Sunday, 22 April 2012

Art direction in games

One of the most sought after jobs in the gaming industry is to be an Art Director. Huge responsibilities are rested on their shoulders to make sure that the game has consistent artistic design throughout. They would have to check each and every asset to make sure it fits the feel and artistic style of the game. Slip ups or bad decision making in the industry are tremendously costly and so art directors are often excellent artists with good communication skills. This allows them the ability to communicate their thoughts and ideas to their peers, meaning the game’s art style will be more consistent.

An art director is a very creative role. In fact the art direction sets the pace for the whole game. Usually working closely with concept artists, art directors are the key to the whole creative side of a game. On smaller development teams, often the art directors role is combined with that of the concept artist meaning his ideas and creativity and put straight into the mix.  As well as making sure that the game has a consistent overarching feel, art directors need to give criticism and advice to make sure all assets being made are up to the standard of the rest of the game. If this isn’t done right it will make the world less believable, making the player feel less involved.

Deux ex went all out in terms of art direction

Art direction in films can be a much different ball game. I think it is much easier to have and keep the same style all the way through. On a film like Sherlock holmes, keeping that same victorian style can be tricky, in the way that you need all costumes to be similar. In films however you only see what has been filmed and therefore only a small amount of characters and sets need to be kept in the same art style. comparatively, in games the player has the ability to roam around a scene, looking at characters and objects in the scene from different angles. Another point where film might have it “easier” than games is that all special effects are pre-rendered in films, so models and textures can be the very best looking. however in games, textures and models are limited in size quite majorly.

To conclude, art directors for games need to have a few things. An understanding of art, this allows them the ability to work really closely with concept artists to illustrate their ideas and to make sure that everyone on the team understands the art style for the game. Communication skills, this allows them the ability to further communicate ideas but also gives them the ability to give constructive criticism and advice so assets are made up the right standard. Knowledge, in my opinion a art director needs good knowledge in his field. with a good knowledge of past games a art director can borrow similar styles that have worked well for past games and integrate it into their own. It can also show them failed art styles to make sure they themselves don’t make the same mistake.

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