Meet the Speakers 2020: Sarah Elliott

Meet the Speakers 2020: Sarah Elliott
February 11, 2020 CG Futures

MEET THE SPEAKERS 2020: SARAH ELLIOTT

Sarah Elliott is a technical artist at Adelaide based studio, Mighty Kingdom. She began her career as part of the studio’s first graduate intake and has progressed to working on games for LEGO, Conan the Barbarian and Mighty Kingdom’s own IP, Wild Life: Puzzle Story.

Q: Can you briefly walk me through your story – how did you get your start in the industry? What’s your current role like?

A: I studied diploma of animation online for a year while recovering from an illness to see if it was something I liked doing. I discovered that it was something I very much enjoyed, so I started a bachelor’s degree the year after. Initially, I thought I liked animation and 3D modelling, but when I discovered rigging- I was hooked- and took every opportunity to rig for projects that I could. After graduating, I was hired through Mighty Kingdom’s first graduate intake. I learned Python on the job and have since become part of the pipeline and rigging team, as well as becoming responsible for all of the 2D rigging in the studio. I am also involved in mentorship of people breaking into the industry and have been a mentor in the Working Lunch’s first Adelaide cohort. I also make time to visit and speak to students so game dev can be seen as a viable career option for them, as it was something that was not at all visible for me while I was at school.

Q: Tell us about your work. What are you most proud of?

A: I am a Technical Artist at Mighty Kingdom, my responsibilities include 2D rigging and maintenance of 2D rigs within engine, 3D rig creation, maintenance and coding as well as pipeline maintenance. I am also able to jump into a more generalist role, having done rendering, level design, animation and 2D concept and final art for projects. I am most proud of my development of our 2D pipeline, and while it is still in its early stages, I have been able to create a set of standards we work by within it and make it easier to use for all involved.

Q: Has it been a smooth road? If not, what were some of the struggles along the way? Any advice for others?

A: The most difficult thing I encountered on my path to where I currently am, was how much I struggled to get feedback and guidance on my rigging- especially from other technical artists. My main advice around this is to reach out and find mentors; animators provide great feedback on the usability of a rig. Don’t be afraid to email industry professionals to ask for advice- and in case you still can’t find anyone- keep persevering. On the flip side, to professionals, try to help out where you can, even if it’s a word of advice on a showreel or a link to a helpful tutorial- any and all help you give will be appreciated by people trying to enter the industry and improve their skills.

 

Q: How do you stay inspired and keep from burning out?

A: I’m very lucky in that my job keeps me inspired. Technical Art is all about solving problems, and once one problem is solved, another challenge usually appears, so I can come to work every day knowing that I will be challenged and am able to enjoy myself. The people around you are also very, they can be a good sounding board for problems that leave you scratching your head and can offer a different point of view when you need it. They also keep you striving to improve your work or let you know when you might need a break if you’re lost and a bit too deep in your work.

 

Q: Any final words of advice?

A: For a Technical Artist, communication and a love of problem solving is key. Learning how to communicate a solution, or a problem that only you might be aware of, is so important in this discipline. Make sure that you work with as many people as possible, and are aware of different needs from different areas of the pipeline.

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