Every month, we pick the brain of an up-and-coming talent. This month’s Rising Star is Nicolas Pirot, technical artist at Rocksteady, who tells us about the importance of game jams, criticism from industry peers and making use of every single opportunity.
How did you break into games?
What really helped me break into the industry was participating in game jams, competitions and art challenges. By doing as many of these as I could, I got in touch with Sumo Digital as part of the Grads in Games’ Search for a Star challenge. After discussing my portfolio and application, I was offered an internship as a technical artist. Getting involved in that way was as great learning experience, and it definitely gave my portfolio and skills the edge I needed to make it into the industry.
What is your proudest achievement so far?
Besides getting into the industry itself, I’m particularly proud that I have been able to start helping others to do the same. Throughout the early stages of my career I spent tons of time and energy getting as much professional feedback and criticism from industry peers as I could. So, when I reached a point in my career where I was invited to host a presentation and be a judge for the Grads in Games competitions, it was a great experience to go full-circle and have the platform to help aspiring tech artists. Whether through technical advice or portfolio reviews at events, helping students get into the industry has been tremendously meaningful to me.
What’s been your biggest challenge so far?
Learning to find the right balance between furthering my career goals and pursuing personal projects in my own time has been really rewarding. The skills I’ve learned in-house have given me so many creative possibilities and insights, and it’s awesome to be using these triple-A ideas in small experiments and art pieces. When it comes to balancing creativity and careers, the most useful trick I’ve discovered is to give it time. It’s been very inspiring to allow myself the space to get a better understanding of what I want to make, and why I want to make it.
“When it comes to balancing creativity and careers, the most useful trick is to give it time.”
What do you enjoy most about your job?
Overall, I would say that contributing to an awesome game that will evoke so many emotions in people is absolutely one of my favourite parts of the job. In a more day-to-day aspect, the broad range of technical, artistic and personal skills required to be a technical artist are all things I enjoy tremendously. Plus, getting to work with so many skilled and talented artists is a huge privilege.
What’s your biggest ambition in games?
What I really want to do in my career is push the boundaries of what is possible, to create something that connects with players on a level that can’t be put into words. Being part of the awesome Rocksteady dev team has given me the opportunity to contribute to an amazing project, and I’m excited to see what the finished result looks like.
What advice would you give to aspiring technical artists?
Make use of every single opportunity to prove yourself: post about your work on forums like UE4, Unity and Polycount – and anywhere else that’s relevant to the disciplines that interest you. Participate in competitions like the Search for a Star challenge: getting noticed is very valuable when it comes to getting hired. There are so many ways to get into this amazing, strange and fantastic industry, so don’t wait until graduation to start your journey.