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  1. #1
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    3d skills mandatory for the Concept Artist?

    Hello there,

    I apologize if this has been posted before, but I have had difficulty finding information on the subject.

    I have been browsing around at concept art job specifications lately and I have noticed that quite often in the skills list there is usually mention that you need to have a good knowledge of 3d programs like Maya, 3dsmax etc.

    I'm just wondering, is this more of a backup skill rather than something you will need to dabble in frequently? Say if for whatever reason a modeler is sick or it's crunch time then you will be needed as an extra handy man?

    The reason I ask this is because working in 3d just doesn't particularly interest me. I'm much more interested in the idea generation and drawing/painting images to then be forwarded to a modeler.
    However If It is crucial that I need to learn these programs then sure Ill do it. It's just a bit of a burden having to learn all these programs from scratch. It's hard enough learning to draw and paint as it is.

    Are there any concept artists here that have never needed to use 3d programs?

    I'm sorry If I am making a fool of myself, this is something that I have completely overlooked.

    Cheers

    Rich
    Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form.


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    I'd say its fairly important. I don't think one has to be amazing at 3d to get a job as a concepter, but it will no doubt help in the job hunt. Theres a lot of reasons why it is useful to know but in my experiences its a good skill to have if ever there is a lull in terms of concepts or if you finish ahead of schedule. That way, if there isn't anything to do concept wise for a period of time, you arent just sitting around twiddling your thumbs costing the company money, you can model a few objects here and there and help the 3d artists out.

    In addition to all of that, it's important to be decent at 3d as a concept artist, just to gain an understanding of what can and can't be done in a game world. You are drawing for the 3d artists and its good to keep them on your good side. You don't want to go design something like a bed with all its springs poking out, only to find that when that concept makes it in game it's 438274092374092387 polys. A decent 3d knowledge prevents things like that from happening.

    Cheers'
    "I must not fear. Fear is the mind-killer. Fear is the little-death that brings total obliteration. I will face my fear. I will permit it to pass over me and through me. And when it has gone past I will turn the inner eye to see its path. Where the fear has gone there will be nothing. Only I will remain."
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    Ah ok, you've made some interesting points there ArtZealot, thanks!

    I suppose it doesn't hurt to be more well informed about another practice, especially if your design is going to go through a particular process.
    Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form, Form.

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    Are you sure those job titles aren't "Character Artist", as often times "artists" in video games are the 3d guys. (ie Environment Artist, Creature Artist").

    As a note: I've been told that while you should definitely be familiar with 3d packages, shopping yourself around as a concept guy 'that can do 3d' can be less healthy for you, as they will want you to do 3d on top of your concept job (without paying you more). If you're cool with doing textures and stuff, be my guest

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    I've been wondering this. I have an interest in 3d and a lot of my uni course is dedicated to it so I'm picking up 3ds Max now, but I find it more difficult to dabble around in now I don't have any assigned work - when I feel creative I'd rather draw. I'm not sure whether I should make 3d my priority now since it's a lot weaker than my drawing or painting or whether I should just go along at uni pace and focus on my other art instead

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    I'd say that if you plan on designing (as in, doing concept art) for 3d, such as games, then you should know your way around the tools that will be used, it will allow you to create objects that can be easily transfered to the medium. This ends up minimizing back-and-forth communication, redoing artwork to make it suitable etc., saving your employer money. Also, thinking about how your design will be translated might lead you to a better, more interesting design. If you know that this person will have to be modelled a certain way, you can arrive at a totally different design than you would have otherwise, because the limitations push you to try new things.

    Perhaps you should try translating one of your designs into 3d, it could be a good learning experience? Get a friend or colleague to guide you if you are new to 3d... it can't hurt to know how to use another tool.

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    I think this reply by Coro in his gun demo thread pretty much sums it up;

    Quote Originally Posted by el coro View Post
    Quote Originally Posted by Duq View Post
    Just a question.

