2d artist – who is it and what does it do?
A 2D artist is a specialist who uses computer graphics to create art, draw characters, objects, weapons, environments and other images. This is a creative profession that requires an art education, knowledge of software for creating illustrations, and possession of special tools such as a graphics tablet.
2D artists can work in advertising agencies, freelance cartoons, comics, book illustrations, collaborate with game development companies and mobile app development studios.
The profession of a 2D artist: what knowledge and skills are needed The work of a 2D artist is based on knowledge of the academic foundations of drawing, painting and composition, the ability to work with light and shadow and correctly choose colors.
The artist from A to Z knows the anatomy of people and animals, knows how to depict them in motion and in different poses. A 2D artist knows how to draw by hand and on a tablet, analyzes other people’s work, develops observational skills and trains creative thinking.
The 2D Artist must be able to draw in one or more of the following graphics programs: Adobe Photoshop, Illustrator, CorelDRAW.
Is 2D Artist a sought-after profession or not? Nowadays, the demand for artists is quite high, especially in the game development industry. The scale and speed of game development, the quality of art, and the amount of unique visual content are growing exponentially.
Therefore, on job sites you can find both Junior 2D Artist vacancies, who will create simple props (objects, icons), and Senior 2D Artist and creative artists, whose main task will be to draw characters and locations for advertising campaigns.
Also, if the level of English allows, no one forbids entering the international labor market and finding remote work in a foreign company. This is beneficial not only financially, but also for replenishing the portfolio of a game artist.
Game artist: job specifics Aspiring game artists mistakenly believe that game dev will be an ideal platform for them to create. This is partly true, but many people forget that they will have to create art in the style of the project, and not in their own.
You have to adjust your ideas to the existing requirements, so that as a result the game has a predictable effect. As a rule, large projects already have their own pipelines (algorithms for creating illustrations), which the art department works on. On the one hand, this greatly simplifies work and communication, on the other hand, it steals the feeling of creativity.
Game Artist: Specializations and Main
Tasks In large companies, “game artist” is not the final job title. Concepts, illustrators, character artists and other creative guys are working on creating art here.We will discuss the specializations of game artists below.
A concept artist is a specialist who searches for and visualizes the idea of future art in “broad strokes”, that is, prepares a character/location design without detailed drawing.
It finds relevant examples of visual materials from games, movies and cartoons, photos, pictures and uses them as references. Concept art is about finding the best shape and variation, not about clean, finished work.
The creation of such a drawing is the initial stage of art production, which is then transferred to other artists for finalization. That’s why concept art can look like a rough sketch, and that’s okay. Illustrators are engaged in rendering static images – loading screens, covers, promotional materials.
These can be either character posters that are sold on the game’s website, or virtual postcards for the community. The UX/UI artist is responsible for rendering the game interface.
Each new pop-up, settings menu, skill bar, and sale message in the in-game store is the work of a UI artist.
UI artists know how the buttons should look so that they do not interfere with the gameplay, but remain noticeable, what emotions certain window colors evoke, what visual style of controls corresponds to the setting. The UX/UI artist, understanding the logic of the player’s behavior and needs, uses this knowledge to improve his gaming experience.
Environment artist creates backgrounds for computer and mobile games.
Natural landscapes, urban locations, surroundings, buildings and objects placed in them – all this is created by the hands of an environment artist. These specialists have a deep knowledge of architecture and masterfully work with perspective and lighting.
Character artists create game characters – realistic people and animals, cyborgs and robots, mutants, a variety of creatures that can be used in the game. The strengths of the characters are irrepressible imagination, knowledge of the plastic anatomy of people and the ability to convey the character of the character through artistic techniques.
Character artists enliven the image invented by the scriptwriters, emphasize the special features of the character (for example, draw clothes corresponding to the profession), adding uniqueness to it.
CG-generalist is a master of all trades, a professional with a lot of experience, who draws environments and characters equally cool, creates concept art and icons.
Often such specialists are required on small projects, where the tasks of one person include drawing 2D art, overpainting (texture detailing), modeling, and even simple skeletal animation.
How to become a 2D artist and get into game dev To become a game artist, it is important to be able and love to draw, as well as play a lot of games. Love – because drawing will not just become a part of your work, but will take all your working time (correspondence with colleagues, phone calls and ticking in the task manager do not count).
And you need to play games not for fun, like an ordinary player, but first of all as an artist: study every little thing drawn, analyze techniques and draw conclusions. Practicing in drawing and constantly learning new things is the best way to develop, and not “rust”.
