Meg took a class in high school that made her want to go into Game Art & Animation.I originally wanted to be an aerospace engineer. Then, in my senior year of high school, I took a game development class. I had a really fun time with it, creating things that people experience when they play games.
On professors...I love my professors, they are there for you and give you feedback that really helps your projects be the best they can be. Overall, Game Art & Animation is extremely difficult but very rewarding; I wouldn't want it any other way.
With the Upside-Down Curriculum, Meg didn't have to wait to experience her major.I was able to start getting my skills right away instead of in my junior and senior years. I was able to get through the rough stages of learning new programs with low-quality work to really make a good portfolio in my final years that will keep me competitive with other game art students around the world. She spent a full year studying abroad.I studied abroad in Montreal for a full school year. It was by far the most valuable experience I've had so far at Champlain. I got to learn from people who are working in the industry and see what it's like at those studios when we went on tours. The Core system up there was almost entirely project-based instead of paper-based, and it allowed us to be flexible with what we were learning in class. The food and culture were amazing, and the Montreal staff were always friendly and helpful. An Advanced Seminar in Montreal has helped her focus on her future.In my junior year in Montreal, I took an advanced seminar for game environments, and I thought that was super useful and really helped me get to the level I want to be at for my work. We spent 9 weeks making one really strong portfolio piece, and I definitely don't think I would have created such great work without my professor's comments. In my junior and senior years, I really got to focus on projects for my portfolio, and that was kind of scary and exciting. It's making me plan for my future outside of college.
Meg is prepared for what comes after graduation.Champlain often brings in game alumni and game companies to show us what their expectations are for the actual job market. This helps me sort through all the confusion and stress that comes with not knowing what to expect out there. They also tend to give valuable information on internships, jobs and technology they are using or exploring. Best part of Burlington: the downtown Farmer's Market on Saturdays.Burlington's nice. I can walk almost anywhere, and there are plenty of bars and restaurants that are fun to go to. It's very much a college town, it's got something for everyone. I really enjoy the Farmer's Market—my boyfriend and I go every Saturday.
Megan, Game Art & Animation major Appleton, WIStudied abroad in Montreal, CanadaDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I decided I wanted to go into game art and animation during high school. I had an interest in landscaping and architecture, and I took an architecture class in my sophomore year of high school. I even won third place in a state-wide house design. However, architecture is restricting because you have to worry about budget, structural stability, and zoning. In game art, I could make as many architectural structures as I wanted without real-world restrictions. The only real limit in digital art is time.
Champlain was my number one choice-it was the only school I applied to. The Game Art program was in-depth and challenging, and upon visiting campus I fell in love with the gorgeous and friendly atmosphere of Burlington. Thanks to Champlain's upside-down curriculum, I was able to jump into digital art courses in my first year. As an artist from a strictly traditional background, grasping digital software was challenging, but it's easy to learn when you have kind, supportive teachers. The Game Art program pushes you to strive for your best, but really what has made my experience at Champlain so positive is the community here. The game artists are really one big family and the teachers are well versed, friendly and personable. Champlain has transformed me into a confident, happy person; when the stress gets real, I have others who care and we get through it together.
Nicole, Game Art & Animation MajorCheshire, CTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
What drew me to Champlain was the atmosphere of the campus, as well as the excellent Game Art & Animation program. I've loved video games for a long time, and I decided very young that I wanted to make games. It was a childhood dream that I stuck with through thick and thin, getting me to where I am today. The opportunities I have been given and the knowledge I have gained are something I will always be grateful for. In particular, my production classes for the Game Studio taught me how to work on a team of vastly different people, all working towards the same goal.
Working at the Emergent Media Center was the first place where I worked as a game artist in a team environment on a creative product during my first year. It was an eye-opening experience that very quickly showed me how hard I would have to work in my career, but it was also great to watch the more experienced artists and learn from them. My skills learned in the Game Studio have prepared me for entering the industry, and I am confident that I will one day have the job of my dreams because of that. My experiences in multiple internships also prove to game studios that are considering me for employment that I am able to work in a production environment.
Desiree was also the Lead Artist for SunBots, a senior game which was recognized for Excellence in Art Direction at the 2014 RPI GameFest.Desiree, Game Art & Animation MajorGranby, MADIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
I decided I wanted to be a game artist in my last year of high school. I had experience with art and I enjoyed video games, so I thought why not put the two together? I chose Champlain based on a combination of the school size, location and the game cohort.
At Champlain, I worked with the Emergent Media Center, which gave me more insight into the workings of game studios and how to manage collaborating with different teams. It helped to have critiques every week from someone outside of the game team and also from our clients, who had little to no game experience and could give me valuable insight into the art I was creating. My semester abroad in Montreal was also invaluable in giving me a feel for what a games industry city was like and visiting game studios.
In my junior year, I had the opportunity to intern at Mission Critical Studios, where I did concept and in-game art for a 2D iOS game. My internship helped give me an inside look at what it's like to work in a smaller company and what skills I needed to improve to better fit that role. These experiences and my production classes gave me confidence about entering the job market. I'm able to say that I've created games before and know the pipelines for common game industry work practices.
Liznel was also a character artist for SunBots, a senior game which was recognized for Excellence in Art Direction at the 2014 RPI GameFest.Liznel, Game Art & Animation MajorNorth Plainfield, NJDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA
What I've liked most about Champlain's Game Studio is the strong integration of team-based projects in the curriculum. You learn about the ups and downs of a production environment where you are constantly relying on other people, the importance of communication skills, and the ability to prioritize and manage your time well. You gain these soft skills, which are necessary for seeing any project through to completion. At the same time, you learn how to use different programs, like Autodesk Maya, CrazyBump, ZBrush and Unity3D, while practicing a wide variety of techniques to create realistic, game style-objects and hand-painted, more stylized environments.
Throughout my time at Champlain, I studied abroad in Montreal for both semesters of my junior year, was an assistant artist at Codename Games in Los Angeles over a summer, and attended the Montreal International Game Summit for three years. I also attended the Game Developers Conference in San Francisco during my senior year, thanks to a scholarship through the College. I've done everything I possibly can to be in a good position to get hired after graduation.
Lucas was hired as a 3D environmental artist for Torn Banner Studios in Toronto, Canada, the summer after he graduated.
Lucas, Game Art & Animation South Londonderry, VTDIVISION OF COMMUNICATION & CREATIVE MEDIA