    Many times I heard that in gamestudios. artists who knew how to model where slowly pushed into a modeller position because modellers are more needed then concept artists. Now I can understand that in Massive Black things will prolly be different since their is a focus on conceptwork. But when you are not in such a envirioment, is it still smart to use 3d blocking for your concepts? Isnt their some danger involved that by showing that you can model you will end as the guy that models all the props? This question applies more to starting artists then settled ones, since we starters get pushed around so easy.
    why in the world would you hide a valuable skill, or try not to use something that will make you better at your job? that attitude is rediculous. if you dont take the time to learn at least some 3d, you are basically putting yourself at a distinct dissadvantage against concept designers who do know it and can use it to get faster, more accurate concepts. also, if you have more than one skill, it can make you a much more valuable asset to any production team. bear in mind that what makes an effective concept artist goes beyond ones ability to draw cool shit. the things have to be designed properly, follow form and function and all that stuff, which is a skill that most 3d game modellers havent developed as much as a concept artist typically, so if you can design better than most modellers, your job is probably safe. but yeah, as much as im not into modelling all day, im very glad i know it. its made me WAY faster and more effective at my job. having the atttitude against learning it because you might have to use it on the job is going to make you obsolete to this industry within the next 5-7 years...trust me. -c36

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    Quote Originally Posted by Mr Man View Post
    Hello there,


    I'm much more interested in the idea generation and drawing/painting images to then be forwarded to a modeler.


    So I'm a modeler. One thing I wish some concept artists can do is definitely have some 3D knowledge. Not for them to be a spare modeler during crunch time; like just because you can push a few polys around or rotate a few geometries doesn't make you a modeler (sorry if this sounds rude). But man, it'd be so nice if the concept artists think about how their designs translate into actual 3D. You know. Things like " hey man, the perspective from this view of the room totally doesn't match up to the other side", or "dude, that cool space ship that you designed? well, the cockpit interior can't fit into the chasis man", and my all time favourite. "so dude, you got this door here...but uhh, where does it slide into and how does it rotate? there's no room for any of that to happen?"

    In the case of characters, it's usually putting in all sorts of details into the face or the body without thinking how it'd be rigged later on, or how the animators can use it, which makes the life of the modeler difficult, because he'd be the guy that has to translate all those into a mesh that the riggers and animators can use,,,,,

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  11. #9
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    3D is definitely a useful skill to have. Not just from a business aspect, but for things like evironments and industrial-type objects it can be pretty helpful to be able to model them out before you start making artwork renders. Used to have a copy of Bryce although now I just use Sketchup (which is pretty weak but easy to use). It never hurts to try new things, anyway.

  12. #10
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    I'm learning both art and 3D at school (+programming).
    And if I practice either one of the 2, it helps for the other to. I can understand the fact that people require u to know both 2D and 3D, because you need to know what you are creating is possible in 3D or not.
    Actually its not about being possible cuz everything is possible now a days :p But u shouldn't make it harder for he modeler/animator than it already is.

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    Thumbs up

    Definitely learn at least the basics of 3D.

    You'll be able to speak the modellers crazy moon language and understand why they are frowning at those spirally tubes on your low poly character.
    You'll learn all sorts of geeky but handy stuff like about file formats, sensible file structure organistation, aspect ratios, framerates, video editing, all sorts.

    In addition to this I can almost guarantee it'll help your 2d work.
    It forces you to really think about lighting, framing and composition before you hit that render button. I imagine a solid grounding in photography or cinematography would have a similar influence though.

    You'll learn a whole bunch about materials and how they reflect light, atmosphere etc. Why something looks metallic, how to make something look like rubber, plastic, whatever.
    Also unless you're using GI cg lighting is very stark and forces you to think "Yup, need a fill light...there."

    It's also kinda good fun so I'd say grab a demo and get stuck in.

