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Old 04-13-2008, 01:31 PM   #1
EvilLlama
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Default Which skills should I focus on?

I am currently a senior in high school, and I hope to someday have a job within the games industry, possibly from the art side. Over the summer, I plan to spend time refining my art skills at home, and I want to know which skills I should focus on more.

Should I focus more on facial/character expressions by drawing self portraits, looking at manga, and google image search? More on getting correct anatomy by studying bones/muscles? More lighting effects and creating the illusion of texture in a 2D medium? More on landscapes? Should I focus more on getting my traditional skills down set, or push my creativity further?

I want to work on all these things, but since summer is only 3ish months, I will need to focus more on some things than others. I do plan to take art classes in college as well.

On a different note, does anyone know of any good tutorials for texturing in Maya?
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Old 04-13-2008, 01:56 PM   #2
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilLlama View Post
Should I focus more on facial/character expressions by drawing self portraits, looking at manga, and google image search? More on getting correct anatomy by studying bones/muscles? More lighting effects and creating the illusion of texture in a 2D medium? More on landscapes? Should I focus more on getting my traditional skills down set, or push my creativity further?
Focusing on one style is never good.
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:16 PM   #3
EvilLlama
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Originally Posted by ronnoc10 View Post
Focusing on one style is never good.
I'm not trying to focus in on one style. This is just for the summer, I guess what I'm asking is which aspect of my style I should refine more/would be the most important, and which is the easiest to improve on independently.
For example, in school you might take a Figure Drawing class. The Figure Drawing class helps improve your knowledge of anatomy, balance, and ability to draw on the fly. I don't know any artist who only does figure drawing. But taking the class helps you develop very important skills.

Now say the school you're taking the class in has an Open Studio, where you can work on stuff for any of your art classes. Here, a decision needs to be made. Are you going to use this time to work on figure drawing, or are you going to set up a still life? Part of that decision comes from what you're personally having trouble with.

Another part of that decision involves opportunities you have to work on in the future, and what skills are the most essential for professionals. When you need to better yourself at something, sometimes its better to break it down into parts you can focus on then pull everything back into the big picture.

So I guess my question is more Which general art skills do game concept artists, modelers, etc need to be particularly amazing at? Which are the easiest to learn independently in my given time frame? Which are better saved for focusing on in a university art class, where more resources, peers, and an experienced professor are available?

Maybe it's a dumb question, but I'm just wondering.
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Old 04-13-2008, 03:30 PM   #4
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I think he had a reason for bolding "looking at manga." I would guess his comment meant that if you chose to go with the facial/character expression path, you should look at more art styles than just manga.

As to your actual question, I'm no artist, but if you intend to get a job in the game industry, there is very little calling for just a straight-up 2d artist. You should at least familiarize yourself with some 3d programs such as Maya, etc.
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Old 04-13-2008, 05:41 PM   #5
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Oh I see. My bad.
The reason I want to look at manga for facial/character expressions is that since manga often illustrates action in panels, in order for it to be effective it has to "freeze" the action in the most dramatic/expressive moments. Other comic books do this too, but manga often combines its dramatic style with gags: humorous facial exaggerations. So while for style/anatomical accuracy manga may not be the best, for poses and expression manga is very good for. Especially in ones where all the characters look and dress the same (ex: earlier works of Rumiko Takahashi) and are only distinguished by their personalities. But yeah, looking at other stuff too is probably a good idea.

Although the techniques are different, a lot of the skills gained in 2D art carry over to 3D. I am familiar with modeling in Maya, and I'm going to teach myself texturing over the summer. I'm also learning Blender as well. So I'm not aiming to be 2D only kind of person. It's just that working in 2D is better for learning the general stuff(composition, effects of light, etc) since I'm more familiar with it.
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Old 04-18-2008, 03:10 AM   #6
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I think you shouldn't be looking at manga, or other "styles" to study. Study from life. Take life drawing (must), and draw/paint stuff from life. This way you can Learn how to render things in REAL situations. Create your own lighting or use natural lighting.
Learn anatomy, figure, pose, and composition. These are all things that are touched on in Life/figure drawing class, but can be used for anything.
I'm not a 3d person, so i dont know if you need to put a big focus on color RIGHT NOW. But i think you should focus on human anatomy, rendering, and honing your mind to learn how to form objects in your head (ex, once you draw a pencil as opposed to just examining it, this will teach your mind how it looks/IS in a 3d world) this way you can always create things from your mind when you model using 3d.

ps, i'm not saying dont look at manga, cartoons, or illustrations for ideas or inspiration. also if you dont take an acuall course, depending on where you live, there should be studios, schools, houses that host life drawing sessions (if you wanna draw people)

Last edited by gasSnake : 04-18-2008 at 03:13 AM.
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Old 04-20-2008, 10:15 AM   #7
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Quote:
Originally Posted by EvilLlama View Post
I am currently a senior in high school, and I hope to someday have a job within the games industry, possibly from the art side. Over the summer, I plan to spend time refining my art skills at home, and I want to know which skills I should focus on more.

