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Turd Burger

What are the genuine prospects for an artist within Game Design?

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Hi, I am an artist, fairly proficient in most traditional 2D media and I am hoping to get involved somehow in game design. Specifically; the two areas I am interested in at the moment are: 1) Concept Design: Artistic realisation of something based on a brief and on thorough research. 2) 3D Modelling: Modelling and Texturing of objects derived from the concept art stage. I have no 3D modelling knowlege or experience, but am willing to put the effort in to learn about it. I have currently got my hands on Blender, and am about to embark upon learning how to use it. _ I originally made similar enquiries to these in another post (http://www.gamedev.net/community/forums/topic.asp?topic_id=562051), but I think it was a bit general - so I have transplanted some of my original questions here. Firstly: A) Are my assumptions about Blender being a good starting point for taking my design to the next level correct? B) What are the REALISTIC prospects for an artist within the video game industry as a 2D concept artist? C) What are the REALISTIC prospects for an artist within the video game industry as a 3D modeller? D) What are the REALISTIC prospects for an artist within the video game industry as a 2D concept artist who then builds the 3D model? (I ask this question, because in Graphic Design and Illustration - being a 'Jack of all Trades' is generally frowned upon, but I imagine it might be a usefull skill within game design). E) What form would this work in the video game industry take? - Please be as specific as possible, what would be expected of someone like me? What would the deliverables be? What environment would the work take place in - ie: An office? A studio? Work from home? F) With the required dedication that I possess, is this type of work in the video game industry a REALISTIC ATTAINABLE GOAL? G) This one's a cliche, but even artists need to pay for food and petrol: What's the pay like? H) Once a 3D model is produced, and packaged along with it's texture - is there some kind of standard file type that can be loaded into any game, or do the 3D modellers need to deal with what I assume must be massive compatability issues? _ Lastly, I apologise if any of the answers I seek are already here in the form of an FAQ or a previous post - but I could not find the ones I am looking for. I would however appreciate any links to such answers I may have missed.

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Firstly, you're going to get a lot of pedantic replies pointing out that "Game Design" is a separate position -- the guy who actually designs the game-play usually. I'm guessing you actually mean "Game development" everywhere you've said "Game design"?

A) If you want to learn 3D modelling, then yes.
B) I'm not sure what you're asking specifically. We've got a small team of concept artists in our studio if that helps.
C) I'm not sure what you're asking specifically. We've got a large team of 3D artists in our studio if that helps.
D) Doesn't happen in our studio - they're two different fields. Although, we do train all our artists in classical drawing skills anyway.
E) We're in a large office (one floor of an office building).
As a concept artist, you could be doing anything from character design, to environment sketches, to designing colour pallets, to painting whole scenes to set the visual direction or to "sell an idea".
As a 3D artist, it's common to specialise in either characters or props/environments. You'll usually be working from reference images of some kind, and in the case of environments, also basing your work off the needs of the game designers.
F) Yes, as long as you care about constantly becoming a better artist.
G) As good as other office jobs. Plus we get flexible hours, and beer/pizza on Fridays ;)
H) Every game engine has it's quirks that you've got to learn to deal with. Every engine/game/job you work on will require a different work-flow.
Also, some companies have the 3D guys do texture work for their models, and other companies employ dedicated texture artists as well.

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Game art pays. Concept art does not pay as much as producing assets which go into the actual game, whether 2D or 3D. What pays the most is animation, because it's the hardest to do at a professional level. You will probably find more information about being a professional artist in the game industry and related animated movie industry somewhere like conceptart.org

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Just go start your journey at GameArtisans.org or Polycount.net. You will learn a lot from those places, and a lot of regular posters there have actually gotten jobs. Some active posters there are working in the industry, and portfolio threads actually do get seen by the right people.

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Quote:
Original post by Hodgman
F) Yes, as long as you care about constantly becoming a better artist.

This cheered me up, since I have what some call an unhealthy obsession with bettering my work.

Hodgman, Sunandshadow and Daaark;

In three consise replies, you've given me a great amount of confidence and information.

Thankyou.

At the moment, I'm drifting a little and can see no good reason why I shouldn't just go for this - and from the point of view of a creative person (pompous and pretentious as that sounds) I think it would be criminal for me to not at least experiment with it as an art medium.

Lets say I were do this, polishing my artistic standards in both 2D and 3D areas:

I would probably start with a few demonstration pieces in which I show research, develop a concept from this research, produce some concept artwork and finally develop a series of models from this (perhaps in varying resolutions). This would basically be a portfolio building exercise, since all of my work to date is 2D.

I guess the next step would be to test the commercial water. I see plenty of projects on here, ConceptArt.org, Polycount etc... that are looking for 3D artists of some kind. The trick would be to find a legitimate project that wasn't run by starry eyed four year olds hoping to build the next Blizzard rival.

After a few indie stints, do you think I might be in a decent shape to handle working in the industry or a studio etc... (maybe after doing a few paid indie jobs)?

I realise that this question is fairly abstract, since my "readiness" would depend greatly on my portfolio and proficiencey at that point, but I ask it out of interest anyway.

Again, thanks for your replies.

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Build your portfolio. Show that you can do good work. Show that you know what you're doing. Also if possible, try to get some experience working with teams, because showing that you can work well in a team environment is important to a lot of companies.

The game artist/visual artist/animator/artistic fields in the tv/movie/game industry aren't really about what college you went to, but more about your talent and your experience. So get some experience under your belt and show some really good work and you'll get your foot in the door somewhere. Then it's just a matter of building experience there, moving on to something bigger, building experience there, moving on to something bigger, etc.

Eventually you'll have triple A titles under your belt, with tons of industry connections, and you won't even have to go looking for work, the work will come to you. =)

So my advice is to stop asking and start doing! Build a sweet looking portfolio and demo reel and start pushing it out there.

Good luck!

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