    Edit: Free but watermarked version of XSI
    http://www.softimage.com/products/modtool/

    Free fully functional Opensource 3d app, albeit with a weird interface last time I checked
    http://www.blender.org/

    Wings3d, easy to learn Opensource modeller
    http://wings3d.com/

    Google Sketchup
    http://sketchup.google.com/

    30 day demo of Max
    http://usa.autodesk.com/adsk/servlet...&siteID=123112

    30 day demo of Zbrush (probably should be the last on your list until you understand what it's doing and why..)
    http://www.pixologic.com/zbrush/trial/
    Last edited by Flake; June 12th, 2009 at 10:48 AM.

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    The ideal concept artist (going off of the requirements and preferences listed on some of the big studio job postings) can take a concept from a rough sketch to a walking 3D model. Not saying that being able to do it all is essential to getting a job (there are many working concept artists who are not familiar with 3D), but it will definitely give you an edge.

    Even if you don't have the time/inclination to learn everything there is to know about 3D, at least learn the basics. You're going to be designing things for a 3D world most of the time. Everything you concept and design in your 2D sketchbook has to be translated by a modeler, so understanding the process is going to help a lot when it comes to creating concepts which not only look good but are also practical. Video game companies are businesses, and that means that most of them are looking at you as a potential asset. What can you bring to the table? How much time and money can you save them?

    If your desire is to be a 2D concept artist, then focus on that. But don't ignore valuable tools that can help you along the way. Getting your foot in the door is hard enough without limiting yourself, and I would assume you're more likely to be able to get bumped up into a strictly 2D position once you have some time and experience under your belt. Kekai Kotaki started out as a terrain texture artist painting the ground, not as the CA lead for Guild Wars. Don't limit yourself because of laziness.

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    At the risk of being Captain Obvious, I will say this: If you're completely new to 3D, download Google SketchUp and play around with that. It's like, halfway between a 3D program and playing with Legos. SO easy to learn. Then, if you get a good handle on that and want to go deeper, download Maya PLE and get crackin
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    With SketchUp you, too, can model the Millennium Falcon.

    3d skills mandatory for the Concept Artist?

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    Nah let the 3d technician worry about all that other stuff.


    It's more important to concentrate on the art side of things for the concepter.

    3d isn't really an art, it's more like programming mixed with packing boxes or something, repettative. They like to think that what they do is all that important but all they do is lose the original life of the ideas. I mean the least they could do is learn to "get the idea" but you know, poly's and stuff, the math get's stuck in a wall, O well I'll just remove the most important features of the model to make it work or sit for day's looking for the bug.

    Besides 3D hasn't gone into that an impressive direction, it's like digital music, it's cool and all but the old hand played guitar is still king and 2D games are coming back in a big way. Seeing 3D penguins and clown fishes get's old after a while.

    Let the 3d mags rot man.


    "Secretly cracking up"

    Id reccomend looking into:
    3D Ray tracing and what this could mean for future concept design
    AI, what could possibly in the near future be developed in terms of smart tools and smarter behavioural models to get your artistic ideas across, animation tools, 3d Conception tools and COMPOSITIONAL TOOLS. Hold onto old school composition because it will be a while before they can accommodate that to the fullest and they need it, at the moment it just means more work, and the stuff that has it, generates more appeal.
    The idea of getting art into 3D ventures instead of 3D becoming square and technical.

    I think we’d eventually end up having both be the same, the technical side will meet the compositional side in a more friendly way but 2D won’t disappear because new appeal are being created all the time for more arty stuff.

    Where I think the industry is going into the wrong direction is simulation, simulation strives to recreate artistic appeal mathematically, Instead of doing that they should or someone will eventually discover that it’s a better idea to make artistic design friendlier in 3d terms. 3D should become more human. I think the 3D world got the message when they aired "the making of ice age". The idea of translating human composition and old school animation art's into 3D. It's like the guitar, instead of making something that sounds just like a dude playing a guitar, they should look for stuff that manipulates the sound from a dude actually playing a guitar.

