If you’ve ever watched the credits roll by after you’ve beaten a game, you have a pretty good idea about the number of artists it takes to create the graphics you see up on screen. Taking a look behind the scenes of a typical game production reveals dozens of different positions students may want to pursue in the field of game art.
Many of these vital roles focus on different types of character design and animation, where such artists as Character Modelers, Character Riggers, and Character Animators collaborate to determine how the players and enemies will look, move, and interact within the game engine. They create the basic structure of a character, determine its points of articulation, and finally create the animation cycles that it will have during the game.
When those characters are completed, they’ll need a place to live, and it’s the role of the Environment Artist to design and construct 3D landscapes – including buildings, terrain, and bridges – that match the game’s theme.
Working in conjunction with both the character and environment designers are people like the Texture Map Artist, who creates 2D graphic art used to define the surface qualities of a complex models – such details as the character skins and clothing, as well as the texture patterns for different structures and landscapes.
There are also artists dedicated to creating the visual effects you see during a game. The job of the Special Effects Animator can include animating anything that is not a character, such as vehicles and machinery, as well as natural phenomena like special lighting and particle systems – all of the things that make the game world come to life.
All of these art departments are supported by a staff of producers, such as the Technical Director, whose job it is to create and maintain project schedules. These managers also work to maintain a game’s vision as it relates to the design documentation, set milestones to integrate the art and code, and direct both the artists and programmers to achieve their final deadline.
Full Sail graduate Brad Lindsay is an Animator at Vicarious Visions, where he created the special attack animations for classic super heroes like Spider-Man and Captain America, for the action role-playing game Marvel Ultimate Alliance 2.
Full Sail grad Joshua Stachowski worked as a Lead User Interface Artist to develop the high-res, 2D graphics for the heads-up displays and menu systems in EA Sports’ NASCAR 09.
Since graduating from Full Sail, David Finlay has developed a successful career in this field as a 3D Vehicle Artist at Rockstar Games, where he has taken his love of both games and hot rods to create the high-polygon car models for the hit Midnight Club racing series. His work has included everything from creating the wire frame skeletons for game’s roster of cars, to the glare of the streetlights reflecting off the body paint.