Bournemouth has continually produced graduates that have reached the very peak of the CG industry. I’m very proud to have had a successful time studying there and the opportunities that have followed."
For anyone seriously into gaming, BU graduate Jamie Wood might just have one of the most enviable jobs in the world.
Jamie works day-to-day for Playground Games, a UK-based computer game producing company, as a Lead Lighting Artist, turning his hand to some of the biggest games of the last few years.
Following a long-held ambition, Jamie came to BU to study his Master’s in 3D Computer Animation, graduating in 2008. He said, “I had been itching to get into 3D computer arts for a while, coming from a fine art background. BU gave me the opportunity to devote time to gaining the skills I needed - and I loved every minute. The passionate students and staff around me were the best bit.”
After graduating, Jamie’s first job in games was with EA in Guildford, a great place to put the degree into practice.
“Going straight to a global giant in video game production taught me a great deal about how games are made and I met some incredible professionals that helped me progress my career," he said.
After a couple of years, he moved on to work at Natural Motion in Oxford, gaining another perspective in game production - this time on mobile platforms.
Jamie said: “I worked my way up to Lead Artist and had the opportunity to work on some incredible projects. Lighting has always been a key interest of mine, and I decided to join Playground Games in 2014, where I now work as the Lead Lighting Artist too.”
Since joining Playground Games, Jamie has worked on titles such as Forza Horizon 2, The Forza Horizon 2 Storm Island DLC, Forza Horizon 3, The Forza Horizon 3 Blizzard Mountain DLC and the Hot Wheels Expansion to Forza Horizon 3.
Jamie’s drive comes from his love of games too, his career is the perfect blend of skill and interest.
“I’ve always been a gamer,” said Jamie, “and I can’t think of anything better to do as a profession. When we have game releases, announcements at game shows, media coverage, positive reaction to our games, it is a wonderful payoff to all the hard work.”
As the Lead Lighting Artist on Forza Horizon 3, Jamie was involved in developing some ground-breaking new technology to represent the in-game skies.
He explained: “We worked on location in Australia, where the game is set, to capture 24-hour, High Dynamic Range, High Resolution, Time-lapse skies that we then projected into our game to bring the real world lighting to our digital version of Australia. The results were something truly special and I’m incredibly proud of being a part of making that game. I even gave a lecture about the technique at this year’s Game Developers Conference in San Francisco.”
Jamie was keen to point out how BU had helped him in his career progression: “At BU, I learned how to work hard and how rewarding that can be. The practical knowledge and experience of the tutors was very valuable, but the contagious attitude of striving for excellence is the thing that has stuck with me.
“Bournemouth has continually produced graduates that have reached the very peak of the CG industry. I’m very proud to have had a successful time studying there and the opportunities that have followed.”
For those who think a career in games might be calling, Jamie was happy to offer his advice on how to get a foot in the industry.
“Apply yourself and make the most of your time at university," he said.
"Stand out from the crowd by preparing for the real world, make sure you have the most ‘bad-ass’ portfolio as a demonstration of your skills that you can by the time you leave.”