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Keigi

Environment artist

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Hi, I have been looking to get into game design and I'm interested in starting a career as a environment artist. I'm a senior in engineering school, but would like to see what it takes to become and Environment artist. I enjoy designing levels and models using programs and editors. That's the idea I have of what an Environment artist is, someone who creates environments in a virtual world; is this correct? I've mainly used engineering programs, but have really enjoyed creating things in them. For example in Solidworks I've created a C-47 fuselage. The only other thing I can think of that comes close to something a company would look for is programing; all I know is Fortran... I plan on learning C++, and brush up on web programing a bit over this year. I have started to work on a few mod teams for a game called "Neverwinter Nights" to get a good idea of what making a game is like. Since I'm a new area builder my first assignment was writing some lore for the game; which I don't have an issue with. So I would like to know what it takes to become a Environment artist for a company? What types of programs should I learn? Do I need to learn any programming languages? Any help is welcomed, Keigi

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Designing levels is performed by a level designer. Creating art assets to populate said world is performed by an environment artist. Level designers block out, script, and populate a level with artwork created by an environment artist. Sometimes the environment artist will instead be loading up the level created by the level designer and do the placing of the artwork based on the gray boxing performed by the level designer. Different companies handle this a little differently. What it boils down to though is level designers design the gameplay experience and the environment artists bring that experience to life aesthetically.

Environment artists work primarily in tools such as 3ds Max, Softimage, or Maya to model and texture physical props, vegetation, etc. Levels designers will, depending on the pipeline, design a level with a 3d application such as the aforementioned or they will use a custom editor like UnrealEd or Hammer, which is becoming more and more the norm.

As a level designer you need to work with moddable games out there, such as Neverwinter Nights, Unreal, etc. and produce map after map after map showing that you understand how to take all of the pieces in a game and put them together into an enjoyable experience. As an environment artist you need to be able to demonstrate a strong understanding of production modeling skills and efficient texturing abilities. An artist's portfolio needs to show that you can create great models with a variety of themes that are as resource efficient as possible. Either position requires a very strong portfolio.

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