Whether you’re new to the industry, an aspiring concept artist, or a potential client looking into the best game art for your project, it’s important to understand what goes into every part of creating games. Concept art, for example, something that is often glanced at and rarely focused on by those outside the industry. But it is such an integral piece of a game’s art design!
A lot goes into creating concept art, and we thought our own artists could help give us some insight into the process. What they do, how they approach the process, and what is good to avoid! So, if you’re new to the industry or a veteran of it, take some time with us as we dive into the tips & tricks of this important and invaluable piece of game development.
To properly value concept art, and to understand how best to construct it, it’s key to understand what its purpose is. Why does this step exist in a game’s art development?
Our stellar concept artists explained the step as the translation of ideas. Briefs, reference images for inspiration, and brief descriptions are given by the client. From there, the idea is translated into the visual form. The key question is: “what are we conveying to the player?”. And it’s in concept art that the question is first addressed. As first steps and initial exploration, it gives the team an idea of what they’re working with and what is being seen.
Additionally, concept art helps keep the art pipeline smooth and efficient! With concept art confirmed and in place, changes are less likely from happening in subsequent stages as they’ve been explored and decided upon here. This means less time changing existing designs unnecessarily and less costs doing so.
Our teams will always double-down on fundamentals. The basics, the core principles, these are what make the foundation of a great artist. If you’re looking to improve, or you’re looking for the right team for your project, check out their fundamentals.
Color, anatomy, perspective, shape, silhouette, rhythm. Our artists refer to concept artists as ‘visual knowledge chimeras’! A wonderful mixture of ability and skill, all necessary to do their job properly. The basics also include readability. The golden ratio of composition and light – nothing too much or too little. It’s a delicate balance but one our artists strive for with each piece. With these, visual communication is easy to establish. And that is the final goal.
One of our lead concept artists has said that beyond mechanical talent and training, curiosity is essential. Whether looking at history or biology, seeing how the world works and how those rules might be broken is important to them in developing new pieces.
For a lot of our artists, their own explorations start with a “what if…?”. They help with exploring new ideas and changing the way we might perceive an event or world. “What if there were obsidian pyramids in Antarctica?” This opens up questions like why are they there and who put them there? What would they look like after so many years? If they’re still clean, why? Questions are the way we explore new worlds and discover new details. What we include and choose to omit are equally important in the visual communication.
In terms of elements to avoid or be wary of, one concept artist mentioned a stagnant mentality. Of thinking about concept art as “just an image”. Concept art should be treated as part of a story, even if it isn’t present, the art has context. And that’s important for the artist to consider when creating concept art.
And finally, to always be open to exploring new ideas. As a concept artist, your job is to explore and discover new visual storytelling avenues. Your first attempt at a character’s concept art might be amazing, but it might not be the best fit for the project!
At Magic Media we are veterans of the gaming, tech and entertainment industries, offering comprehensive services including game development, VFX, animation and full art services! Our main goal is to provide a one-stop solution for any project and we are proud to have worked on projects such as Star Trek Resurgence. If you’d like to utilize our expertize and experience in creating game art and more, drop us a line and let’s talk!