Computer game art production – Creating Art

In games design there are categories of art which can be split into other sub categories; 2D and 3D. 2D art is usually kept to:

  • Animation:

Animators in the games industry are responsible for the portrayal of movement and behaviour.

Most often this is applied to give life to game characters and creatures, but sometimes animations are also applied to other elements such as objects, scenery, vegetation and environmental effects. doing this can be wither 2D or 3D.

  • Environment Artist:

The environment artist (also known as an environment modeler) creates backgrounds and scenery for video games, usually first concepting them (2D) and then modeling them (3D).

  • Sprites/ Character design:

In a way linking into character design the creation of sprites is the drawing of any 2D assets in a 2D game, including characters.

  • Texture Artist:

A texture artist’s job is to paint surface textures on animated characters, environments, and props.

  • Concepts and Mockups:

Concept art is a form of illustration used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books or other media before it is put into the final product.

  • User Interface Artist:

The user interface artist is responsible for the design, implementation, and optimization of UI assets for a video game. UI can be 2D or 3D.

Most 2D art is usually done in Photoshopor Corel Painter



In 3D there are also:

  • 3D Modeler:

The role of making all or specific 3D assets of the game using information and concepts given to them.

  • Animation:

Please refer to the 2D art section.

  • Environment Artist:

Please refer to the 2D art section.

  • User Interface Artist:

Please refer to the 2D art section.

All 3D art is usually done in Maya, 3DS Max and ZBrush

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Where Maya Shines and Disadvantages

Maya’s proprietary scripting language MEL is highly customizable, and that is one reason why Maya can be found a lot in the film industry because studios like to be able to create their own set of tools that can help them achieve their job much easier.

Maya has really been know as the go to app for 3D animators among the industry for its robust rigging and animation tools and its animator friendly workflow.

You also have the choice of Maya LT which is a huge benefit among new game developers as it’s a relatively cheap subscription cost, of course, you don’t have access to as many of the features of the full version of Maya, but you still have the most important to a game designer, like modeling, animation and texturing.

For the most part, Maya has been known to be a much more powerful application when it comes to animation, with a huge library of animation tools. It’s also very customizable if you know a bit of MEL or Python which are the scripting languages in Maya. For example, Blue Sky Studios uses Maya for all their animation and rigging tasks.

When it comes to rigging, Maya pulls ahead slightly in this category as well. However, it does require a bit more programming in MEL if you want to create complex character rigs. Now, with 3ds Max it can be a bit easier to rig, but you can create complex rigs in Maya that might be very difficult to achieve in 3ds Max.

Where 3ds Max Shines and Disadvantages

3ds Max has been known for its powerful modeling tools, allowing you to create complex 3D models with a very fast workflow and robust modifiers, with the entire poly modeling tools contained in one area of the UI. It also has some really great architectural visualization capabilities that Maya really doesn’t have.

If you’re brand new to CG 3ds Max can be a little simpler to grasp, and can seem a little less daunting than Maya, making it a bit more user friendly.

3ds Max has a very robust modeling toolset with a huge library of different modifiers which can make the modeling process easier. Depending on how new you are to the world of 3D then modeling in 3ds Max can be a little easier to grasp.

If you’re going to get into the architectural visualization like interiors and buildings, 3ds Max really caters to this type of artist, giving you the option of 3ds Max Design which is a favorite program among architects and designers.


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