From 2D designer to 2D artist
Often 2D artists become former 2D designers who are tired of developing visual styles, designing logos and presentations. They improve their drawing skills, take online courses and may well compete with those who received a classical art education.
A developed aesthetic taste, knowledge of color and skills in arranging objects will help in a new profession. A newly minted artist will always be able to apply the knowledge acquired in the past and prove himself to the employer as a universal specialist.
2D Artist Portfolio To showcase all your strengths, put together a bright and smartly structured portfolio. You should not include all your work in it and add sketches from the time of the university – let there be not so many illustrations, but each should speak about your talent.
Are you proud of your own invented and drawn characters? Show them, tell their story and the legend of why they look the way they do. If concept art or locations are your passion, use a concrete example to demonstrate the journey you have taken to create the best of them, from reference and sketches to the finished work.
A portfolio is the face of a 2D artist, so a hastily and illogically compiled selection of works can only impress if it shows some unique abilities and skill. If you are not yet a reputable artist with a well-known name and hundreds of offers from top companies, make sure that your portfolio is of high quality.
Another tip – look at other people’s portfolios, do not hesitate to ask for feedback on your drawings on the forums where the pros communicate. As a rule, creative people are happy to evaluate the work of others and directly say what can be improved.
Game artist: how to look for your first job
The first project should be looked for already in the last stages of training – the sooner you have real experience (albeit with a purely symbolic salary), the better. Freelance exchanges, job sites – just enter “junior 2d artist” in the search bar and browse all the vacancies.
Even if you don’t find a job right away, it will help you understand the needs of employers and focus on improving specific skills. When applying for vacancies, try to attach to your resume not only a portfolio, but also a concise motivation letter.
Some companies are ready to teach people without experience, and the top ones even open highly specialized internship programs for motivated guys. Follow your dream companies on social networks, stay tuned for updates and periodically ask a question about open vacancies.
An interested person is more likely to be the first to know about internships and new opportunities. Game Artist: Career Opportunities At the initial stage, taking the position of a junior, it is important to establish yourself as a promising and enthusiastic employee.
If you have the strength and opportunity, ask for additional tasks, participate in discussions, offer ideas and references. In addition to the standard promotions to middle or senior, it is quite possible to become a department leader by demonstrating your organizational skills.
And in large companies, internal transfers are practiced – for example, from the location department to character artists or level artists. So, if you get bored in your usual position, you can discuss internal training and transfer to another department with your manager.
Pros and cons of working as a 2D
Artist in game development As with any profession, there are pros and cons.
- Among the advantages: the opportunity to do what you love and get paid for it; creative team and communication with like-minded people;
- career prospects and demand for the profession; salary, conditions and social package, which are unlikely to be available to those who draw pictures and illustrations for books;
- the opportunity to try yourself in different directions (locations, characters, illustrations, UI).
Cons of working as a 2D Artist:
- the need to adhere to the style of the project, forgetting about your own;
- long sedentary work, constant strain on the eyes and hands, back problems;
- a lot of edits and stress from tight deadlines;
- high threshold for entry into the profession.
What is the difference between a level designer and a game designer
Many people confuse the professions of a level designer and a game designer, considering it to be the same job. In fact, a team of specialists in different industries is working on one game.
These include a game designer and a level designer. The first creates the gameplay itself. It includes the structure of the game and the emotions that the player must experience when passing a particular level.
Game designer is a rather broad concept. In small teams, he works alongside a programmer. In larger associations, game designers have broader specializations.
Game design has the following levels: creation of mechanics; the worlds the player travels through; interfaces are the landscape component of the world; the gameplay itself. The level designer ensures the work of the mechanics themselves in specific levels of the game.
In fact, level design is the creation of full-fledged entertainment venues for the specifics of a particular game. Basic techniques in a wide variety of applications work according to game level simulation.
For example, jumps in a certain game may be different in execution, height or distance. The level designer must think about where the character can jump to avoid getting into a difficult situation.
Level Designer in Games: Responsibilities
Developing a game world is a rather time-consuming task, on which a lot of people are working. Among them, a special account is the level-designer, who develops and further improves gameplay on locations.
The specialist also develops sound, lighting and special effects. Another level-designer “brings to mind” ready-made game applications with the help of a mass of auxiliary tools. The amount of work depends on the number of game levels that need to be developed.
Leading companies that work on large-scale games usually involve a large number of specialists in the process. Each level designer has his own job: setting up script scenarios, lighting and detailing of finished maps.
In indie studios, level means that the designer performs more tasks. The specialist should monitor the quality of the basic nuances of level modeling for the game.