Interview With Joe Mirabello
Over the years my work flow has changed dramatically due to technical changes, software changes and changes in my own skill level. Normal maps were just coming into common usage when I was starting, so adapting to those was a task, but so was shifting from one 3d application to another. Likewise, simply gaining experience and being tasked with more elaborate projects forces a change of work flow. It's one thing to model and texture a prop a certain way. It's another to model and texture an entire scene to maximize texture and mesh reuse. It's still another to be responsible for the final presentation of an area in game.
To go into a little more detail, at my first job all I knew how to do was model and texture something with photo-based images, using poor attempts at dodge and burn to shade. I made a lot of weak art, and practice and experience improved my skills, but NOTHING improved my skills as much as improving my raw painting ability.
I had always been a decent at drawing, but I was petrified of color. I still am, really, but the work I've done with 38 has forced me to really get serious about improving my concept painting skills, which in turn has greatly improved the quality of my 3d work, my sense of lighting, my sense of composition and design---everything. There's always a lot to improve on, sure, but it's amazing how a little traditional experience can improve everything about your work
One thing I've always prided myself on is the speed at which I can pick up new technology. Because of that, I actually don't stay current at all. I tend to get timestamped on whatever software my job uses, and simply learn new things as required. Not being afraid to learn something new keeps me from being intimidated by new technologies.
There really is no typical day any more for me. Every day I'm doing something different, which is one of my favorite aspects of working at 38. One day I'll be doing concept art all day, the next I'll be working on in-game asset, the next I'll be troubleshooting some technical hurdle and the next I'll be in critiques and reviews. I'm in an interesting position where I'm flexible enough to do a variety of things. It certainly makes the weeks go by quick!