A black and white image of a man with closed-shaved hair and beard, wearing a stripy T-shirt, looking out to his left on a yacht

James graduated in 2010 and now works in computer graphics

  • 07 January 2020
  • 2.5 mins read

BA (Hons) Animation alumnus James Dowling is a computer graphics artist from Brighton and Hove.

Since graduating in 2010, he's worked in 3D producing airline motion graphics, children's book illustrations and architectural visualisation. Recently, he became a freelancer under the name Atmos Visuals and bagged himself the Autodesk's Artist of the Month award.

James shares what else he's been up to, and how studying at the University of Portsmouth helped plot his current career trajectory.

James' story

I heard good things about the BA (Hons) Animation course at the University. It had good equipment with large computer facilities, and I really enjoyed the good mix of traditional art and CGI. A lot of other courses at the time were either illustrative animation or just computer animation. Here, I could choose whatever animation style I wanted, and have the equipment and tutoring knowledge to do it.

I also really enjoyed the life drawing classes, which I had at college already, and I think it's a really important skill to hone to improve as an artist. We also had some great tutors that had a lot of industry experience, who were an inspiration and amazing to learn from.

The bonus of doing a course at the University is that you have a lot of time to experiment and find your style, and you're taught by industry professionals on correct workflows and techniques – something that's incredibly important and often neglected when you're teaching yourself with online tutorials.

James Dowling, BA (Hons) Animation alumnus

My Autodesk award was a great honour as I've been using their software for over 10 years now. I also won the CGMood Autumn Colours competition, which was really great. I'm planning on entering more competitions in the future as they're a fantastic way to improve your skills; since they're not client work, you usually have a lot of creative freedom.

On top of that, I gave a talk at the University of Brighton for the Architecture and Interior Architecture students last year about architectural visualisation and how they'll come across it in future careers. I think some of the students thought about becoming visualisers, so it was great talking in front of young motivated people and showing them the type of work they'd get to do.

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