    So be on the look out for new tools that allows for more of that.
    Last edited by George Abraham; June 12th, 2009 at 11:26 AM.
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    Zaorr: I don't know what the fuck you just said, little kid.. but you special.
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  21. #17
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    zaorr: are you being sarcastic or just plain stupid?

    Mr Man:

    Nobody will ever force you to know 3d packages but it's pretty handy if you do know how to model and sculpt.
    I've noticed that i learned how to evaluate shapes by trying to model them.
    It also itsn't the case that your 3d package does everything magicly for you like some might suggest.
    When you have to model something you still need to do your research like you would do it for conceptart or illustration.
    When sculpting a human for example you still need to know your anatomy and at the same time you get the chance to sculpt it in all different views.
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    3D is definitely a useful skill to have.
    And it's fun as hell.

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    zaorr: Go say that on CGTalk and they will burn you alive. Its like saying Michaelangelo was not an artist because he was chipping stone off a slab to create a 3D model. 3D is digital sculpting, saying that isn't art is like saying sculpting isn't art. In fact concept artists aren't artists because they use photoshop which is made from numbers.

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    Quote Originally Posted by rist View Post
    they use photoshop which is made from numbers.
    oh noes my whole life is a lie!!!
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    Personally, I've been supplementing my main Illustration classes with a few 3D animation classes I've managed to slip into at my college, and it has helped me with my concepting a whoooole lot. It really helps to be able to understand things from the modeler's point of view. Modeling my own concepts has really brought home to me exactly why accurate turnarounds on character sheets are so important and why basic shapes are often much more important than surface detail. Also, it's pretty awesome to be able to open up a modeler's Max files and do my own renders so that I can make some pretty sweet paintovers just the way I want them.

    That said, I don't personally enjoy modeling whole characters/props/environments too much because my attention span is short, but I have discovered that I enjoy texturing quite a bit, and that is a pretty sweet thing to be able to add to my portfolio, as I'll soon be a young artist fresh out of college looking for a job, and the economy isn't too hot right now.

    Anyway, I guess my point is that you shouldn't shy away from knowledge that has the potential to make you much more competitive in the industry simply because you're afraid that a potential employer might make you do something you don't enjoy.

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    I like Zaor...he always has a messed up way for looking at things...tho he does have a point about ray tracing.

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    zaorr you have a loooootttt of growing to do lol. good luck!
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    "sighns of life" testing. ;P

    I just heard a little voice saying:"Throw in the 3D isn't art idea"

    Been in and out of 3D. The best part or the larger part of what makes 3D special is non 3d elements, Desighn, Composition, Being able to communicate behaviour, gravity, motion, character etc.
    I just feel the 3D world haven’t reached a place yet where it becomes "easy", there's allot of advancement in modelling though.

    Take an example, a animator designs a sequence where a little squirrel chases an acorn, it's animate, moves in rhythms, have weight displacement etc, all done in animator's sketching or digitally. But all those behaviours are the animator's own sense of design and not digital simulation (Thank god).
    Then the 3D artist has to go and map every frame of 3D to map to changes in the behaviour that was designed in a non digital way. The artist needs to stretch the limb’s and make his arse bigger as it moves etc. They could have done the whole movie to such a degree of depth but that would have taken ages so they limited it to only a few scenes of severe entertainment. They could have used tools that simulate real world gravity but they have tried that and it was ridiculous.

    So I feel 3D will only do so much as far as juiciness goes, the other art's still has the larger part to play, 3D is just a medium that makes certain things easier but also some things a bit more tedious. There are still room for tools to make “THAT” part easier.

    For a concept artist I think adding value to its repertoire would bay be to understand basic 3d and know what limitations 3D application will impose on them. So if you know you are working with low poly that will affect the way you do your design. Instead of having a complex figure apparel you could limit it to just the pockets on the trousers sticking out as rectangle’s to make it low poly but still interesting(3D dynamic).

