What is concept art all about?
Concept art creation is the process of making visual concepts that will be implemented later on in the video game, and in this case, we’ll be talking about the process of creating concept art for the survival game SCUM. Basically, a concept artist is a person that seeks solutions for problems and overcome challenges. They come up with a character’s design, concept objects, locations, etc. Basically, they try to construct a visual identity for parts that are later on combined into one larger picture which in final stage we call the video game.
The frequently made mistake is to compare an illustrator to a concept artist which is not the same. As previously mentioned, a concept artist resolves problems and tackles obstacles presented in time limited tasks. They have to figure out how and why something looks the way it looks, and it’s a more significant challenge than it seems. Their work requires hours of research and a deeper understanding of the subject, as well as the ability to produce ideas fast and constantly generate new ones.
In the gaming industry, it is crucial for a concept artist to comprehend what is the bigger picture and the deeper story of a piece they are working on, including the look, feel and the overall player experience. It happens frequently that if a concept artist excludes research from their work, players can notice deviations in terms of consistency. Another essential aspect of designing is to take into account programmers. How are they implementing pieces into the game, is it doable? This is one of the most considerable differences between the film industry and the gaming industry regarding concept art.
What our concept artist has to say about concept art in Gamepires
„In Gamepires we work as an integrated part of the 2D team. We receive daily tasks that we often deal with individually, but there is this firm relationship between co-workers where we give each other feedback. Our department managers equally participate in feedback, giving instructions and providing directions. They are here to advise us why something should look a certain way.
We discuss our ideas at meetings, brainstorming activities, etc. That’s the easiest way to find a solution for any problem or how to tackle any challenge. In smaller studios like this one you have to be concentrated on multiple details and we typically have to discuss more things as a group and less as individuals, but I’ve never felt like I have no freedom. On the contrary, I do believe one can enjoy even more freedom in studios like ours. There is a more significant chance that one’s original and creative ideas will be implemented into the final design. “
What is necessary for a successful career as a Concept Artist at Gamepires?
„To be a good concept artist, amongst other things mentioned, is to understand design. If you don’t have a general understanding of design, it will take you a bit longer to get to grips with concept art. Comprehension, persistence, and diligent research of the subject are a winning equation when we talk about this, and yes there are equations in Art!
Another important thing is to be able to receive constructive criticism and honest feedback. Here at Gamepires there are no freeloaders, anybody who has ever given me any type of critique or feedback is an honest hard-working individual and I think about it in a way that whatever they say will only help me in my future professional growth. This is an important part of developing in both cases, no matter professional or personal. Now that I think about it, my natural and only response is thinking to myself: How is their advice going to aid me? What is something that I can promptly adapt? Can I develop 5 more versions to make it better, etc. It’s all about intrapersonal skills, whether or not you can reflect on things you are working on and can you have some healthy self-criticism without taking it too personally.
Day at the Gamepires office
“The atmosphere in the office is great. Since I got here, I can only say that the company culture and the team were the first two things that made the most significant impact on me. My typical day starts with a delicious cup of excellent coffee. After my healthy dose of caffeine, I instantly begin with warming up my hand and start preparing sketches in my sketchbook. Think of it like a warmup before exercising at the gym. I turn on some music and start carefully looking at the things I need to finish from the day before or start working on something completely new. I genuinely do enjoy what I do, and I must say my favorite part of the day is to work on a creative project that has no deadline.
If I have to pick out something that is stressful, and there are not many options to choose from because I do believe I have a very chill job, I’d have to say short deadlines. On the off chance it happens that in the morning I get a task that has to be done by the end of the day, that can be a challenge for me. I cannot emphasize enough how rarely in reality that happens. But even when it does, I’m fine with it because of two things: firstly, it’s my job and secondly, I’m good at dealing with stress. I just zone out of the world, focus on my sketches and work.“
Influence of game genres on concept art – first-hand experience
“In our studio the main focus is on SCUM. Few things you have to take into consideration at the very start are surroundings and actions that a character is supposed to be doing. It is vital that we work on more ideas that reflect reality instead of a fantasy world simply because that’s the core theme of the game. And by that I allude to all the surroundings, characters, circumstances, actions etc. These are all individual pieces that have to give you experience of being in a real life rather than in a video game.
Logic is the key word. Design and aesthetics are playing their part in creating design but only up to one point, after that it all boils down to laws of physics. For me this is more satisfactory. Initially it might seem like there is less imagination involved but I can assure you that there is no such thing as a less “imaginative video game”, sounds like an oxymoron by all means.”
“I graduated at the Academy with a diploma for an art professor career and got a job as a concept artist at a game developing studio. My point is no matter what your education background is, if you work hard and practise enough you can find yourself a spot in our team. If somebody means to do such a thing, I think it’s important for them to compare the styles, and if they, by some chance, do not match at key points, they need to start practicing matching their art style to that of the company.
On a technical side, specific knowledge and skills one needs to typically acquire are speed, generating ideas, mastering digital sketching and being able to work on a tablet. These few things are important not just in concept art but in digital art in general. However, working without a graphic tablet is something I cannot imagine doing my work without.”
Advice for future Gamepires colleagues- concept artists
“Relax and have no fear! There are many new people in this industry, and we are growing with each passing day. Not that long ago I was considered new and I experienced the same fears and concerns as many others. I kept undermining myself with questions such as What if I’m not competent enough? and with time I realised that’s the last thing you should ever do. Do not feed your fears with assumptions. If you got the job that means you are here for a reason. That means you are good enough. Don’t unnecessarily stir up your mind with negative thoughts. Be brave, we want you here. This job, you need to want it, need to be prepared to work for it. Seek inspiration in everything, because that something which came from that simple everything, might just become your new voyage.”
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