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  • How to Be a Smart Artist

    - Amirhossein Erfani
  • Hello everyone. My name is Amir, and I'm a Creative Director working in game industry. I just had a talk at Tehran Game Convention about "How to become a Game Artist in 2017" and thought maybe it'd be a good idea to write about it and publish it here. The reason I came up with the idea of this presentation is that I see many fellows (especially here in Iran) who want to pursue their dream in Game Art but mostly choose the wrong way to do so. Mobile Game Art is on fire and it doesn't necessarily need the same skill-set as a more serious and AAA game does. So, I'm here to redefine another type of a Game Artist and I hope some of you find it useful.

    So, really, who is a Game Artist? Well, both types of people who make world-class art for a big AAA Video Game and those working in indie/small teams are Game Artists, but in very different ways. See, the main difference is that the size of Game Art teams varies from project to project, from a one-man-band artist to a team of 50 artists in a big company. One thing doesn't change in both cases, you need to have "Art Direction" in both type of teams and in those smaller ones (saying, a team of 2 or 3 artists for a mobile game), an Art Director is seriously being missed and people think the team is too small to even have one. In this case, it takes more than just cool skills of painting big robots and creatures to make good art for a smart and beautiful mobile game. Solution? Stay with me till the end of the article, I'll explain.

    When we say Game Artist, everyone thinks about a mighty artist working for Naughty Dog, Ubisoft, Remedy, you name it. Don't get me wrong, doing art for a AAA game could be easily "the dream" for a digital artist, but what if you don't get the chance to do so, or the project you're working on is relatively smaller to produce that scale of art. I see these mighty artists of AAA as [digital] classic artists and professional specialists, each one a master of the work they do. They are masters of [digital] painting, [digital] sculpting, Texturing, Animation and so on, and they make so much awesome art that if Rembrendt was alive even he would be amazed. You want to be one of them? You have to master visual arts (fundamentally and thoroughly) or advance tools at its best and adapt it based on the needs of your games. You have to master everything just like the masters of visual arts did, now digitally. But that's not the whole story, you can be a smart graphic designer and still land a job as a Game Artist and make a huge difference in a project, which leads me to the next slide.

    Harry Nesbitt is my hero. The talent behind "Alto's Adventure", one of the most beautiful Mobile games I've ever played. That guy is also a Game Artist, a very fine one. I name guys like him "Smartists"! See, Smart Artist (it's obvious but I wanted to appreciate the pun one more time! lol). So, who is a "Smartist"?


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