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I've been looking at different art school and programs over the past several months. I have decided on the Art Institute of Phoenix. What I am interested in doing is working as a concept artist for a gaming company. So my question is this:
How do you guys think a program in Game Art and design would rank against a general Illustration program for doing something like this? I know that companies like Blizzard look for artists who can take a character from concept sketch to an in-game 3D model, but is that essential? Or would it be better to focus on the actual conceptual art rather than the in-game aspect?
I ask this because more and more art schools are introducing these programs specifically for game art, rather than simply game design, so I thought it might benefit others who might have the same interests.
Take a look at gamasutra.com and see what companies ask for when looking for employees. Having a 3D background is on every concept qualification list I've ever seen, and certainly improves your chances of getting jobs in the gaming industry outside of concept (which may have to be worked toward, not immediately gained).
Also, having seen both majors, Illustration major's approach is completely different from a Game Design major. One does not sub for the other. That doesn't mean you couldn't cross over, but it would require you to train yourself in those other technical areas that you were lacking.
If you want to do concept art you'd probably want to do illustration, traditional arts type of stuff.
It looks like when you get into the "game art" areas, most of what they tend to have you focus on is applying what should be existing art skills in ways that are relevant to games.
From there, crossing over would be more a matter of learning 3D modeling, and UV techniques among other things.
When you say "take a character from concept sketch to an in-game 3D model" do you mean you drawing the character and then making a 3D model of it?
I don't think most places really have people draw the character them self and then proceed to model it, unless it's personal sketches or whatever else you might use to aid you in the process of making the character. From what I'd heard if concept art was frequently used they'd be having people dedicated to it.
I know someone at Ensemble that is a great painter, and does character models. This made me curious to ask him if he paints things out for approval first or of somebody else does it, or whatever the procedure might be. I'm guessing it differs depending on the studio though.