Should I focus more on facial/character expressions by drawing self portraits, looking at manga, and google image search? More on getting correct anatomy by studying bones/muscles? More lighting effects and creating the illusion of texture in a 2D medium? More on landscapes? Should I focus more on getting my traditional skills down set, or push my creativity further?

I want to work on all these things, but since summer is only 3ish months, I will need to focus more on some things than others. I do plan to take art classes in college as well.

On a different note, does anyone know of any good tutorials for texturing in Maya?


This is a good site to get some information and inspiration from

Concept Art

drawing from real life is probably the best thing you can do to refine your skills but as with any skill you have to keep doing it all the time. Never leave home with out your sketchbook, a pencil and some art gum.

It seems to me your not quite sure what your into I wouldn't be picky so if you pop down to the park or mall take out your sketch book and start drawing. I personally like doing that cos you get a good sense of perspective in those places. I've even drawn people on the bus, kinda like a free life drawing lesson . a couple of quick glances up and you can rough out someones face.

as for anatomy. if your doing a life drawing class then you might have to do that, or if your learning anatomy...but getting form right from a rough spontaneous sketch is good.

I think the best advice is to start sketching from real life. Manga and comics are distorted and you can focus on them later(their not bad though!)
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Old 04-23-2008, 05:41 PM   #8
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Thanks for the advice and the link. They're really helpful
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Old 04-24-2008, 02:28 PM   #9
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Hey There,

Welp! I'm no expert, but I am a 3d kid so I hope I can help you out. I just graduated in the winter from the Art Institute of Philadelphia and it wasn't until late in my college career when I finally realized that I really wanted to get involved with the gaming industry. It was more pressure that was holding me back but, we don't need to get into that story. I wish I was able to plan ahead like your doing right now! But it's cool. Lately I've been really getting into the research and practice behind what I want to do, so I'm going to share what I've been learning with you in these way educational past few months.

Mm, I know your saying you want to focus on what you can do with the time you have. Drawing is definitely a good thing to continuously work on. I'd have to go with what Red 5 was saying. Draw all kinds of things. Practice drawing them in challenging ways too, to get perspective down real nice. Manga and comics are cool, but only because those guys worked hard to understand anatomy and facial expressions from real life to the point where they could distort accurately, if that makes any sense. Traditional skills are essential.

Do a lot of research over the next 3 months as well. Figure out what aspect of the industry you have a passion for and began taking steps toward mastering it. For example, narrow down if you want to be on the 2d team, the 3d team or the design team. Then, figure out if you want to be an environment artist, or a character artist, or a level designer, etc. There are lots of different areas and it would be great if you were accomplished in many. But for the most part, the common case is that in the gaming industry you are part of a team. So most likely, folks hiring are looking for people talented and passionate about a particular thing so they can stick you in the pipeline. One character gets touched by many different artists, all experts in one particular thing. No one artist will model, texture, light, rig and animate one thing all on their own.

So yea! If you already know what you want then go for it. But it looks like your not sure yet. You've got some time to figure it out though, but it's important that you do. It will make the path less foggy for you once you have a clearer goal in mind.

As for Maya tutorials. I'm not too sure about where to find good free ones. But Digital Tutors and Gnomon make some awesome training DVD's.

On the side, here's a few more sites to add to conceptart for inspiration:
http://www.cgsociety.org/
http://www.thegnomonworkshop.com/
http://www.pixologic.com/home.php

I suggest you get into ZBrush a little too at some point. Doesn't have to be during the summer. But you can download a trial version and there's tones of free tutorials right on the site. I think a program like this is going to be a must in the next few years, if not sooner. But that's just my opinion!



Good Luck!
-Brit

Last edited by britbrit : 04-24-2008 at 02:44 PM.
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Old 04-28-2008, 08:27 AM   #10
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Thanks for the sites and the advice. They're really helpful
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