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The Game Art and Design program: When artistic talent meets the tech-savvy

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You never thought you could be playing video games on the job but that’s exactly what some employees are doing, and they’re not even on lunch break yet. Gaming is the job for game industry employees. The industry is expanding with more platforms to penetrate. Video games are not just for gaming consoles anymore. Mobile, tablets, and social media are introducing more elements into game design. On-the-job training schools game design principles and provides the experience and reputation for a budding career in the gaming industry.

Start your career by enrolling to a game design program where students receive one-on-one mentoring from teachers and build industry connections from exclusive studio visits and industry events. A seemingly right school would be Centennial College with its Game Art and Design (6422) program. The school allows small class sizes for personalized teaching and its training labs have competitive technologies to represent a real-work environment, while the Game Art and Design program entails the following experiences:

* Design skills: Students will embark on a journey to shape characters and story settings through 3D modeling and texturing, digital painting, and compositing.

* Story development: Students hone their creative storytelling skills and delve into the script and production process of different media channels.

* Workshops: Learn about the latest designs and how they operate by engaging in workshops. Past students participated in the Motion Capture Workshop where they wore a suit that controls character movement.

* Industry events: Field trips to events are held to help students broaden their knowledge, meet industry experts, and get a sense of their future career. Past events included the Digital Interactive and Gaming showcase, where the latest innovations were displayed, and Digifest, where students attended a panel discussion focused on writing for game design.

* Field placement: Students will apply their classroom knowledge and practice to real-life projects for employers in the video and online gaming business.

Students come in all shapes and sizes. Although those with traditional life drawing skills are highly sought out, as long as you have a creative flair and an appreciation for technology, you succeed in the Game Art and Design program. Take the example of Helen Thatch, graduate of the Game Art and Design program: “After several years in the mechanical engineering industry, I realized that I needed a change. I wasn’t sure as to what exactly I wanted to do, but I knew that I had an affinity for 3D modeling and design. It was then that I made a tough decision to go back to school to pursue a new career. Naturally, video game development was a perfect fit for my interests. It balances both technical and artistic know-how leading to a truly tangible result.”

Strict program requirements are placed in the competitive field, requiring a creative portfolio in addition to academic credentials and program eligibility. Multidisciplinary artist and Game Art and Design program faculty member, Michael Jordan, advises students to be flexible as they wear many hats. She says, “You need to present yourself as a somewhat of a conceptual artist with a love of technology and anesthetic for art.” It all starts with a good foundation in visual arts and specifically in drawing. What makes a good portfolio is focusing your artistic strengths and combining them in different media. Include life drawings and digital creations to your portfolio of 10-15 creative pieces. Students with traditional life drawing skills and graphic design skills will be given preference in the application process. The game design program starts only in the fall semester, so apply now and secure a spot at Centennial College.

Jason White emphasizes the importance of artistic and technical skills In the Game Design Program at Centennial College.

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