Darren is currently working at Electronic Arts as a Lead Rigging specialist. His name is credited on games such as: NHL 09 (Xbox 360/PS 3), Fight Night Round 4, Facebreaker, Tennis NG, Tennis Wii, and Fight Night champion.
1. How has teaching at Think Tank helped you professionally?
Teaching has helped me professionally with my presentations and public speaking. Teaching has taught me to engage an audience and keep presentations fresh. Because of teaching I can get an auditorium of 100 people laughing during a presentation. Teaching gave me that confidence.
2. Having worked in the CG industry for a substantial period of time, how have you adapted your teaching to reflect changes in the industry?
The main way I’ve adapted my teaching to reflect industry changes besides teaching the new technology and techniques (that’s a given) is to always keep the end user, department, or client in mind when creating your content. As I get more experience and more exposure in the industry I realized just how important that is to job security. When instructing a technique I remind the students to put yourself in the next department’s shoes, and if you were that department, would you be happy with the quality of work you’ve done. So you’ve created a beautiful sculpt, how’s the line flow of the topology? Would a rigger be able to use your mesh to rig up and send off to the animators? You’ve rigged up your model. Would the animator be able to use your rig to achieve his shot quota? This goes on and on. Keep end users, departments or clients in mind at all times. As a student, those are your peers.
3. What advice would you give potential students looking at attending a CG school?
I’ll tell you about my experience with attending a CG school. Count that as my advice. It was the best decision I ever made. The students I met there are some of my best friends today. I was put into a class of people that all shared the same interest, same hobbies, and same passion for entertainment that I had. In a passionate environment like that, creativity and motivation hit critical mass. Having peers in the same room as you to collaborate with is something unique to CG schools and I’m grateful for. As a teacher at think tank I get to see the same experience unfolding to the students that I experienced . Like minded people getting together, making friends, and being creative. Once graduating, you also have your first professional network! Which is the very important for finding jobs.