Friday, 20 May 2016

Escapee Pedro Cabeleira Breaks Into TT Games

Traveller's Tales
Escapee Pedro Cabeleira took our animation short course at Escape Studios a few years ago and is now working as a character artist at Traveller’s Tales, a UK based games company which is owned by Warner Bros and specialises in Lego games.

We asked Pedro to talk about his career, how he broke into the games industry, and what advice he might offer to students hoping to enjoy similar career success.

Escape: What are you working on now?
TT Games - Lego Star Wars
Pedro: I am working on the development of several of the Lego Games - I work as a Character Artist, focusing mostly on the Lego Minifigs and also creating the Lego BigFigs or creatures you can see in the game.

Escape: How did you get the job?
Pedro: I got into the industry initially as an animator, after completing the Escape Studios animation short course. After a working as an animator for a while, I decided that I really wanted to be able to work in Character Art, so I worked on my free time on my art portfolio. When my portfolio was ready, I applied to Traveller’s Tales and got a position there.

Bizarro by Pedro Cabeleira. © WB and Lego
Escape: What kind of software and skills are needed? 
Pedro:  Most of my work is done in Maya, Zbrush, Illustrator and TT’s own proprietary game engine.

The norm applies regarding character art skills, requiring UV and topology flow knowledge, texturing, etc. In terms of sculpting, the style is more directed towards hard-surface work, but applied to this hybrid between the organic shapes we represent and the plastic Lego toys.

Escape: What is the best part of the job? 
Pedro: The best part is getting to create original concepts. Unlike in many places where the concept artist is separate from the character artist, at TT we, as character artists, also get to create the concept.

Many are official designs from Lego of course, but there are a lot of characters we get some reference for, like many of the ones in Lego Marvel Avengers - and then we get to create their Lego counterparts, from concept to finished game assets.
Citizen V by Pedro Cabeleira. © WB and Lego

Escape: How did studying at Escape Studios prepare you for your career? 
Pedro: Escape Studios is a school that, for me, I saw as a big investment in the direction I wanted my career to follow. I had finished a Degree in Communication Design the year before in Portugal, but had started to dabble in 3D as I found my passion for it. Escape gave me the tools to develop further and make my way into the industry.

The courses at Escape are shorter in duration than many, but the hours spent there can be enough to prepare you for your career.  But, make sure to go in ready to work very long hours during your course if you want to make the most of it all, and really get the best out of the teachers and the studio assistants.

I spent my time at Escape doing not only the regular 10-5pm studio hours, but staying late most days to continue working on my project. In the end, you only get out as much as you put in.

What advice would you give for a student trying to break into the industry?
Pedro: Don’t give up, decide on the direction you really want and work really hard. I know it sounds like a cliché, but really this is the deciding factor.  The games industry is not an easy career to break into, but it can be worth the effort, if you’re willing to put it in.

Treat the business of working on your portfolio as you would a full-time job, for as long as you are able, and the opportunities will come.

To see Pedro Cabeleira's online portfolio, follow this link.

The Escape Studios Animation Blog offers a personal view on the art of animation and visual effects. To find out more about our new BA/MArt in the Art of Computer Animation starting in September 2016, see this post. And to apply, follow this link.

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