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deltaKshatriya

How Important is Concept Art?

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Hey all,

 

I'm not a professional modeler by any means. I'm more of a hobbyist to be honest. Most of the time when I model things, I don't do any concept art, and sometimes I use reference images from the internet (depending on relevance, obviously something that I'm modeling from real life would need reference images) but generally I don't draw out my ideas on paper mainly because I'm average at drawing (usually below average) and I find that I like to just take the image in my mind and just start modeling, modifying and changing up the geometry as I go depending on the look/feel I get. I've done some concept stuff for a particularly tough armor piece I was modeling mainly because I wasn't too sure what I was doing. What do most people do? Does concepting help people out?

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If you are working in a team, having concept art, even if not of a really good quality, will probably be necessary. If you start spending some hours on a characters and the creative director (or the other members) doesn't like the design of the character, you may lost a lot of time redoing your character.

 

Even a quick drawing to show the general atmosphere, design of a character/place is always nice to show :)

 

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If you can come up with a compelling Art Direction, and cool-looking visual designs, and then create assets based on the ideas you come up with in your head, then concepts are not critically important. 

 

However, concepts can be great for marketing, conveying ideas to other modelers, proving out an art style without having to build the actual assets etc.

 

So, it depends on your needs and the skills you have.

 

I've created plenty of assets for AAA games in the past using imagination and working without concepts. However, I totally understand how useful concepts are...it's just that they are not ALWAYS needed.

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Concept art is mostly important on multi-person teams, so that the art director can obtain a unified look
from all the artists. Or, as polychrome said, to pitch a concept and get publishers or investors excited.

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Concept art is mostly important on multi-person teams

I think this is 100% check. However, I think that it isn'y only to keep a unified like, but to allow ideas to be flushed out.

Example:

UI design can benefit from concept art for both artists and programmers. 

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Echoing the above statements about use in teams, it's also a time saving exercise. While the 3D artists are still busy finishing game A, the concept art team can begin exploring game B, and actually polish the design of every character, vehicle, important object, location, lighting mood, background scene... All before actual production on game B has actually started. This is very important for scheduling and budgeting, while still having control over what it is you're going to build.

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The hardest part of 3D modeling is getting started, because planing is so important. Concept art gives the 3D modeler a foot hold, they can start with the basic shape even when no real planing has been done.

 

As the people said above, concept art it's important for teams as 3D modelers need to work fast on a large project; there are people like level designers and animators waiting for the 3D models.

However concept art is extremely useful to all 3D modelers. Making a 3D model of a image is always easier than making it out of your head, Because you won't pause to long when you finish one part, wondering what to do next.

 

The concept image also allows you to better understand what the lead artist or client wants, most problems happen because of miss communication between client and modeler.

If you ever hire a 3D artist, you will find that if you provide them with only one or two concept images, the model will be a almost exact copy of one of the images, even when you tell them you don't want a exact copy.

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Most artist will tell you to always work with a reference. Even if it's a crappy sketch or a grainy image from google.

 

If you're making a coffee table or chair, find a reference on google and load it into your program. If you're making a cartoonish character, do a sketch.

 

The natural workflow of 3d programs is very mechanical. If you 'go with the flow', lazyiness takes over and you end up with a boxy, static result. If you're working with a reference, especially if it's something organic, you'll be forced to go against the mechanical workflow of the program to make things more organic.

 

There's been times where I've done freelance work where I gave them a rough blocked out 3d model as a 'concept'. However, I was doing it off of a really really crappy sketch that I made. I was just to embarassed to show them my awful sketch, and it would have taken me longer to make a better sketch than to make rough 3d concepts.

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The team aspect makes sense as we aren't quite capable of mind reading yet (although one of these days...).

 

Do even basic awful sketches help people more when modeling without any team members? My sketches aren't usually very good and the amount of time it would take for me to make a good sketch would be very long. So far I've made a sketch once for modeling armor as I had no clue what I was doing.

 

Like I said, I just let the model flow from the image I have in mind, which I'm not sure if that's a good approach (although sometimes I do look at images of other stuff for inspiration). I do believe some here have seen a sample of my models. 

 

I'm actually taking a proper 3d modeling class right now, and I'm not sure how much concept art is expected. I got curious when the instructor mentioned 'concepting' a lot.

Edited by deltaKshatriya

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Yes, concepts and references are still important when you're working alone.

 

I'm assuming however, that you're drawing skills aren't rock bottom garbage, like stick figures and smilie faces. My own drawing skills are somewhat degraded, from not doing it regularly for years, but I can still slop together cohesive concepts - even though no-one would put them on their wall.

 

For starters, it helps you to decide if your idea is any good or not, as well as to solidify the concept you have in your mind. Sometimes the idea you have seems good, but when you actually make a sketch and step back and look at it, you realize that it's not as great as you thought. So from there you improve upon the idea, or even scrap it and not waste your time if it ends up being totally worthless.

 

Another benefit to concepting is understanding your concept in a more 3d-way. Personally, when I have an idea, it's generally somewhat fuzzy. I may understand what it looks like from the front, but not the back. Maybe I hadn't thought about how it moves, or the details.

 

Overall, the biggest benefit is time saving. If you're going to model, texture, rig, and animate something, you'll be devoting days if not weeks to it. So spend a few minutes and put it to paper. If it isn't worth a few minutes to make a sketch, then it probably isn't worth the time you'll be putting into the model.

Edited by SirWeeble

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