Artists create the visual elements of a game, such as characters, scenery, objects, vehicles, surface textures, clothing, props, and even user interface components. They also create concept art and storyboards which help communicate the proposed visual elements during the pre-production phase.
Some games try to look as realistic as possible while others aim for a more stylish look. It is the Artist’s job to model and texture characters and objects to achieve the desired result. The look of a game is often a significant factor in its success, second only to its playability.
There are various specialization within the art department, including 3D object modelling, character design, textures, and environments. Each Artist has responsibility for the creation of particular art assets with a game, but there is also a lot of movement between roles. They might also create artwork for packages, promotional materials and websites.
Artists work under the supervision of the Lead Artist. They create art assets according to the game specification and they are usually responsible for managing those assets.
Some Artists specialize in the design of human figures and characters, others in buildings and landscapes, and some in textures for 3D objects.
Artists must be aware of the technical capabilities and limitations of the platform that the game will be played on. They must also take on board feedback from QA Testers. Artists do a range of jobs which have different responsibilities and techniques, including:
Concept Artist – usually using traditional materials (e.g. pen and paper) rather than computer software, the Concept Artist sketches ideas for the game worlds, characters, objects, vehicles, furniture, clothing, etc. They also suggest level designs, colour schemes, and the mood and feel of the game. Although not involved in creating the actual game art, their concept will shape the look of the game
3D Modeller – builds the characters, objects and environments of the game, including life forms, scenery, vegetation, furniture, and vehicles, etc. They need to balance visual richness and detail with the limitations of the game’s technology
2D/Texture Artist – creates and applies textures to characters, environments and game items, such as the surfaces of walls and floors of buildings. This is also a highly skilled area, which requires considerable knowledge of lighting, perspective, materials and visual effects