The most commonly used tools for concept art in game development

The video game sector is constantly growing thanks to the continuous technological evolution that characterizes the entertainment market. New audiences, forms and channels of play require increasingly specialized skills and professionals. The most in-demand personalities in the entertainment industry are in the arts, including 2D Artist, 3D Artist, and Concept Artist.

What is concept art and why is it important

Concept art is the visual representation of an idea. It can be applied to characters, game environments, props, vehicles, weapons, and any other element of the final product. Its objective is to establish the constituent elements of the overall artistic vision of a project before it goes into production. It serves to set the tone and convey benchmarks that other team members will model during development. Concept art is not promotional illustration used to sell a video game or the creation of amazing objects for themselves, but a specific creative response to a design challenge.

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Depending on the size of the studio and the current project, a video game can have anywhere from a few artists to thousands working on it. Defining a single common vision ensures that everyone involved is working cohesively on the same idea. Whether you are starting a project from scratch or want to incorporate new ideas into existing projects, it is important to define the look of the product immediately to reduce future inconsistencies.

What is a concept artist and what does he do?

A concept artist is a designer who translates into visual form, using sketches and images, the instructions contained in a project brief or design document. In most cases, the art or creative director should provide important details contained in the brief, such as the character’s nature and personality, appearance, and stylistic influences. The lead designer can then guide the concept artist in the right direction.

Creating concept art is an iterative process: it takes a lot of creativity and a fair amount of patience to develop the look of all those interconnected parts that, in the game world, allow you to support the story and direction. artistic. As a concept artist, you’ll need to be able to redo the same piece of art multiple times, accept and understand feedback from your manager, until you refine and present it all with more detailed artwork.

Before you start shaping with ink or a graphics tablet, it’s a good idea to plan, research, and collect visual references for what you want to create. At this stage, the artist can begin to develop some preliminary ideas through small sketches made quickly: the art of sketching. This way you can design freely without worrying too much about technique or the final look, putting many more ideas on paper than you could explore if you only focused on making the illustration beautiful and fun. .

These sketches should be seen as guidelines that will greatly help you even in later polishing stages when adding color and detail to large portions of images or creating a full rendering of the design element on which you work. Once approved, concept art will be shared with modellers, animators, and designers, and may occasionally be used to convince potential investors of the game’s qualities.

Tools of the concept artist

The concept artist is an eclectic artist armed with very versatile tools. He is a professional figure who has developed artistic skills in traditional designs, such as the study of human anatomy. He knows the theories of perspective, composition and color. He knows how light affects surfaces and how each of these elements affects the prevailing mood and emotion of a scene. Pencils and paper remain reliable allies in the design phase, but the professional is also up to date with the latest digital drawing techniques and 2D and 3D graphics processing tools.

Adobe Photoshop is the industry standard for 2D graphics and is one of the best tools for photobashing (a technique where artists mix photos and other 3D elements to redesign and compose a new image). It has a wide range of tools and features for photo editing and digital brush painting. Photoshop is a software that can count on a large community and a large number of plug-ins to increase productivity and save time.

Corel Painter is another digital painting program with many useful features. The tool offers hundreds of brushes and pencil and pen strokes perfect for sketching, and the workspace can be organized according to your needs to facilitate your concept art process. For those about to take their first steps into the world of digital art, there are great free and open source alternatives like Krita and GIMP that even support native Photoshop files.

Now you know all about concept art and the tools that may be needed for it.