A game artist creates art for role-playing games and video games. You are responsible for making a game’s visual elements. You’ll be tasked with creating characters, including their look and clothes; the scenery or background where the action takes place; any vehicles or weapons that the characters will use and other objects needed for the game to feel authentic and be fun and exciting to the players.
When game artists are involved in the pre-production stage of the game, they are responsible for concept art and making storyboards which are integral aspects of game development. In many video game firms, the idea of how the characters and settings should look is typically given by the lead game designer or even a writer who first suggested the concept.
It is the job of the game artist to actually create sketches of them. Unlike other video game artists that use computer software to draw their models, concept artists simply use pen and paper to come up with their visual depictions.
During the production phase, three-dimensional game artists will be utilizing computer graphics software to come up with the characters, settings, weapons and other objects that will be used in the game based on the concept artist’s depictions. These artists are known as 3D modelers and have the very important task of making sure that the game is visually rich but will still be supported by the game’s technology.
The texture artist will then make and apply the texture to the characters, environments and other objects created by the 3D modeler. Highly-knowledgeable and skilled in matters related to lighting and visual effects, texture artists make the game very realistic. Other game artists will then be responsible for the movements of the characters and other animation sequences as well as creating other visual effects that add to the excitement of the game.
Game artists may also be asked to make images for the game’s packaging or merchandising.
Game artists are obviously artistic and creative. More than this, you should have the uncanny knack for pulling together all the elements together for a video game. Not only should you be artistic, you should also have strong programming skills. Even if you are only going to be involved in concept art, programming knowledge will help you do your job better.
Since games are usually developed in a team environment, you should also possess the ability to work together with other people. Knowing how to articulate your ideas clearly is also important in ensuring that the others will understand what your suggestions and concerns are.
Why Become A Game Artist
Not everyone has the technical skills or the passion to become a game artist. However, those who dream of fusing their knowledge for the technical aspects of gaming with their desire to create unique worlds that gamers, both young and old, will like will find this career to be very fulfilling. Game artists get the chance to play games for a good part of their jobs, which is paradise for the avid gaming fanatic. Of course, that’s not the only thing they do at work but the fact that video games are within easy reach makes this job quite appealing for anyone who lives to play computer games. On the more practical aspect, game artists are paid very well, with the chance of getting even higher pay as they gain more experience in the industry.
Game Artist Work Environment
Game artists mainly work for the motion picture and video game industries. A good number of them are self-employed and work from home. There are others who are hired by computer systems design and related services industries, software publishers and advertising, public relations and related services industries.
Game artists connected with video game companies work regular hours. However, many of them work more than 40 hours a week. Their work hours are longer when they are trying to beat project deadlines, with weekend work being common feature. Self-employed game artists may have more flexibility in their schedules but they have to work doubly hard since they have to pitch their work to gaming firms.
Game Artist Salary
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics does not gather salary data specifically for game artists. However, the Occupational Employment and Wages report revealed that the mean annual wage of multimedia artists and animators, of which game artists are a part, is $72,400. The annual Game Developer Salary Survey revealed that on the average, the salary of game artists is $75,000 a year. By comparison, multimedia artists and animators earn higher than the $50,900 paid to fine artists like painters, sculptors and illustrators.
Game Artist Career Outlook
The U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics has projected that the employment rate of multimedia artists and animators where game artists are belong to will rise to six percent in the decade covering 2012 to 2022. While this is slower compared to the national average due to the outsourcing of animators and artists, there will still be opportunities for game artists with increased consumer demand for video games, movies and special effects. There will also be demand for the profession as more games are taken to mobile devices. There will be tough competition for jobs. Those who specialize in certain animation types and have a wide array of skills will have an edge.
Game Artist Degree
Strictly speaking, one does not need a degree to become a game artist. However, a degree shows that you are serious about your craft and is often required by employers when looking for these professionals. In addition to the technical knowledge that can be gleaned from studying in a program that would train one to become a game artist, these courses give students plenty of opportunities to form their own portfolio. A stellar portfolio is what employers always ask for from aspiring game artists. Thus, they would do well to enroll in a program that would earn for them a bachelor’s degree in fine art, animation, computer graphics or similar fields.