We caught up with this year’s Search For A Star Character Art winner, Tristan McGuire from Solent University, to find out what it’s been like to win the challenge & what the win has since led to.
On winning Search For A Star
“My initial reaction as I was watching the stream was just, Wow! That’s me! That’s my artwork on the screen! My University tutor contacted me because he had been watching the stream live as well. Then I just get this message ping through, like, Oh, Congratulations! It was amazing to think other people are watching this too. It’s not just me in this isolated world, other people are seeing the winners and other people are being inspired by that. It felt good!”
What have you learned from taking part?
“The thing I’ve really learned is don’t be afraid to absolutely push yourself. I was just pushing [my technical and creative skills] to that next level. That can seem so intimidating but what I’ve learned is that that’s how you improve and that’s how you succeed.
You’ve got to push yourself and not be afraid of that. It’s definitely something to embrace and it’s a great rewarding feeling when you finish that piece that you never thought you’d be able to do.”
Search For A Star led to a job with Airship Images
“After I had my my Search for Star interview I then had another conversation with Joe from Airship Images. That was pretty amazing because that conversation led to a job interview for a Junior Character Artist Role, which is exactly what I wanted!
Airship was the exact studio I wanted to work at in terms of the type of stuff they work on, so that then led to getting the job. It was great that it went from just a conversation all the way through a job interview and a job.
It was perfect, and that’s all directly because of Search For A Star. That’s the important thing, like the amazing thing.”
Advice for students thinking of taking part in Search For A Star
“Definitely sign up. You have nothing to lose by signing up.
Don’t be intimidated by the brief. You might not have had a similar brief at university, so just read it through it and break it down. Look at the assessment criteria and think about how you’re going to implement that into your work. That doesn’t have to be boring – think of how you can incorporate [the criteria] and make it fun for yourself.
If you do take part and you’re at a point where you think you don’t have enough time to finish, just to make sure to hand in anything you have done. Maybe you’ve only done a sculpt and you think, “Oh, but the brief says it should be in a game engine”; remember there is no disqualification criteria. Yeah, you’re going to get top marks if it’s in-engine, but you’re still going to get really valuable industry feedback on just a sculpt.
Also, put that extra effort in at the start to really schedule everything. That might sound boring to some people, but it is really worth it. You will already know what your commitments are at university, you already know how many hours you need and when you deadlines are.
Once you know the Search For A Star deadline, just do a bit of scheduling and that should help prevent issues in the first place. Schedule your time in a way where you’re being honest with yourself in what you will be able to do.”
What’s Next for Tristan?
“Now that I’ve managed to secure a job, the next step for me really is this first leap into actually working in the industry. It’s not just about getting the job, it’s thinking about how much more there is to learn and how much I’m going to keep learning.
I’m really excited about that – being surrounded by industry professionals in the sense that now I’m one of them, and I’m going to grow to be the same level as them. That’s quite inspiring for me.”
Huge thanks to Tristan for speaking with us, and congratulations on your new role at Airship Images!
Search For A Star & d3t Rising Star are our annual gamedev challenges to help students create portfolio work to a professional brief, get industry feedback, and get noticed by games studios. You can learn more about the challenges here.
If you represent a games studio or university & would like to learn more about any of our activities, please contact Andy Driver at firstname.lastname@example.org