Costume Design in Video Games
Hi, this is kind of a new world for me. I'm a costume designer, and I work primarily in theatre, with a little film work on the side. But, as you might imagine, it's not the most lucrative career, and it involves far too many 120 hour weeks. So, I'm considering some alternate career options. My husband got Assassins Creed II for Christmas, and, as I was watching him play it, I realized that there are hundreds of background characters and extras in the game, all of whom are wearing period (ish) costumes.Which means, someone had to design them.
The idea of designing for actors who don't lose buttons, don't drop hems, don't get their costumes dirty or torn, no matter who's shooting at them, or how high a building they fall off has some definite appeal. And, I have a toddler, so working 18 hour days for theatres that can't cover my childcare is becoming impossible.
So, here are my questions; is there such a job as a costume designer for video games? A friend who's a successful video game animator suggested that I get some training to become a 3D modeller, but even he wasn't sure if that was the right track. I'm not a computer wiz (although I'm fairly handy with PhotoShop and can write HTML, so I _can_ be taught), and I don't want to end up learning how to implement other peoples' designs. I don't mind learning how to implement my own designs, but the designing is the key part of this for me.
What is the job for me, in the video game world? Considering I have over 6 years of professional design and 20 years of fashion history under my belt (but no actual degrees), what further education do I need? What computer programs should I become proficient in? What degree or certs do I need to impress a video game production company? I live in Vancouver, so there's plenty around, but I don't know where to begin.
Please help! And please be specific and assume I know nothing about video game production, because that is actually the case.
You might not necessarily have to learn any computer programs except how to make scans, use Photoshop, and the use of email, IM, and ftp (file transfer protocol). You might not have to put the costumes directly on 3D models (most likely you'd just need to design the costumes on paper), but the more you can offer (3D model texturing for example) the more work you can get.
If you want to pursue this, you'd have to figure it all out yourself, since you're blazing a new path.
By the way, this isn't a Game Design question - it's an art question (graphics, visual arts).
I don't know if companies hire artists to specifically design/model characters, but it's ringing some bells, so I wouldn't be surprised if they do. This link is to the art section of www.gamasutra.com's job board. I suggest you scan the list for a job description that fits.
Here's one that might be what you're looking for:
The point of this is for you to gain some information on the types of art/character modeling jobs there are, and maybe figure out what kind of skill set you need to get a job. But beware: this industry is very competitive...
Re: Costume Design in Video Games
your post is almost 4 years old now, so i was interested, if you managed to take the path you were looking for?
I myself am a costume designer and currently working for an animation film studio, doing the concept and character design and learning new workflows to improve the pipeline. What i personally recommend would be digging into maya nCloth and Marvelous Designer. The later you might not know but check it out. I see the link between digital media and analogue working tecniques such as ours to have quite a boom ahead of it!
As you say, working in theaters is dying, especially because i feel like so many with that profession want to persuade a theater carreer and it just doenst have enough jobs for all of us. So, people did best, if they re-oriented themselves again.
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