’t want to stagnate in an engine. I want to be usefull regardless the engine, so I would like to learn a 3D Software and make VFX or Dynamics within it. After a little of research, I would like to ask you if I should start with Houdini for VFX and Dynamic staffs. I read it is a more complex software that Maya due Houdini is more technical but it is used more and more in film and game industries. For instance, Uncharted 4:

I also wonder whether getting better in this way can open me doors to get jobs within film and game industries or maybe I am covering too much.

I thank you for all the hard work. I am learning a lot in this forum!

PS. My apologies if my English is not correct. I am still learning. Please tell me if you need some clarification.


As a TA, I don’t think there is a right or wrong thing to learn. All the stuff you have mentioned sounds great. Being a TA might mean very different things at different companies and on different teams. One team might need rigging, another might need shader work done. On job might be all all artist support, or helping with scheduling in Excel by writing macros, etc. Some teams might expect you to know everything. I would say try to learn a little bit about a lot of things, and then specialize in the things you like to do. Do you like authoring shaders? You can get a job doing nothing but shader work, but those are going to be harder to come by. I don’t think there is a single correct answer here. Being a TA is more about the attitude you bring to your job, and asking this question means that you are headed in the right direction already.


Hi btribble,

I thank you so much for your advices and I want to tell you that I wasn’t going to forget all I learned until now. I have experience in several 3d stuff and I make exercices/projects that require experience in several 3d stuff, so it helps me to refresh/improve those concepts learned.

As you say, I am learning a little of everything but I read in a lot of sites we have to specialize in something and I think they are right as we can’t be experts in all. That’s way I want specialize in effects and dynamics.

I chose Maya and Houdini because I think they are standards in both industries for this kind of stuff. I hope not be mistaken.

Again, thank you so much for your help, btribble.