To piggyback off Lush & Travis —a degree does not get you a job; what will need to be demonstrated in a portfolio are these variables
- Creative problem-solving
i also am very critical of tuition inflation in the US balanced against the resources of the school and how well they actually prepare students
Understanding 3D/animation pipeline helps you interface with char, environment, and anim team.
self-sufficient skillset requires foundation 3D modeling, 3D animation and material/shader concepts
Intermediate modeling and unwrapping in something like Blender is perfect; you can self learn these tools online and practice
overview of basic rigging and skinning
animation principles and abstraction need to be incorporated --you can study this online/books and a ton of training your eye studying reference to develop instincts for motion
foundation art is needed --nomenclature and theory / background : as simple additive (RGB) color system vs subtractive (RYB), color theory, composition, focus, balance, timing, rhythm… etc
agile thinking and initiative are what keep you relevant; You will be learning new tools, method, technique and pipeline constantly
all of the above is important as you begin to learn Unity: Shuriken, Mechanim|Animation Controller, basic UI toolset and methods(very company specific) Shader graph and VFX-Graph --all of these you want to learn as much as possible
traditional art skills like rendering, illustration, and drawing help but you won’t need this for a job. It improves your skillset for a more particular role where needed.
texture authoring can depend on your painting skills and this goes back to self-sufficiency. But many forms of VFX textures can be crafted without 2D painting skills
niche skills start with 3D games from year >2000 depending on the platforms you need to target in terms of ‘tricks’, shaders, hardware, and optimization methods, this stuff is tech-art savy. Likely this is never learned in an Art school unless it’s a trade-specific institute offering real-time 3D game art as a major
Advanced stuff is dynamics, simulation and Houdini incorporation with the above needs for the future on PC/Console (and eventually mobile)
design classes that focus on building a game and working in an engine,
What you will want to learn (on the job or in classes) is asset ingestion for deployment. Parameters with importing and aggregating pieces assembled into a game-ready RTVFX object. Each team and company can have drastically different setup and standards so you need to be familiar with learning them.
it is also important you can communicate between tech-art and understand the division of labor about what is your responsibility and where are your limits