Preparations for that first TA job


#1

I quit my job as a 3D Artist a few weeks ago because I finally got offered a job as a Junior Technical Artist. Now I would like to prepare myself a little before I actually start working there in a couple of weeks.

Background:
Worked as a 3D Artist since 2010 first as an intern at Avalanche Studios and later at studios that had a focus on mobile game development. Started learning MEL in the summer of 2012, then Python during xmas 2013, followed by PyMEL/Maya cmds, and some Photoshop scripting (javascript, vbscript). I also have a background in web development so I know HTML5 and CSS3 inside out, and also know basic javascript, php, databases, CMS’s. During the last couple months I also had to learn 3ds Max as my current employer required me to do so. I have yet to cave into MAXScript though, only touching it a little on the surface creating really simple macros. To be perfectly honest I really dislike that 3d-package whole-heartedly, but I am glad that I learned it as it’s pretty good to know both Maya and Max. Other things I’ve only brushed the surface of but not really caved-into includes: Qt, C and Windows COM. I know a little about lot of things which I guess is okay for now.

Being stuck with mobile graphics since 2012 has got me very fed up working with production (asset creation). I also feel that I rarely learn anything via the jobs that I’ve had - which is another motivating factor for switching to another kind of job. So before I started working at this company I applied for a TA position at King here in Stockholm, and to cut a long story short: they wanted me as a TA so I signed with them and quit my current job.

I’m really super excited as this is quite a big change for me. I know from others that I have the right TA -attitude and mindset, but like anyone else starting a new kind of job I fear being underqualified. Luckily King is a company which seems to suit me very well, considering I have plenty of experience with mobile/lowpoly graphics, web development and so on - and they already have a few TA’s working there which I can always lean on for support. They’ve also been clear to me that they are simply not gonna drop me off there and leave me by myself, but kinda guide me into the role.

My preparation planning so far:
I’m planning to learn a little bit of Lua during the weeks before I start working there, and I’ve also gotten my hands on the Defold beta (engine/SDK developed by King) which I plan to take a look at. I’m also considering skimming through the Python course at codeacademy (for a second time) just to make sure I’ve not forgotten anything essential that I think I “should” know about. I wish I had more time for preparations - the christmas holidays are kinda in the way actually (Im stuck on a crappy laptop for like 10 days now). There are SO many things I want to learn, yet so little time for it. Anyways, I’m rambling now. I’ll keep this short and end this post here by asking you guys if you have any general advice to someone like me who is just about to move from art production to TA. Thanks in advance!


#2

No panic. Usually you start slow on a new job. A good studio will give you some time to get familiar with their tech, their TA framework (tools, processes) and the studio culture in general. You first tasks will likely be support and small scale troubleshooting, where quick thinking counts, rather than deep knowledge.
What I would do (and did in the past), is soak up everything I came across at work - including things I saw other TAs doing - and read up on them on my own time after work (but also ask the other TAs! but don’t steal too much of their time), so I would get a basic understanding. As days pass you will get a better and better idea what everyone is doing and what the core techs really are, and your own learning path will be clearer and clearer.
Personally, I would take it easy, if I were you, clear your head and get as much rest as possible, so you can give your very best when you start. And trust me, it will be exciting, but also quite energy consuming!

Good luck!


#3

I tend to call it “surfing the wave”. As Rob mentioned, clearing your head and resting a lot will be important as you want to be able to surf the wave as long as possible with all the information and experiences that will come to you. ( and then get ready for the next wave … )
Also allow yourself to adapt to all the new knowledge as your brain needs time and sense to structure all this new information in a new efficient way.

Focus on the process, not the end result. Its not about what you know when you start, but what you can learn along the way. Having good habits makes you get the most out of everything.

Don’t just copy the knowledge you gain. use it as a fresh perspective to look at what you already know to discover something new.

An most important of all, have fun :smiley: You will get pulled out of your comfort zone many times, but see it as a cue for a new important habit that allows your to be aware of the amount of learning you are doing


#4

don’t be afraid of anything. Like nysuatro said, you’ll be out of your comfort zone a lot. Don’t let that scare you, just hit everything with your head until it works :slight_smile: