Our next stop in the Day in the Life series is one of our finest technical artists and VFX specialists, Marc Segura! As a veteran of the industry, with a keen eye for detail and quality, Marc took up the mantle of Head of Technical Art & VFX Art teams. Dive into a day in the life of Marc as we look into what his responsibilities are, the intricacies of technical art and VFX art, and what he feels takes good art to great!
As the head of the tech art & VFX art teams, Marc’s main duties lie in managing, guiding, and leading the teams across the variety of projects on their schedules. From AAA games on all consoles and platforms, including web and VR, to smaller indie titles utilizing our services. Many of these are developed in parallel across platforms as well.
Marc also helps to develop a collaborative culture to keep the collected teams motivated and enthusiastic as they approach their work. Technical Art and VFX Art are two industries that require a lot of future planning, so Marc also spends a lot of his time spearheading the R&D efforts for new technologies and workflows.
Meetings fill chunks of every day, where we define roadmaps, workflows, guidelines, and establish long term project visions for viability. In these and between them, Marc is also directing and assisting with solving critical issues that typically arise at some point in every project. Providing solutions and fixes are his forte.
Marc also typically finds himself working with the BizDev team when they require technical expertize. This is usually when clients require insight in identifying the best decision for them to ensure their project achieves its goals. Marc will also spent time directly with his team providing support and mentorship as they take on their own technical art & VFX art tasks as well as providing feedback on new drafts, offering guidance on complex tasks involving shaders or materials, and more.
According to Marc, at its core, technical art is about creative problem solving between art and development. In video game projects, this is a combination of tackling asset integration and optimization, rigging, shader and material development, graphical performance optimizations, working with new tools for artists, and more.
When discussing VFX for video games, Marc says it is often referred to as “real-time VFX”. This is the process of using a set of tools and techniques to generate different kinds of visual effects for games. These can include special effects, animations, and simulations (i.e., smoke, water, fire etc.). These enhance a project at a visual level making things more interesting to view but they also serve to communicate gameplay elements to players.
For Marc, each speciality has its balances and requirements.
Due to the combination of development and art, tech artists can truly make a difference in a game’s performance. Finding a good balance between art and technology can mean a smoother and more enjoyable player experience. Great technical art can also help improve the workflow between artist and developer. Optimization like that means reducing production time, and therefore costs, in the art pipeline.
VFX Art or Real-Time VFX
This is a very visual artform, its main goal is to draw the eye and improve moments through breathtaking visuals and mesmerizing effects. Particle systems and post-processing techniques can enhance the look and feel of a game. But great real-time VFX will also communicate to players, express not just feelings and emotions, but gameplay elements or story implications. Storytelling through real-time VFX and visuals can be a hugely impactful.
At Magic Media, we specialize in top-tier Real-Time VFX services for immersive gaming. Our dedicated team harnesses their extensive experience to deliver high-impact visuals, pushing your video game to pinnacle levels of visual appeal and immersive gameplay.
As Head of Tech Art & VFX Art, Marc is used to approaching a wide range of challenges for an array of different projects. He says it’s important to scale the challenges and approach the critical issues first. Responding quickly and efficiently to critical situations, such as issues with chosen engine or render pipeline, or optimization techniques not meeting their expectations.
Marc impresses upon the importance of assessing client needs as soon as possible and choosing suitable tools and solutions. Adaptability is also key, meaning the team remains flexible in the face of any art style. As the Head, a lot of Marc’s challenges revolve around leading the team forward on the ground with innovative solutions.
For client expectations, this is such a tough thing to face. We addressed above that understanding their needs and offering a realistic pipeline is a good start but in the world of art, it’s tricky. Teams are always working to deliver the best quality artworks but these take time and compromises must be made for timelines.
Pushing for the best result is always the goal but Marc says it’s important to never push into harmful behavior. Experienced artists often have a better grasp on the balance of pushing oneself for quality versus the speed of delivery. Balance, Marc says, is absolutely key. And as Head of the department, it’s one of his responsibilities to ensure artists keep that balance and meet the expectations of the client without causing themselves any issues.
Marc says he’s proud of Magic Media for the multicultural, international talented team it has built. And talented not just in their tech/hard skills but in the soft skills as well. He says “our people are pro-actively motivated. Trying to share knowledge, to help each other, to bring a common vision together from multiple perspectives, experiences, and backgrounds.” We couldn’t have said it better ourselves.
At Magic Media, we’re veterans of the gaming, entertainment, and tech industries and provide dozens of expert services to bring your projects to life. Guilherme and the team provide full art services for gaming projects no matter their size and scope. Additionally, we offer full-cycle development, real-time VFX, and much more. Get in contact with Magic Media today, and let’s create magic!