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Monday, September 19, 2011

Game art Environmental artist interview and insight.

This post is all about environmental artist, especially for those of you who are interested in getting a job in video game industry.  This article should be very informative and I try my best to actually explain what the environmental artist is.
Environmental is basically all the elements, except characters and creatures, you see in a video game is what we create. So we come up with the sky, and the all the elements that are captured in the scene. Environment is very important to any video game, 90% of the screen is visually environmental art.  It is a big part of the visual representation of the game itself.  In most game studios, environmental artists work closely with level designers and designers.  And their functions can be and often overlap.
Basically how it works is in the initial stage, concept artist or environmental concept artist will design the look of the environmental, props, building, anything that you would consider what you can called backdrop or background in normal terms.  Then environmental artist will build the 3D models base on the design.  Once the props are finished, the level designers will take those 3D model and arrange them into the level.
Each level has its own unique game play and plot or path that was already written by game designers.  Yeah I know it sounds very confusing.  All these functions can be perform by just one or two people if the game is small enough, but for the big scale video game some studios can have up to 60-80 people to perform these function.

In this blog post, I found a really useful video episode of the five-part Art of the Game series about the making of BioShock 2.  In this video lead environment artist Hogarth de la Plante talks about his previous experience on the first BioShock and how the close working relationship between the art and design teams carried over into making this game. Explore the world of Ryan Amusements and how the level provides an opportunity to fill in the back story for those who have not played the first game while not boring those who already have played it. The second video you will see an interview with Guild Wars 2 environmental artist, my former ArenaNet NCsoft colleague Tirzah Bauer.  

Bioshock 2: Lead Environment Artist, Hogarth de la Plante

Guild Wars 2 environmental artist interview, Tirzah Bauer.

Hopefully these tips are helpful for some of you who are interested in career in video game.

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