Game Art: What It Is and How to Build a Career as a Game Artist
Thinking about game art, many people are likely to imagine an ideal job consisting only of creativity and entertainment. In fact, everything is not so simple and rosy. Game art 3D or 2D is a complex area where creativity and specific functions are combined. Art that will be used in the game cannot be created outside the rules and regulations. It clearly depends on the style of the game and the technical limitations of the engine.
Of course, gaming graphics are a special kind of art. There is a huge space for creativity and self-expression. But the artist never works alone. In addition, there are different types of game artists, each of which is engaged in their own direction. Let’s talk about this in more detail.
What Game Art Is
Art, or graphics, as we usually call it, is the visual component of a video game. Players get their first impression of a game by looking at its graphics. It often happens that a conceptually interesting game pushes the player away from itself with its specific art. And it happens that a graphically beautiful game turns out to be empty and stupid in its plot.
In any case, the graphics are extremely important. There is no point in trying to determine which is more important: gameplay, graphics, mechanics, or storyline. Every component is critical. Art is just that something allows you to make the first assessment, which, as you know, is firmly fixed in the minds of the players.
Graphics can be two-dimensional and three-dimensional. 2D is more common in indie games on a small budget and is a flat world with no depth measurement. 3D is more about high-budget AAA games that take a long time to develop, are highly valued, and just as strongly criticized in case of flaws. Therefore, when developing such games, choosing an experienced 3D artist agency is a key aspect of success.
Game Artist Tasks
Now, in the era of dynamic development of the gaming industry, we increasingly see ads about 3D artists for hire, we meet questions on the forums and on social networks about where to hire 3D artists and so on. The demand for good artists has generated tremendous interest in getting into the gaming industry.
But we have to say that the rate of really good artists is at a consistently average level. As in any other field, which has suddenly become a delicacy for a large number of people who are not ready to spend too many resources on their training.
Game artists create the face of the game, that is, its visual part, what the player sees. Whether it’s 2D or 3D, they work on characters, environments, textures, colors, lighting, objects, and more.
Their work is now based on digital tools, special software, where all sketches and drawings are created. This does not mean that the artist does not need to be able to draw. This skill is still key, as well as knowledge of the basics of perspective, anatomy, correct representation of lighting, etc.
Specific tasks for creating graphics are usually delegated to specific artists. Often this is a division into concept, characters, environment and interface specialists.
Concept artists are one of the most popular trends in the art of gaming. Everyone wants to be a concept expert, because this direction is closest to pure creativity, allowing you to fantasize. The point is to visualize the idea, collect references, brainstorm how the game will look in the future.
The environment includes locations, landscapes and everything that fills them: plants, mountains, hills, houses, furniture, and more. They can be real, inspired by real stories, or fictitious, based on fantastic descriptions.
The artists who model the characters are very good at anatomy. This is a prerequisite since it is often necessary to work in the style of maximum realism. They know how to create realistic characters, animals or fictional fantasy monsters.
The user interface is also a very serious aspect of the game. Such artists are less known, but this does not detract from the importance of their work. They create interface elements such as menus, icons, dialog boxes, and other details that allow the player to interact with game settings and game elements such as inventory or character diaries.
How to Become a Game Artist
Since this is a modern profession, there are no compulsory higher education institutions that would be required to complete in order to enter it. Often, to become a game artist, it is enough to complete courses, prepare a small portfolio, once again make sure that you are ready not only to have fun, but also to work seriously, and apply to small 3D art companies or 2D agencies that create games.
Most likely, you will first be offered either an internship or a probationary period as an artist’s assistant. But this is also a great option. You will find yourself in the right environment and see how everything works from the inside. Further, all will depend only on your enthusiasm and zeal. If you are sure that this is for you, then go ahead!
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