Tyler West, an experienced concept artist, founded West Studio, which has worked with notable clients throughout the videogames world. This concept environment is an early visual exploration piece that West Studio created for Playdek for its game Unsung Story, a tactical RPG. For West, it is important that concept art not only looks great, but that it also does its job and helps further the rest of the production line: “The philosophy that I have always used as a designer and illustrator is to create designs that not only inspire but also inform production. What makes a concept artist good at his or her job is their ability to create designs. Regardless if they are environments, characters or vehicles, they need to not only excite those working on the project, but also inform artists who rely on those images (modellers, lighters, animators, etc). These skills do not just apply to the game industry, but also to film and theme park design. Concept art is not just about expression; it is also about fabrication.”
This striking visual was created for Ubisoft title The Crew by Two Dots creative studio. It is part of the final key art for the game (http://thecrew-game.ubi.com/portal/en-gb/home), which is an action driving adventure game for next-gen consoles. Xavier Thomas, creative director at Two Dots, explains how he creates concept art that excites: “My objective when I’m creating a game art is to do something that is going to emotionally and visually affect people somehow. Therefore, I like to have time during concept phase to assimilate the project, understand which feelings the team wants to give to the gamers and explore various creative paths. If needed, I challenge the brief and client’s expectations to not over-limit myself; the idea is to take into account a maximum of constraints and play around them. Finally, I make sure I have fun before anything else; a good tip is to be a gamer, who fundamentally enjoys being part of this industry.”
If you are looking for inspiration, then this is a great place to start. It acts as both a blog and a directory for artists working in the entertainment industry. It profiles and showcases artwork from the latest releases and is frequently updated. It is not limited to the videogame industry, but the imagery is second to none. Join the Facebook (/ConceptArtWorld) and Twitter (@conceptartworld) communities to connect with other like-minded artists.
Videogame designer Sam R. Kennedy (www.samrkennedyart.com) presents this book (£14.99/$21.99), which looks at everything from the basic skills needed to become a videogame artist, the different roles available and beyond. It features screenshots from popular and recent videogames, interviews with professionals working in the field and step-by-step examples for creating game art. It has sections looking at what training you need and how to prepare your portfolio so that you can make a serious attack on the industry.
This course is aimed at those who are both creative and love games. The course looks at 3D character modelling, environment modelling, vehicular modelling, basic real-time animation and 3D effects over its three years. All assessment is based on practical work and in the later years, there is a decent focus on the games industry as a whole so that you are prepared for a team environment when you graduate. It is also available as a sandwich course, so you can opt to take a year-long placement.
This tutorial looks at the basic principles of designing a videogame character in Photoshop, including sketching, design, rendering and more. It goes through a logical workflow, from exploratory sketching in loose greyscale to turning it into a fully realised piece of concept art. As well as learning how to use the drawing and painting tools in Photoshop, this is a good introduction to a typical videogame studio pipeline, which is essential if you want to get into the industry.
Senior visual artist at Elevendy, Hugo Ceneviva, explains how he uses Photoshop’s tools to get this distinctive videogame ‘look’ for key art, as shown in this example for Tom Clancy’s Splinter Cell: Blacklist for Ubisoft.
Work with Brightness and Contrast levels to create a dramatic effect on your character
Play with highlights and shadows to make the action or storyline of the game come to life
Use a variety of textures to add realism, blend with different modes and use High Pass to increase detail moderately
Use colour layers (on Overlay) to make the lighting effects more realistic and believable