I'm going to research a little into becoming an environment artist and what I need to know to be successful in the role, and, basically, get a job.
Good advice on becoming an environment artist.
A lot of the advice from industry professional environment artists is to just keep going at it, practice more and more until you can do everything. Although some points I never thought about was learning about architecture as a whole, not to the standard of someone who has done an architecture degree, but know enough to know how certain building, such as the Notre Dame, were built. This gives the motivation to start photographing interesting building, and building I see on the internet, and starting a collection so that when I do enter the industry I will have loads of references.
I do need to know certain pieces of software, such as Maya (of which I'm using continuously), but other pieces of software include 3DS Max, although more studios use Maya more, and Photoshop, which I know the basics to, but there's still a lot for me to learn. I should also start using engines more, which I enjoy using UDK a lot at the moment for its playability and lighting, but other engines such as the cryengine might be a good idea as its a far superior engine to UDK, so I've been told.
Year by year, technology is continuously changing, and for the better. Here are a few points about how they are affecting the games engine. Mobile platforms are continuously getting better, not as powerful as computers, but quite close. This will mean, as an environment artist, I will have to limit the amount of polys on the screen so that the mobile device can run the game smoothly, so I have to be ever aware of how much detail I can have on the screen at one time. Another change in technology, although not specific to being an environment artist, is that streaming games services are becoming available, and again I have to ensure that there is enough detail for the audience to still believe the environment whilst being able to stream the game successfully.
Above is a link about level design and how everything should have a purpose, this is the sort of articles I should be looking for to become an environment artist.