The path to my career choice began in my junior year of high school. However I do have to mention that my basic goal of working on computer graphics began at a young age.
I remember at the end of elementary school I was being asked what I wanted to do with my life and I started to reply with the answer, computer animator. Now back then I had no idea what that actually meant and I was using the phrase as a general term for someone who worked on CG. The idea itself spawned from my long appreciation of CG shows and films but at the time I didn't know that video games were also using the same technology either, which I would discover later.
Fast forward a bit to sophomore and senior year in high school. My interest in CG eventually lead me to sign up for a Computer Animation Design class as my elective. Here I was introduced to Autodesk 3ds Max for the very first time and I instantly became in love with the software. It was my favorite class of all time and I always looked forward to attending it. I mostly learned how to model and became familiar with the interface while I was taking the class. During this time I learned that video games were also being made using the same type of technology that I was studying. So I started to think that maybe I could possibly pursue a career out of this. I've always enjoyed playing video games more than anything else and now I had an idea of how someone could end up working on them as a living. However, I still didn't know what I would be doing specifically.
Eventually I enrolled at the Art Institute of California - Orange County within the visual game programming course because math was always one of my best subjects in throughout school. In the beginning I was introduced to many types of fields I could go into for video game production: 3D artist, programming, animation, concept artist, etc. I didn't know which path to take until I took my first character rigging class in my second year at the school. I realized that I was doing pretty well while the majority of the class was struggling and I found it really fascinating learning what went on under the hood of animation.
The very exact moment I knew that I was going to become a character rigger was when I had finally binded the mesh to my skeleton. My mind was completely blown inside out watching the mesh deform to the rotation of my joints. I can only describe this moment as pure awe and curiosity. Everything was starting to come together in my head:
- I loved video games
- I wanted to work on CG
- Rigging was going to be my specialty
I had finally found my niche in the game industry, my one true passion to chase after was clear. At this point, like a racehorse in the stall after the starting gun had been fired, I dashed toward my goal and studied insatiably the art of character rigging.
I can honestly say with no regrets that I am happy and proud of myself for choosing to become a 3D character rigger in the video game industry. I can not see myself doing or wanting to do anything else with my life because I am determined, committed, and passionate to my dream.