Learning the art of the video game

When Ayden Geer entered Centennial College’s Game Arts and Design program, she had no idea that after three semesters she’d be interning at Game Pill, an interactive game company, as a lead texture artist.

“Right now I’m working on a model, a mec, like a mechanical, so it’s a robot,” Geer said. “So I’m doing a lot of line work to make it look like it has panels in the face, and bolts.”

Texture art, which involves using textures to make characters and objects such as “mecs,” looks real, and is one of three main components taught in the Game Arts and Design program.

Geer, 22, is currently working on her internship. Her fascination for video games and drawing inspired her to enter the world of environment art. That involves designing the environments and settings of the game, texture art and 3D modelling, or designing the characters in the game.

“Coming into this program I didn’t really know anything about any of this. It was definitely a challenge,” Geer said.

Geer credits instructors Gavin Ball and Joseph Kim for teaching her anatomy and character modelling.

“I think people don’t realize how many positions there are in order to create it. A lot of people think ‘OK, if you’re a character modeller, you do the modelling, you’ll unwrap the UVs, you’ll texturize.’ But no. There’s a job for each one,” Geer said.

Phil Krueger is the program co-ordinator for both the Game Arts and Design program and Digital Animation. He said that game consumers underestimate the amount of work that goes into making a video game.

“They don’t realize that in the studio maybe there’s 100 environment artists and 5 character designers and maybe 100 programmers,” Krueger said.

Krueger stresses that the program focuses solely on creating the art assets of video games. But some students do have experience working on other parts of a game.

Rachel Martin, 24, spent two years doing video game programming and coding before joining the program. Martin was able to use her programming knowledge to help other students.

“It kind of benefitted me as well, and a lot of classmates as well if they need help with programming. Because a lot of the guys are making their own game now,” Martin said.

Krueger likes the future of the Game Arts and Design program, which, at eight years old, is still a young program.

“Next year we’re going to look at it a little again in terms of refocusing it,” he said.