Alumni Stories

Mikal Carter

Game Art & Design

Outsource Reviewer and Associate Environment Artist, Insomniac Games
The Art Institute of California—Orange County, a campus of Argosy University

Ai Orange County alumni

I always reminded myself that not only am I competing for my dream job with my classmates, but I am also competing with other professionals. You have to get to that level and slowing down doesn’t get you there. Mikal Carter , Outsource Reviewer and Associate Environment Artist, Insomniac Games Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design, 2017 , The Art Institute of California—Orange County, a campus of Argosy University

Models, Textures, Enhances Game Quality

Mikal Carter is an outsource reviewer and associate environment artist for Insomniac Games. He’s responsible for modeling, texturing, feedback, and enhancing game quality. He says that a typical day involves fixing mistakes and creating and texturing game models. Mikal is also a veteran of the United States Marine Corps. He worked as an administrative specialist, earning the rank of Corporal during his four years of service.

The demands of the gaming industry keep Mikal on his toes. “I had to learn a whole new game engine that I was not familiar with at all,” he says. “The way I overcame it was by asking questions and communicating with the team during my first couple of weeks. I took a lot of notes and learned as many shortcuts as I could. Everyone was impressed by how fast I was able to pick things up and it also helped that I was familiar with Unreal Engine and there were some similarities.”

Mikal enjoys working in a creative environment, alongside talented and artistic people. “We like to bounce creative ideas off of each other and giving feedback is great. I like to think that my positive and optimistic attitude makes me approachable.” He explains that working well within a team helps to overcome challenges. “We are trying to make a great looking game but not kill it because of optimization. We tend to put a lot in a game only to find that the frame rate drops or there are assets taking up too much memory and we have to troubleshoot on how to reduce it. I’m building my technical side with computers and their current capabilities to better understand how to make a great game but also to give the player the best experience.”

He advises current students to push through tough times and to think of challenges as fun learning experiences. “If you’re not enjoying what you’re doing, you’ll find yourself complaining than you’re in the wrong line of work. I always reminded myself that not only am I competing for my dream job with my classmates but I am also competing with other professionals. You have to get to that level and slowing down doesn’t get you there.”

Mikal, who in 2017 earned a Bachelor of Science in Game Art & Design from The Art Institute of California—Orange County, says that his education provided an understanding of 3D modeling that helped to define what he wanted to do within the industry. “It helped me to understand various roles in the industry such as rigging, animation, and programming. I communicate mostly with the animation department and the technical departments and it’s good that I know what they may need.”

He’s already achieved professional goals, including modeling and texturing a weapon skin for an Overwatch character name Zarya. “I uploaded it to my portfolio and DeviantArt. Within a week it had received 36,000 views and a lot of positive critiques.” He also posts his work on ArtStation and Instagram “I was getting a lot of recognition and positive feedback from people. It took me about two years of hard studying and practicing to get that far, but it was well worth it.”