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Squad Spotlight: Syarah Mahmood

Heard of the Singapore 100 Women in Tech list? It’s an initiative launched by the Singapore Computer Society, in partnership with SG Women in Tech and Media Development Authority (IMDA) to spotlight and recognize female role models and their contributions in tech.

Ubisoft Singapore is proud to congratulate two of our inspiring women from the studio for making the 2021 list – Syarah Mahmood, Lead Artist and Shelley Johnson, Producer.

Introducing Syarah Mahmood, Lead Artist at Ubisoft Singapore

Hello! I’m a lead artist on the co-dev worldbuilding team in Ubisoft Singapore. I create memorable experiences through the art of environmental storytelling, having built locations in Assassin’s Creed Origins, Assassin’s Creed Odyssey, Immortals Fenyx Rising and most recently Assassin’s Creed Valhalla and The Siege of Paris DLC expansion.

My day to day involves a lot of planning, benchmarking and working together with other job families to ensure a smoother production so artists can do what they do best – crafting beautiful and immersive worlds. I also manage a team of talented level artists to achieve our vision and art direction of games. Currently, I’m working with our co-dev partners at Ubisoft Philippines to help mentor their team of upcoming world artists.

Q: What inspires you in your work?

Definitely the team. it’s been heart-warming to watch people grow and take on more responsibilities confidently, as well as how they constantly bring passion and creativity to the table each day.

it’s no walk in the park but balancing vision, inspiration and communication is key. Being able to work under visionary directors, talented developers and artists from all over the world is humbling and pushes me to do better every day. Also, a special shoutout to our previous Art Director, Mohamed Gambouz! He was a visionary in terms of art direction and was amazing at cheering the team. I’ll always remember coming out of my first art review with him and being super hyped to create even better art.

Q: What were some of the hurdles that helped along the journey?

As I moved from creating level art to taking on a lead position, I've learnt that managing and mentoring a team is a new scope altogether. It has become less about “How can I make the best art possible” to “How can the whole team create the most epic world possible?”. Managing people also means a bigger responsibility, but the team’s success is the best feeling in the world.

If you’re looking to step into the industry, it’s vital to never stop soaking up new experiences and learnings from anywhere and anyone. Get out of your comfort zone and never stop learning, because the industry never stops growing. As an artist, you’ll want to have an extensive library of visual references, knowledge and understanding to build credible worlds – not just from games but from movies, books and real-life inspirations.


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