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In industrial design and video games, what are the skills that can be easily applied to both industries and the skills that are specific to each other?

I'm currently studying in industrial design at university and I enjoy getting my ideas to become a reality. I went into this program not knowing much besides that it involved drawings and model making which I love. However, during the years, our classes have had the chance to meet some professional industrial designers, but also some industrial designers that have switched to the video game industry, and this has made me curious about how they proceeded to change career paths and also if they ever had difficulties in adapting to the other industry. I am aware that there are uses of sketches and 3D renderings in both industries (such as concept artist in video games which I'm very interested in!). Video games have always interested and excited me, but I still plan to finish my studies in industrial design. What troubles me is whether I should later study in video game design or is that not necessary in order to work in that industry. #career-paths #design #video-games #3d-modeling #industrial-design #sketching

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Blaire’s Answer

You are right that both 3d modeling and concept art are used in industrial design and video game design. Concept art is by far the most transferable skill though. If you can concept something in enough detail to be useful to industrial design, you can do the same in video games. The way we model somewhat different however, and if you wanted to go in to 3d art for games you will need to learn about Maya or 3ds Max, UV layout, and real-time PBR materials. This said, I would not recommend pursuing a separate degree in video game design once you finish with industrial design. By all means, if you can slip in an elective or two to get a handle on Maya do so, but the video game industry is very much merit based. Prove with your portfolio that you're capable of doing good work and game companies will consider hiring you, you don't need a slip of paper to tell them that.


Now, if you were interested in actually going in to video game design and not art (planning game mechanics, levels, challenges and the like) I can't really say there are many transferable skills. If you have the means to get multiple degrees and that's what you want to do, then that's fine. If you're trying to hit two birds with one stone here though, then I'd say to stick with the art.

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Matt’s Answer

Hi Estelle,

Benjamin knows game industry more than I do. I will advice you from an industrial designer perspective.

What's similar between the two is visualization at different stages of the design process. What's really different, is the final outcome. In addition to be able to visualize your idea, to be a good industrial designer, you will need to be a good researcher to understand what user problem you are solving for. You will also need to understand what materials and manufacturing process for the product you are designing to be able to hit targeted cost and selling price. You will need to be a good storyteller and salesman to persuade executives to proceed with your design. There are many other skills and knowledge you will need to learn on your job to be successful. ( I am sure there are a lot other things you need to learn to be a game designer).

Another field you might want to consider is 3D animation for film, advertising, etc. check out this video https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=0Nqq4B-gLGU

Good luck!
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