BA (Hons) Digital Arts Top-Up
Want to develop your artistic talent and sharpen your technical skills within the digital world? Solent’s digital arts top-up degree is perfectly suited to students who want to...
A typical day for me would involve checking up on any tickets that have been put in for the shows I'm responsible for. Currently I'm looking after two – one where I'm the head ATD and another where I'm the supporting. The type of tickets that come in range from bug fixes in Maya scenes, to writing scripts for standalone tools that enable artists to do xyz. I have found that I am more interested in the coding side of things and that is the route I'm going down now. However, my colleagues have a range of backgrounds. Most ATDs are artists who start in this role and move onto artist roles after a period of time. The secret is: if you have your foot in the door, it’s easier to move around the company than to apply from the outside.
The best part about being an ATD is that you get the full scoop on how things work. This is so useful if you go down the route of artist or developer. Understanding why things are done and how they are done makes things so much easier, and also gives you great contacts. The biggest challenges are working through things I don’t know how to fix. But it’s okay! As an ATD, half my job is to look in Maya scenes and have a more ‘artist’ head, and the other half is to write scripts and have more of a ‘coder’ head. Either way, you're encouraged to ask questions if you don’t know the answer. As long as you ask questions, once you have given it a go and still don’t know what to do, you won’t spend too long feeling stumped, and you learn something!
I had a bit of a different experience at university to some people. I started on a different course in my first year, and then during my third year I was having some family issues. The main thing that helped me at Solent was the support from the teachers. Ken Pitt, my lecturer, was amazing at both keeping up to date with and motivating me. The most helpful experiences I had were the talks and events we had with people within the industry. These are so important – not only to get an idea of what the companies want from you, but also to get contacts!
The first thing that comes to mind is handing in those assignments! But on a serious note, probably the events and talks with industry people – they gave me the inspiration and motivation I needed to be where I am today.
Don’t just apply for the typical ‘runner’ jobs. Apply for outside-of-the-box jobs, such as ATD, too. And when you also apply for that dream artist job that you may not be qualified for just yet, big yourself up! Be confident in what you can do, because the person who reads your CV will see that too.