The 22-year-old Toronto native’s journey from doodling cartoons as a kid to becoming a professional concept artist for Montreal-based Behaviour Interactive began, he said, when he decided to drop out of a Graphic Design program at an art school in Calgary and enrol in TFS’s Online Video Game Animation Diploma.
“I’ve always been someone who’s been more interested in flexibility. I don’t like to sit for eight hours a day – that’s why I left university,” he said of his choice to pursue his dreams at TFS.
“There were a lot of programs that interested me in game design, but I thought that the whole general approach offered by TFS, where they teach you a little bit of everything, was a good thing – and as it turns out, it is,” he added, noting that he was offered a job at Behaviour Interactive in January, just a year or so into the TFS program.
“There was nothing else in Canada that I could find that offers the same kind of class curriculum online (that Toronto Film School does).”
The Online Video Game Animation Diploma at TFS sees students explore the entire 2D and 3D game production process from concept through to development, with guidance from a faculty of active creators with games such as Red Dead Redemption 2, GTA 5, and Max Payne 3 to their credit.
It also provides working adults like Rudichuk the flexibility, interactivity and convenience of studying through part-time program offerings, while also preparing them with the professional skills to become an animator in the rapidly evolving gaming industry.
“The fact that Toronto Film School is teaching a lot of different technologies and different programs, it’s really awesome. It’s all very practical knowledge that comes into play in my day-to-day schedule,” Rudichuk said, crediting TFS for teaching him how to use Unreal Engine, a suite of integrated tools for game developers to design and build games, simulations, and visualizations.
“If anybody wants to get into the industry…knowing more softwares and knowing how the pipeline works and understanding a little bit of the practical needs of other people working on the team, is a really big help. It influences how you design and how you work, and definitely influences how you see their work – it benefits the team.”
At Behaviour Interactive, Rudichuk’s new team is one that consists of nearly 500 coworkers who, together, have sold more than 70 million games on every platform – including 10 million copies of its award-winning original IP, Dead by Daylight.
Recognized with a Best Place to Work in Canada Award in 2018 by gamesindustry.biz, Rudichuk credits Behaviour Interactive for helping fuel his “obsession” for envisioning and creating whole new worlds as a video game concept artist.
“You have to be obsessed with it; if you’re not obsessed with it, you’re never going to get into the game industry,” said Rudichuk, who’s currently finishing up his final semester at TFS, while also juggling his full-time duties at Behaviour Interactive.
“Every other artist I know that’s in the industry is obsessed with this stuff, so they just spend as much time as they can working. It’s awesome once you get in and it’s really fun, but it’s also a lot of work.”
For Rudichuk, the work ethic required to successfully balance his duties at Behaviour Interactive with his schoolwork, personal portfolio, and freelance work on the side, means putting in 10- to 16-hours a day, every day, seven days a week.
“I work at Behaviour for seven-and-a-half to eight hours a day, go home, and immediately turn on my tablet and start working on school or freelance stuff or some of my own work until probably 10 or 11 p.m.,” he said of his typical workday, noting that he rarely takes weekends off.
“It’s something that I love doing, though. I’m never upset about working. I just love doing it so much that I’m having a blast while I’m doodling away – it’s great.”
While Rudichuk said he can’t divulge any of the specific projects he’s been working on for Behaviour Interactive, his focus has been on “world-building environment concepts.”
“A lot of what makes a game wonderful isn’t the characters…To me, the atmosphere around the character is more interesting. There’s more you can do with it,” he said.
“A when you work for someone like Behaviour – a cool game company that lets you have a bit of autonomy – you can really put some creative stuff into your designs.”
It also doesn’t hurt, he said, that’s he’s getting paid to pursue his passion: “Anytime you put yourself out there creatively and get paid for it, it’s a really awesome feeling,” he said, noting that he takes pride in debunking the “myth of the starving artist.”
“I’m loving it. The game industry is awesome and it’s full of really awesome, passionate people. It’s not without its faults, but it’s a really, really cool industry to be a part of – and I’m a lucky person to have this opportunity.”