What Is a Concept Artist in Video Game Design?

What is concept art and why does it matter to a video game design company? Briefly, concept art can be described as an outline of a character, environment, or other objects that will be used in future games. Video game concept artists visualize all assets in different ways. It is crucial to find a better overall look and start creating more refined and detailed designs. 

You probably aren’t thinking about the concept artist’s job in video game design. But namely, the best video game concept art affects the final outcome of a huge effort to create something valuable for end-users. Let’s dig deeper into concept art and its place in game design! 

The Importance of the Best Video Game Concept Art 

Concept art is an important but often overlooked aspect of the gaming industry. It is used in many areas where visuals are used: filmmaking, animation, advertising, cartoons, and so on. It helps to form and visualize an idea in the shortest possible time.

Just think how much time and money it takes to create a game. Believe these are hundreds of hours and thousands of dollars are required to realize impressive projects. Just read more about AAA projects and their peculiarities at https://kevurugames.com/aaa/. Then consider how much effort you can spend if something goes wrong. So why do you need concept art in games? This is the stage of work when the artist must visually embody the idea described in words. Concepts allow you to consider different options and cut off hopeless decisions at the earliest stages of game development (pre-production). Thus, you will be able to determine which direction is worth developing and which is not. Then the selected concepts will be worked out, detailed and put into production.

A concept artist is a specialist who visualizes how all game content will look like: locations, characters, vehicles, and objects. Oftentimes, different artists are assigned to develop the same character, object, or location to create the desired image. This work is carried out at the very beginning of the project. But it is at this stage that the images are created, which, thanks to the work of the rest of the team, take on life on the screen.

Main Types of Video Game Concept Art

Concepts are used for:

  • Character design. An artist working in this direction is responsible for the visual image of characters. These may be different creatures that are relevant to the project – humans, monsters, and others. The key task is to reflect the character and all the main features – appearance, costume, posture, etc. 
  • Environment design. The artist is required to create separate buildings – both exteriors and interiors. In addition, they need to think over entire locations (cities, islands, catacombs, etc.). The overall atmosphere and mood of the project is created by the design of the environment.
  • Props design. The environment itself will include all the characters specially created for this project. In turn, they will use vehicles, weapons and other props that will reflect their personality. With the scale of the game, the number of props that need to be created to complete the picture increases. When it comes to vehicles, it’s not just cars the characters drive. These can be airplanes, helicopters, tanks, submarines and boats, spaceships. The weapons also vary. In AAA projects, they must be very detailed and surprisingly accurate depending on the historical periods in which they existed.

All of these elements must be combined into a coherent whole. Virtual worlds with their unique views, characters inhabiting them are the result of the work of many, many specialists. But all of these initial ideas spring from the minds of the concept artist. The only thing left is that you need to find the best specialists for your own project. 

How to Choose Video Game Concept Artists

  • Decide what type of concept art you need. We already mentioned that artists can work with different elements – characters, environments and props.
  • Visit the places where artists hang out. Fortunately, there are many online platforms available – ArtStation, Behnace, etc.
  • Explore a portfolio with completed concepts. On the abovementioned resources, artists share their works. There are likes, comments, shares. So, pay attention to the reputation of the artist you are considering.
  • Check out their expertise. Before hiring a concept artist, you need to find out as much as possible – educational background, work experience, professional development, motivation, etc. 
  • Feel free to give a test task for a more detailed analysis of each candidate. This makes it more likely to find qualified specialists.