For this edition of Inside the Vault, meet artist, Josh Jones. He is the Lead Character Artist on Fallout 3. Josh is also our resident motion capture specialist — he also spends much of his time fine tuning our animation system.
What’s your job at Bethesda?
Lead Character Artist. I split my time between meetings and animation work. I also work a great deal with character rigging and other technical aspects of character art production.
What other games have you worked on?
10th Planet, Redguard, Morrowind, Bloodmoon, and Oblivion. Bloodmoon was the first game I worked on from start to finish; I only made modest contributions towards the previous titles.
What is the best part about being an artist? The worst part?
The best part? I get paid to be creative. The worst part? It’s hard to appreciate your work when you’re painfully aware of its flaws and inadequacies that 99% of people will never notice. We artists are always striving for perfection, but the reality of schedules means that we never get to put as much love and attention to detail as we would like.
How did you get into the industry? Do you have any tips for breaking in?
I sent my animation reel and resume around to tons of companies before finally accepting a job at Media Technology Ltd., the former parent company of Bethesda Softworks. My first position was in a sister division of Bethesda working on cinematics for 10th Planet and Redguard among other things. This was back in 1997 when my computer animation experience was limited to Alias PowerAnimator and 3d Studio DOS.
My tips for breaking into the industry: be persistent and patient. Constantly work on your artwork and refine your skills. Seek out internships. Going to a school with a strong program in digital art will help considerably, but a degree means nothing if you don’t have the talent and skill set to back it up. Make sure your portfolio and animation reel is polished. Have a website to display your work. Make sure the website is easy to navigate and professional looking.
What is it like working here?
Very busy. There is always some sort of problem that needs solving, but that’s what keeps this job fresh and interesting.
Ever play the Fallout games?
What is your favorite type of game to play?
I enjoy a wide range of games from shooters to RPGs to sandbox games like The Sims.
What is your favorite game from the past year?
Hmmm. I’ve mostly been catching up on games that have been out for awhile. Of the ones I’ve played recently, Half-Life 2 stands out as being the most fun.
What games are you looking forward to?
Aside from Fallout 3? Team Fortress 2, Spore, and Mass Effect to name a few.
What are your hobbies and interests?
I don’t have too much time for hobbies right now. My two daughters see to that! But I do enjoy following politics, reading non-fiction and fiction, and of course playing games when I get the chance.