    But you shouldn’t stick to that idea because that might change; there are worlds of avenues to explore. Raytracing, I hear to little of it, and the raytraycing application is still stuck in the oooold ways of viewing it, What dynamic is there for new applications, things might be part ray tracing and part surface mapping. Where will those little gems be that makes things look hot but still make stuff run as fast as it can? Will these considerations be purely the 3D artists or can those ideas be introduced earlier in the conception phases of design.

    Ultimately, I don't think there is such a thing as a 3D artist and a 2D artist, You have Animator's, Scenery, Character desighners, editors, directors, etc.. 3D is just the medium. There's no law against a concept artist to create his final representations in 3D. It's just a medium.
    We can call 3D art in the way it's currently promoted as picking around in 3D with modeling and scenery desighn, being cool means having created an drooling piece in 3D by incorporating your knowledge, it has personal entertainment value that way, making your work speak for itself and you can learn oodle's but the ooh's and aah's for me is not in not in the fact that it's 3D, it's still just like any other media in the dynamic. As with digital art in photoshop, eventually you wan't to see the stuff that makes your use of photoshop obvious, dissapear.. It's a mark of a photoshop noob, you wan't your efforts and expression or statement to stand out.

    They will eventually make stuff that looks just like reality, Yay... Just like a pencil scetch that looks exactly like a photo... wheee. That's why I feel that microsoft for example creating a surface rendering effect that makes a surface look cross hatched is going in the wrong direction, might have it's uses but simulation will look mechanic, they should rather find ways of getting artist's in more direct controll with compositional ellements while making it easier. The art becomes more artfull or human, more expressive etc. Photoshop enabling you to paint directly on your 3D models? Possibly a better move(Donate valid CD key here)
    At the moment all that considerations needs to be included the long and manual way and most would prefer having that flexibillity of 3D not having been dictated by some toolset's etc, it's still wide open and you can do practically anything, it just takes alot of work. An example of a tool that makes stuff more expressive is perhaps a toolset that simmulates clay. I think there are something called clay sudio or somethng, but the idea is that then all your 3d in the moddeling process behaves just like clay would and it would strive to recreate real world clay possibillities etc. Another idea would be to give someone a pre built world and character set as a boxed christmas gift, the world of Happy feet, Now all you have to do is animate your own little adventures. HAHAHAHAHA!! Real easy.. Not,.. but easier..

    I have always wondered why there weren't any rip off animations from recent productions, where say, the whole 3D work have somehow leeched off some studio network, but it never happens. Pfffff....

    AI is another story, god know's where they are going with that, they might be creating a monster.

    In my next lifetime I wouldn't mind being reincarnated as Richard Branson, Shitloads of money and you fawk around with stuff every day.

    (I was going to say that you don't get payed much for packing boxes but then decided against it.)
    Last edited by George Abraham; June 15th, 2009 at 06:43 AM.
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    zaorr: You are as wrong as anyone on the planet has ever been.

    Put the bong down, dude. At least for a little while.
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    Zaorr: I would disagree with you but I'm not sure what the fuck you're even talking about. Your post is just a wall of text, rambling and incoherent. Are you on meth?
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    Zaorr thank you for your words of wisdom. The entire industry just exhaled after your post. Let us unite via... face palm.
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    zaorr:

    3d skills mandatory for the Concept Artist?

    3d is just something you need to learn just like drawing and painting
    You also don't wake up one day and say " man i can paint all of the sudden" or "i know kung-fu" without even practicing it...
    Programs like Zbrush already give you a very expressive workflow toward manipulating models and the ordinary modeling tools are also getting better and better.

    anyway get your head out of the sand and do some more research
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  36. #29
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    Quote Originally Posted by polydrawer View Post
    anyway get your head out of your ass and do some more research
    Fixed it for you.
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    If you are already clear with the foundations such as anatomy, perspective, composition, color theory, shape, form etcetc, then 3D is pretty much a breeze really. Learning the tools and pipeline is the easier part. I guess sculpting programs do give a lot of flexibility and new ways to create concepts.

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  1. What others skills is a concept artist expected to have?
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