3d environment artist vertex school game art program

Lena’s Term II Project

Do you dream of a career as a 3D Environment Artist at an AAA studio? In this blog post, Vertex School alum Lena Piech shares her Game Art Program experience and how she went from a job in customer service to being a 3D Environment Artist at an Xbox studio!


Hi, I’m Lena, I was in a 2021-2022 cohort of the Game Art Program with a focus on environment art. I’d recommend Vertex to anyone serious about a real career in the game or film industry.

Experience Before Vertex

When I enrolled I knew nothing about the industry (I wouldn’t have even considered myself a gamer or anything like that. I literally knew nothing. The Witcher is possibly the only game I had played from start to finish).

Getting a Job as a 3D Environment Artist

I got a job as a 3D Environment Artist at one of the Xbox studios sometime after Term II of the program. I never got to finish Term III because I didn’t need to since I had already gotten a job. After Term II I left the program and started my new job!

3d environment artist vertex school game art program

Thoughts on the Game Art Program

The program is very well structured and is designed to provide you with what’s needed to secure your first job in games. You aren’t there to learn it all – you’re there to learn enough to get your foot in the door. That’s why it’s considerably short in comparison to University.

It took me about 6-7 months to go from a job in customer service that I hated to a job at an AAA studio that I love. I’ve gotten to talk with people that went the University route or to private schools (many charge about $40k a year mind you, in comparison to a mere $9k…), and taking into account the quality and price of different routes available out there – I’d say Vertex is the smartest choice one can make right now.

3d environment artist vertex school game art program

Mentors and Teaching Assistants

I loved working with my mentor and with teaching assistants – they’re all crazy passionate not only about game art in general but about teaching and passing on all that great knowledge. Very often classes would last a bit longer than planned because the person presenting was just super excited about the subject. Teaching assistants and mentors are also always easily approachable and their support is not limited to scheduled meetings and classes.

Final Program Thoughts

There are a lot of ‘labs’ which are frequent meetings with mentors where anyone can drop in and discuss whatever they’d like in regards to their work/assignments. And the admissions person at Vertex is the best human on the planet, possibly in the whole universe. He is super considerate. I could talk with him about any payment arrangements and it was clear that my being able to focus on my studies was a priority.

That being said the program isn’t magic – just enrolling won’t do it. If you decide to go through with the program you have to put effort and time in and be prepared to work hard. Vertex gives you great quality tools and knowledge, how students use it to the best of their potential is on them. Some will excel, and some will get lost, that’s just life.

3d environment artist vertex school game art program

I’ll add that the industry is harsh on those who dream of getting in but don’t know how things inside work. Vertex does a great job at explaining exactly that and it’s eye-opening at times.

All in all, Vertex has got a special place in my heart. They literally changed my life.

I’d be happy to chat about the school and the program if anyone has questions. You can shoot me a message on Discord, my nametag is PaniKa#5073.

Interested in becoming a 3D Environment Artist or a Character Artist? Learn more about the 9-month Game Art Program now!