In this feature of our “Day in the Life” series, we are delving into the world of Lucas Alejandro Müller, a talented technical artist who specializes in Unreal Engine. As a technical artist, Lucas’ work is critical to the success of any gaming project. His work is essential for creating immersive and engaging gaming experiences that keep players coming back for more.
What is a Technical Artist?
A technical artist is a specialist who bridges the gap between the art and programming departments of a game development studio. They are responsible for creating tools and workflows that improve the efficiency and quality of the art production pipeline. To guarantee seamless integration and proper functionality of game assets, they collaborate closely with the art and programming teams.
Day to Day
Lucas starts his day with a cup of coffee and a quick check of the latest news from the different slack channels before diving into his tasks for the day. As a technical artist, his daily responsibilities vary depending on the project’s current stage. Currently, his project is in the pre-production stage, so his responsibilities include analyzing the Minimum Viable Product (MVP) and its goals to develop a fitting workflow that allows the team to work without any troubles during the production stage. Some of his key daily tasks include:
- Initial project setup
- Investigating possible tool implementations to help make the team’s work easy
- R&D of the potential technologies that would be needed to make the MVP
- Documenting the results to have a source of truth for the rest of the team to consult
- Benchmarking the project to see how it is performing and optimize it according to the platform
Lucas’ projects are exclusively in gaming, with the platform varying from PC, Console, Mobile, VR, AR, and even multi-platform ones too. The demands are usually balanced, making for a varied and challenging workday.
Approach to Different Types of Art
Lucas doesn’t necessarily create art himself but rather integrates the work of other artists into the game engine. His job is to ensure that the assets created by the artists are correctly implemented into the game engine and that they function correctly in-game. With that in mind, his approach depends on the task assigned to him, whether it’s integrating an asset into the engine or adding the final touches like special materials or visual effects. By taking a look at the concept, he decides how to get the in-game asset to look as close to its concept as possible.
Since Lucas’ role tends to be general, he needs to know a wide variety of software that can cover the different project’s needs. He specializes in Unreal, but outside the engine, he uses software like Maya, Substance Designer, Substance Painter, Houdini, ZBrush, Photoshop, Rizom UVs, Blender, Marmoset, among others.
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