I am currently working on an unannounced mobile game at EA. Though my focus is technical art, day to day, tends to bring up a mix of game play prototyping, shader writing, asset preparation or vfx and tool scripting. Before this, I did art tool work, asset preparation, some vfx on Heroes of Dragon Age. And before that I was leading a team of artists and technical artists at the BioWare EA Redwood Shores (BEARS). Formerly called BioWare SF and before that EA2D from 2009-2011, making such games like Mirrors Edge 2D, Dragon Age: Jouneys and Dragon Age: Legends.
Technical Art. Not something easily defined as it encompasses many areas. Essientially a programmer artist. Make art and write support code. In film or CG studios its called Technical Director. Every studio and game team has different definitions for the role. As technical artist, I look ahead and try to make sure the game's content pipelines are coming into place or are established and working smoothly. Personally I like getting my hands into every corner of the game, making sure the team can add content and communication is happening (translate programmer speak to art and vice versa).
I'm a generalist in the video games industry. I have worn many hats and taken on a wide range of responsibilities.EARLY YEARS
My first introduction to computers was a Mac 512KB with MacPaint, later I picked up BASIC on the Apple //c+ when i was 6. From that I moved into HyperCard attempting to write games and make art for them at the age of 11. At this point I became interested in designing user interfaces and experiences for games and applications. Around 13, I wanted to code a 3D rasterizer, after making 3D models and rendering with RayDream Studio.WEB DEVELOPMENT. FRONT AND BACK END
During high school, I got an internship with a graphic design group to do IT type work. Fixing Mac issues and helping the team learn about web development, multimedia, while I learned about working in an office and graphic design. Building both front and back end of shopping cart systems for a book store gave me web design and simple server programming experience.GRAPHIC DESIGNER
For undergrad, my skills could take me into art or computer science. I dropped out of comp sci after 3 semesters. Found myself bored at the idea of learning computer foundamentals and started making art. I decided to take advantage of my graphic design internship and study it for real. For my graphic design BFA thesus, I built a short sit-down style arcade machine with a 3D game emphasizing player as performer.USER INTERFACE DESIGNER
In grad school I became familiar with the video game industry and finally interacted with people who shared the same passion. What I learned from large studios was that to get a job, I had to define myself solely as an artist or software engineer, not both. Though I had skills in animation, 2d and 3d, sculpture, video editing, web, programming, I presented myself as a UI/UX Designer since most of my graphic design experience was web or multimedia based. For 2 years after grad school, I worked at a very cool startup as a UX/UI Designer (happily coding + designing interface prototypes) and transitioned to building interactive marketing experiences.TECHNICAL ARTIST
It was at this point I decided to do a startup with some amazing friends from grad school. Sadly I couldn't join them fulltime. Thankfully, by sheer luck and some networking, I got a short gig at the then 5 person EA2D team as a UI Artist. This short gig turned into a full time Technical Artist position, where I continue to excersize both my engineering and art skills to this day.
I guess if there's a lesson in there: if you have an skills in more than one area, dont settle for one. More skills means = understanding, perspective, power, adaptability. Find places or situations where you can mix your various talents or create the opportunities for yourself.
What I love about video game development is that it takes a bunch of different skill sets and kinds of people to make them. Also the people are fun :P