PlatinumGames

What is an environment artist?

Shape the world of the game!

As game hardware improves, today’s games contain worlds more vast and deep than ever seen before. Players love to explore these worlds at their leisure, running around and taking in all the sights and experiences that games have to offer.
As an environment artist, you’ll create immersive, compelling worlds, down to the last nook and cranny. The experience of exploring a universe of your own creation is a joy known to environment artists and few others.

environment

 

Detailed workflow

Environmental art covers so many roles that it’s impossible for one person to master all of them. Each of our artists serves the roles that are suited to their own personal skills and interests, including the following:

3D Artwork
Area design Build map-based designs into inhabitable, three-dimensional environments. This work provides the full experience of creating a world through the creation of textures, 3D models and shaders.
Modeling Use 3D CG tools to create the objects that fill the world and make it feel real. From large architectural elements such as walls and floors, all the way down to chairs and tables, lots of these objects are essential to a compelling world. These are often made with existing design materials, but as often as not, environment modelers take charge of their own designs here at PlatinumGames. We use Maya and ZBrush in our modeling work.
Texture creation Create textures that will be applied to 3D models. These flat textures are sometimes drawn from scratch, and sometimes retouched from photographs.
Shaders Create shaders that imbue 3D models with the visual qualities that make them look solid and real. Quality shaders are vital to making game objects look their best on modern gaming hardware.
Collision Allow models to react properly when they come into contact with other objects in game. Most models need careful collision to allow the player and other characters to realistically interact with the game world.
Post-production Effects Apply finishing touches and eye-catching effects to the finished graphics. These effects are applied dynamically by adjusting the final appearance of the game. Environment artists work closely with VFX artists (link) to ensure these effects put the perfect finish on a good environment.

 

Game Planning
Map design Design fun and functional maps and layouts for areas that appear in-game, using 3D modeling software. At PlatinumGames, this role allows artists to work alongside game planners to design the overall game experience.

 

Work administration

At PlatinumGames, we divide our labor among environment artists differently than you may have seen elsewhere:

  • Artists are given roles applicable to their own skills.
  • Individual artists cover more roles at PlatinumGames than they do at other game companies.
  • Artists are free to try their hand at any roles they’re interested in.

One artist may cover any number of the roles above. Like any other member of our staff, they are also encouraged to actively provide their ideas and opinions on the direction of the game, contributing to the overall game design.

INTERVIEW

“Not just part of an assembly line”

Environment Artist

Please tell us about your prior experience, and what brought you to PlatinumGames.

I used to work as an environment artist for another Japanese game company, for a bit under three years. I was always interested in PlatinumGames, though, and when Scalebound was announced I made the jump, as I wanted to be part of that project.

What’s the most fulfilling part of your job?

I have a lot of personal say in what happens with the environments in the game, and it never feels like I’m just part of an assembly line.
I also get to research a lot and apply that to my daily work.

Tell us about the atmosphere in your department.

People in the Environment team are always trying to learn as much as possible, and we often discuss things with other environment artists who’re working on other projects. You can learn a lot of techniques being used on different titles.

What appeals to you about working at PlatinumGames?

The passion for making games is definitely what stands out the most.
The games being made here are less about “cinematic experiences” and more about actual gameplay, which is something I enjoy on a personal level as well.

What are your current goals here at Platinum?

Besides environment art, I have always wanted to do concept art, so I keep going to the concept art team to get feedback on concept art that I do in my free time.
Eventually becoming a concept artist with good knowledge of environmental art is something I reckon would be useful for the company as well!

What tools do you primarily use for work?

I use Unreal Engine 4 to work in the actual game; Photoshop to do rough sketches to present my ideas to other teams; and for asset creation I use Maya, ZBrush, Substance Painter and Designer, and other similar middleware as needed.

Tell us about a challenge you’ve overcome while working in Japan.

The most obvious challenge is the language barrier. However, you don’t need to be perfectly fluent in the language to work here, as long as you can at least get your ideas and opinions across to your coworkers.

What would you tell someone who’s thinking of applying to PlatinumGames?

In some larger companies, environment artists are often very focused and specialized, working on very small portions of the game to the point where one might feel their opinion doesn’t matter that much. However, PlatinumGames expects environmental artists to be able to work on a broader array of elements in their field – like asset creation, layout, lighting or post-processing – and calls for them to be more involved with the team as a whole and communicate with other sections on a daily basis. Please apply if you’re up for that challenge!

QUALIFICATIONS

Who we’re looking for:

  • Applicants with an active interest in creating environments for video games
  • Applicants familiar with or interested in 3DCG software modeling*
  • Ambitious applicants who want to contribute to top quality games

Experience with 3D CG software is preferred, but not required. We have an in-house curriculum for bringing promising employees with no prior 3D CG experience up to speed; inexperienced applicants will be considered.

Qualifications

Game industry experience is preferred, but not required for applicants with art skills conducive to game creation. PlatinumGames is an equal-opportunity employer and does not base hiring decisions on the race or citizenship of applicants.

Language Requirements:

For you to be your best at PlatinumGames, either Japanese or English is needed for communication with other members of our team.

APPLY

To apply, please prepare the documents and materials described below, and submit them either through our Online Application** or by postal mail.

**When preparing files to submit through the online application form, please ensure that your name is included in each filename. Please note that only PDF, JPG, PNG and GIF file types can be directly uploaded, and that there is a maximum size of 5 MB per file. If you need to upload files greater than 5 MB in size, or in formats other than those listed, please feel free to use external services such as Dropbox, firestorage, YouTube or Vimeo, or your own online portfolio. If you do so, please provide the URL where your materials are located with your application.

Required materials
  • Your resume, clearly specifying your desired position, and including your e-mail address and a recent photograph
  • Your curriculum vitae, describing your work experience and formatted at your discretion
  • Work samples (see below)
Please be aware that we will not be able to return submitted materials. Please submit copies of any essential documents.
Contents of applications are kept strictly confidential.
Work samples Please submit illustrations, drawings, photographs/video, etc. demonstrating your skills and artistic ability.
You may submit these works in any form and in any amount you feel appropriate to give us a complete sense of your abilities. No specific content is required. Please feel free to submit copies of copyable work.
Please include a document containing your own commentary on your work, as well as a description of any tools or software used in its creation. If the work in question was a group project, please clearly indicate which portions were created under your supervision.
We accept work examples on paper, or digitally on CD/DVD. Please select the medium you feel most suitable for your work. For example, hard copy printouts are typically best for illustrations, and DVDs are typically best for digital images or video.

Application period We are always accepting applications for this position unless otherwise noted. Please be aware that the availability of positions may change in accordance with our needs.
Address

Please address your application materials to:
PlatinumGames Inc. Attn: Hiring manager (web)
Tower West 8F, Umeda Sky Building
1-1-30 Oyodonaka, Kita-ku, Osaka
531-6108, Japan

Selection process

Applicants are initially screened based on the application materials outlined above.
All applicants will be notified of the results of this screening within ten business days after receipt of their application. (Please be aware that extenuating circumstances may delay this reply.) Applicants residing in Japan who pass this initial screening will proceed to in-person interviews at our offices in Osaka. Interviews for applicants residing outside of Japan may be conducted over Skype.