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2, Issue 2
November 18, 1999
a busy summer its great to be back writing this column again.
Since loonygames is starting its second volume Ive been
tossing around ideas of my own for making this column better.
What I came up with is that Id like to write it to better
serve you, the reader. So, I thought it would be cool to have
a little Question & Answer or Critique section at the end
of every, or perhaps every-other installment of Painting on Polygons.
So send me in a graphic you are working on or an art question
you have and Ill post an answer or short critique. Or if
you have a general question about getting into an game-artist
career or just what it is like behind the scenes (or whatever).
Oh... if you do e-mail me a file, please limit file attachments
to a meg or less in size. Thanks, and send all e-mails to firstname.lastname@example.org.
I start, Id like to get a few things out of the way for
any new readers of Painting On Polygons. In the simplest terms,
this column is designed to help artists learn some of the ropes
of creating video game art. Since there are so many different
interests and styles out there, I try to keep this column a broad
as possible using several different programs. Occasionally, however,
I will probably go into topics that arent video game related
-- but are related in art -- and are things that I feel are important
to note or in some way may connect to the video game industry.
I certainly dont know every answer to every art question,
or the ins and outs of every single art program out there, but
I do have a good deal of experience in this field and am always
happy to help people become better artists.
said... on with the new tutorial!
this is sort of a new beginning to loonygames and my column, I
decided to start at the beginning of virtually all game design
dealing graphics: conceptual art. This is the most fundamental
necessity that a good game needs at the early design stages. Period.
Ive never seen or heard of a game that didnt use conceptual
art to some degree -- weather be simple pencil sketches or a full-color
drawing or even a high quality 3-D render. Personally, Ive
always loved looking at the conceptual art for games, and I think
it is a great way to study how other artists capture images and
the techniques they use to capture those images. For example,
here are some pictures of mine that are simple examples of what
a piece of concept art might look like for a game.
2 of this article which will come out about two weeks from now,
well come back to these drawings and Ill explain some
things about each of them individually. But first, let me break
down concept art into a series of categories so you can understand
how it is applied in the design of a game.
art is used...
To help create the mood, feel, and style that the game will have.
important for the game to have a sense of its own unique style
-- or at least a style that is appropriate for the game. By having
an artist come up with a series of images at the early stages
of the game-making process, it can be a good framework for the
game designer(s) to conceive how the game with be presented to
the player. This type of concept art can be, and usually is, a
cast of characters, objects (such as weapons or items to be collected
by the main character or characters), and scenes (such as landscapes
To capture a sequence of events that will or might occur at some
point in the game.
this more simply; a storyboard. Many games these days have full
motion video or a complex plot that requires drawn out storyboards
for the game designer(s) to visualize certain sequences as a whole.
Storyboards generally are fairly quickly drawn or sketched out
by an artist simply due to the volume of artwork that is needed
in a short period of time to keep the design process moving smoothly.
For other artists on the team to follow a consistent style throughout
the game design process.
very well have a team of artists guessing how everything is suppose
to look in the game. With a key visual or set of visuals for the
other artists to work from can help give the game a sense of flow.
Consistency of style is definitely key.
For the 3-D artists to have a visual representation to work from.
basically an extenuation of point number 3 from above. Many 3-D
Artists and Level Designers are not always skilled 2-D artists
themselves, but rather skilled at the craft they do; which is
create objects or characters in 3-D space. This is why a good
drawing may be necessary for them to base their 3-D models off
of. This type of conceptual art can also be used to toss around
ideas to other members. For instance, once I was working on a
dungeon texture set and wanted some inspiration to help me think
of what kinds of things I might want to put in it. So, I went
to the concept artist and had him draw out a sample dungeon. From
there, I was able to base my textures off the kick-ass sample
he drew, and make myself a cool texture set.
four points pretty much sum up what concept art is and how it
is used in the game design process. In part 2 of this article
Ill get more into the creation aspect and explain some good
drawing pointers to follow.
meantime, keep drawing and also send in your questions to me so
I can start building out the Question and Answer section of Painting
in a couple of weeks!
Rick "Flatness" Grossenbacher works on Gameboy Color
games for Vicarious Visions.
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