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Career path interview with Dan Roarty

By 3dtotal staff

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Date Added: 10th January 2014

Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix principal artist, Dan Roarty shares his career path with us, revealing his early training and inspirations.


3dtotal: Who are you and what do you do for a job?

Dan: Hi there! My name is Dan Roarty and I am a lead character artist at Crystal Dynamics / Square Enix working on the next Tomb Raider game.

Some of Dan's drawings at age 7

3dtotal: What training have you had (if any)?

Dan: I attended the Center for Digital Imaging and Sound in Vancouver, Canada. The school later became the Art Institute. I studied everything from 3D art, to film and 2D hand animation.

An early image by a 16-year-old Dan

3dtotal: Are there any particular schools or courses that you'd recommend?

Dan: Any school or training that will teach you the fundamentals of art and art history are great. As a 3D artist of course it's important to get training in specific 3D software but learning anatomy, color theory, composition and other fundamentals are really crucial. As an artist you should always keep learning! If your plans are to eventually move and work abroad, having a degree can help with work visas in other countries.

Another cool image by Dan

3dtotal: What was your first job in the industry and how did you get it?

Dan: My first job in the industry was with MTV directing a small animated short featuring my characters and story for my demo reel. MTV came to our college and saw my demo reel and asked if I was interested in a contract. It featured my character 'Guzz' being interviewed in 3D by the host of MTV Select. Shortly after that I took my first full-time job working as a character artist at a start-up studio called Boogieman Studios, where I worked on Spy Hunter 3 in Vancouver. I was able to find out about the start-up studio from a past teacher who let me know about it and encouraged me to apply. I had to do a small test and passed!

A creepy creature concept

3dtotal: What can people expect from working in the industry?

Dan: To start, don't be discouraged if it takes a little time to break in. It's a tough and competitive industry but if you are passionate, work hard, and really love what you do, then nothing can stop you! You have to be extremely passionate about what you're doing and always keep learning. The hours can be tough and long at times I'm afraid. In the industry you're always surrounded by extremely talented individuals and getting to work beside some of them who use to inspire you as a student is pretty amazing. There are tons of great perks to working in the industry, especially if you manage to work on a fantastic studio on fantastic projects. It's very rewarding.

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