In order to become a technical artist, one needs both artistic talents and technical prowess. Most people view art as a talent and technical knowledge as a skill to be learned, so many people recommend getting a degree in programming or game design for this position and honing artistic skills elsewhere. Experience with design programs is essential to getting a job, and one of the best ways to gain experience is to build a strong portfolio using programs that are currently used in the industry. This position is unique because it does not necessarily have any educational requirements if skills can be demonstrated through personal work.
The job of a technical artist is typically described as the midway point between the art department and the programming department in a game company. A professional of this type takes the concept created by the art department and translates those designs into a format the programming department can use. Additionally, a technical artist ensures that the artistic vision of the art department can be fully realized using the programming available at the time. In order to become a technical artist, one must have significant experience in art and programming, as well as the ability to communicate the needs of each side effectively.
Paths taken to become a technical artist depend highly on the individual, as people acquire these skills in many different ways. A degree in programming or a related field is typically considered an asset, but what many companies look for is experience performing this type of work. Technical artists must have very broad experience, as they can be expected to work on many different types of projects. Demonstrating talent through hard work and portfolio building can be a good way to get a job that will eventually lead to employment as a technical artist.
To become a technical artist, one must typically have several years of experience working in an art department or a relevant field. This means that one's first concern when trying to become a technical artist is getting hired in a job that will suffice as experience. Once appropriate experience has been demonstrated, making a clear display of one's talent and ability to adapt to design constraints is absolutely essential. Training is typically provided on the job, so an aptitude for learning new skills can be a major asset.
One problem that might be encountered when trying to become a technical artist is that technology in the gaming industry often changes rapidly. This means that staying on top of what is current and cutting edge can take some effort. When looking for a job in this industry, keeping one's resume and portfolio current is absolutely essential.