Technically speaking, I’m an artist.

Big changes demand better blog up-keep!

A lot, and I mean A LOT has happened in the past few months.  Unfortunately, I haven’t been very vocal about it, at least not where this blog is concerned.  So, here it is.  The good with the bad.  Like any good story, it has a happy ending!

In January, the state sent budget cuts to the University of Louisiana, and by proxy, to my company.  They let go three artists including myself.  While that might not seem like much, for a team of ten people, that was a big deal.  I spent the next few months battling with the state to get unemployment.  Not my favorite thing to do in any sense.  Apparently, even if you’re eligible for unemployment by every record known to man, if your application gets fouled up by no fault of your own, it takes a minimum of three months to fix.  Sufficed to say, I don’t want to do that again.

Later, in March, I started as a contract consultant with the UL  – Lafayette Engineering Research Lab.  The good thing about this job was that I got to work out of the same building as my last one.  Making my own hours was a headache, but getting to still hang out with my old co-workers from time to time was awesome.  I worked with the lab on a really cool project in partnership with the U.S. Army.  The project involves a CAVE environment linked to an omni-directional treadmill.  Witnessing everything up and running, though, is really a sight to see.  It makes me really interested in hearing what comes of the research.

Now I’m looking forward to what’s ahead.  I just accepted a job with DreamWorks Animation in Glendale, CA and have to move to Los Angeles in the next week and a half.  This is really an exciting opportunity.  The only thing I can do is continue working and hope I’m prepared for everything that is thrown at me.  I can truly say that I continue to be blessed every day, regardless of the pitfalls around me.

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Graduation and Gratitude

It’s been quite a while since my last post.  A lot has gone on in the past few months, both for me and my family.

In April, I graduated with my Bachelor of Fine Arts in Game Development.  It really seems like it was only yesterday when I was debating what exactly I wanted to do for a living.  Now here I am, out in the working world!

I took a well-needed break from working by going to my second GDC in San Francisco.  I’d been working day-in and day-out on my portfolio for months.  Now was the time to relax, mingle, and see how that work paid off.  It was really interesting how much things had changed in a year.  Last year EA was the big dog of the career pavillion, wanting just about everyone to leave GDC with at least two pieces of EA schwag.  This year, however, they didn’t even have a booth.  A lot of people attributed this decline of interest to the economy.  Interestingly, I didn’t get to network as much this year as I did last year.  Not very many recruiters wanted to talk as much as last year.  It was always, “just hand in your resume and we’ll be in touch if we’re interested.”  I don’t know if it was my lack of experience, or if this was just the way things were this year.  I did, however get to go to a few good sessions, especially the Real-Time Global Illumination in Sonic Unleashed.  That was amazing!  I think one of the best things that happened at GDC this year was that I actually knew more people coming to the conference.  I also got to meet up with a bunch of SCAD seniors and we actually played games (go figure) on the last night.  We played Family Business (great game, BTW) on into the night.  I didn’t leave GDC with a job, or even an interview.  However, I did leave with more confidence in myself.  I can’t wait for GDC 2010!

Once I got back, things started skyrocketing.  Not a week after I got back, I was flying to Lafayette, Louisiana for an on-site interview.  Two weeks later, I found myself moving there and starting my first real job as a Technical Artist for Louisiana Immersive Technologies Enterprise (www.lite3d.com)  I’ve been at LITE for almost 3 months, now and am really liking it.  Being a Technical Artist, I’m pretty much a go-to guy for a lot of things.  When the artists need help troubleshooting or need a new tool, I’m there.  When I’m not running triage on software issues, though, I’m usually working on our propriatary engine.  I write shaders and generate test cases for new features to our engine.  One thing I really like is that I sometimes get involved with the artistic parts of certain projects.  Most recently, I was in charge of look development for our fourth promotional video, which was about visualization. (www.lite3d.com/videos)

Overall, I’ve really been fortunate these past few months.  I have a steady job that I can live off of, a great looking apartment, and the ability to start paying off those pesky student loans!  Yeah!

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