Video Game Artist - What They Do

Graphic arts technicians assist in conceptualizing a project, interpreting design specifications or sketches, preparing the page make-up, lay-out and lettering, and preparing production materials for press, electronic or multimedia publishing. They are employed by publishing, communications, advertising, marketing, printing and multimedia establishments, and by television and film production companies. They may also be self-employed.

Job duties

This group performs some or all of the following duties:

  • Review the graphic designer's instructions
  • Produce or assist in developing and producing design concepts
  • Capture elements such as titles, text, drawings, illustrations, graphics, lettering and colour harmonization, using a computer
  • Produce computerized images and drawings
  • Digitize images using peripherals and transform them using retouching systems, graphic palettes or specialized software
  • Perform the layout, page make-up and placement using the conceptual mock-ups provided
  • Produce proofs and camera-ready materials and prepare film and any other prepress materials
  • Paint or ink individual cells of 2-D or 3-D animated drawings according to animator's specifications using an electronic palette
  • Lay out, draw or paint letters, figures, logos and designs for windows, advertisements, billboards, vehicles, books and publications using specialized software or painting equipment
  • Work in an interdisciplinary environment.

Job titles

  • animation painter
  • graphics technician
  • animated cartoon technician
  • computer graphics technician
  • multimedia graphic design technician
Employment Requirements

This is what you typically need for the job:

  • A college diploma in commercial or graphic arts, computer graphics or animated design is required.
  • Experience or training in multimedia design at a post-secondary, college or technical institution may be required.
  • Creative ability and artistic talent, as demonstrated by a portfolio of work, are required.

Essential Skills


  • Read specialty magazines dealing with lighting, graphics and industrial design to find new ideas. (2)
  • Read equipment-test reports when researching costs. (2)
  • Read memos from colleagues. (2)
  • Read installation, maintenance and operation manuals to find information on properties of materials. (3)
  • Read specifications to identify customers' needs. (3)
  • Read municipal by-laws to comply with requirements. (4)
  • May read maintenance contracts for electronic equipment to consider legal consequences. (4)

Document use

  • Read measuring devices. (2)
  • Read road maps to locate the site. (2)
  • Read production schedules to monitor production. (2)
  • Complete forms required by customers to document site-inspection information. (2)
  • Interpret blueprints to obtain preliminary data for the site survey. (3)
  • Interpret drawings in plans to understand the details of parts, electrical wiring, mechanical fasteners, welding points, etc. (3)


  • Write notes in the margin of plans to provide detailed information on materials. (1)
  • Write orders for materials. (1)
  • Write descriptions to explain drawings. (2)
  • Write letters to customers and suppliers. (3)
  • Edit specifications to make them understandable for customers. (3)
  • Complete detailed applications for sign-erection permits. (4)
  • Write specifications to describe signs being proposed to customers. The content must be well-structured, formulated clearly and free of spelling errors. (4)
  • Write technical briefs and reports. (4)


Money Math

  • May receive payments from customers. (1)
  • May prepare invoices, including calculation of taxes. (2)

Scheduling, Budgeting & Accounting Math

  • May perform routine bookkeeping operations such as balancing accounts. (2)
  • Evaluate when to spend money in the short-term to save on long-term maintenance costs. (2)
  • Plan project schedules and budgets. (4)

Measurement and Calculation Math

  • Take and record measurements when conducting site surveys. (1)
  • Convert data from metric to imperial measurements systems and vice versa. (2)
  • Use trigonometry to calculate diagonal measurements. (4)
  • Use mathematical modelling in research and in designing technical drawings. (5)

Data Analysis Math

  • Calculate an average across a set of test results and draw a conclusion by applying principles of statistical analysis. (3)

Numerical Estimation

  • Make estimates when developing budgets and schedules, estimating such factors as the cost of supplies, the time required to complete each task and the time for installation. (3)

Oral communication

  • Speak with colleagues and resource people to obtain project information. (1)
  • Interact with supervisors to report on work progress. (1)
  • Speak with suppliers to determine the availability of materials. (1)
  • Interact with designers, including participation in discussion groups to brainstorm ideas. (2)
  • Interact with customers to analyse their requirements, establish objectives and negotiate agreements. (3)
  • May make presentations to small groups, such as representatives of a potential client company. (3)
  • May, on occasion, make presentations to larger groups, such as to municipal councils. (3)
  • May lead formal discussions or chair meetings among project stakeholders. (4)


Problem Solving

  • Suspect that a customer was confused about terminology when speaking with the salesperson and really had a fluorescent sign in mind when they ordered a more expensive neon sign. They re-contact the customer and verify the requirements. (2)
  • May encounter feasibility problems after the customer has approved the budget for the project. To manufacture the sign within budget, they devise cost-saving production methods. (3)
  • May find that management has decided to suspend a project and reassign them to another more urgent job. They co-ordinate with co-workers in sales and production to adjust the schedule with the minimum amount of disruption to all parties. (3)

Decision Making

  • Make decisions about design options and whether the customer is likely to be satisfied with a proposed design and price. (2)
  • Make quick and accurate decisions about sign-production methods and materials. (2)
  • Decide upon the most appropriate materials giving consideration to the specifications, the cost estimate accepted and the quality of the final product. (3)
  • Make decisions about purchasing supplies when not all of the product information is available. They consider comparable decisions made in the past and draw on their experience and judgment. (3)

Critical Thinking

Critical Thinking information was not collected for this profile.

Job Task Planning and Organizing

Sign pre-production technicians have variety in their work activities but within recurring routines. For some duties, such as meeting customers and making sketches, the order of their tasks is laid out in advance. Their work plan is frequently disrupted and must be revised in response to changes in production schedules and budgets. Sign pre-production technicians order their tasks for greater efficiency. Their work priorities are managed in conjunction with management and colleagues in sales and production. Extensive integration with the work of others (e.g., suppliers, estimators) is required. (3)

Significant Use of Memory

  • Recall information about materials (e.g., 64/1000 aluminum weighs 0.906 pounds per sq.ft.) to save the time that would otherwise be required to consult a reference book.
  • Recall municipal and provincial regulations through memorization and repetition.
  • Recall the names, faces and voices of customers and their individual preferences.
  • Recall challenging design problems experienced in the past and apply this information to current projects.

Finding Information

  • Consult suppliers when preparing a procedure for manufacturing a special design. (2)
  • Consult their production manager on questions of feasibility. (2)
  • May research municipal by-laws and regulations. (3)
  • Obtain and synthesize information from various sources, such as government directories or manufacturers' directories (e.g., Thomas, Scotts, etc.). (3)

Digital technology

  • They write letters, technical briefs and reports. (2)
  • They prepare invoices using programs such as ACCPAC and Business Vision. (2)
  • They access the Internet and use electronic mail. (2)
  • Use computer-controlled machinery or equipment to varying degrees, depending on their company's use of technology. (2)
  • They design graphics using programs such as Sign Lab, Corel Draw and Photoshop. (3)
  • They prepare budgets and schedules. (3)
  • May use design software such as AutoCAD to lay out signs. (3)

Other Essential Skills:

Working with Others

Sign pre-production technicians: may work alone on simple projects, co-ordinate their work with the work of others, work jointly with a partner and/or work as a member of a team on complex projects.

Sign pre-production technicians may meet with management to present new product designs to them.

They may also participate in meetings with the production manager and production staff as well as other department heads.

Continuous Learning

There is a requirement for ongoing learning while working as a sign pre-production technician. They maintain and upgrade their skills (e.g., their computer software skills) and their knowledge of new products.