Choosing path in art

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  1. #1
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    Choosing path in art

    I'm in the process of learning 3D right now and it's a lot of fun making 3D environments. I think it'll be cool to create game environment art as a job. But the thing is I also have this obsession with illustration and concept art. With all the time it takes to learn the 3D software and create a simple model somehow I don't think I can keep up designing, learning 3D and studying to improve my art all at the same time. So I'm wondering if I want to be a 3D environment artist if it would be wiser to give up my pipe dream of being as good as the CGHUB front pagers and focus on 3D art instead. I never plan to give up drawing, but purhaps I need to focus more on stuff I can translate to the 3D world vs drawing whatever I feel.

    I guess the reason I feel this way is I've always been inspired by concept artists, illustrators and comics. I want to draw like them. But now in college I need to be serious. I put a lot of effort learning how to draw, but I don't draw my own stuff consistently enough to make a career, whereas I can spend an entire day in Maya or UDK. Perhaps I shouldn't worry about doing the kind of stuff I liked as a kid anymore, and just appreciate the illustrations and designs put out by other people. I sorta got over this with other stuff. Like when I was a kid I wanted to work in live action films, draw comics and animation. I ended up getting to try all of those out and sure they were fun, but I could live without them. Problem is with 3D art vs illustration vs design I'm still obsessed with all of those and I want to create badass stuff, but it's not possible to be badass at all 3. School sorta throws everything in your face and provides a lot of options but they don't make it easy to focus on one of those paths.

    I'm sure there are a lot of you who wanted to do illustration or concept art professionally but ended up taking different artistic paths, maybe you're even a 3D artist now and just draw for fun, so it will be interesting to get your opinion. What path did you end up taking and did it differ from the original influences which got you into doing art in the first place?


    edit: Just to clarify, if I do end up focusing on 3D I will still do the occasional illustration and designs for fun, but more of a hobby than trying to make amazing stuff. And I'm always studying by life drawing, color theory, anatomy, etc cause those are important for every artist.

    Last edited by visoutre; May 22nd, 2012 at 08:11 PM.
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  3. #2
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    Knowing how to use a 3d program has nothing to do with making good environments or concept art. 3d is a tool and art skills are required to make great art or illustration.

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  5. #3
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    I know that, I'm just wondering if there are other people who wanted to do concept art or illustration as a career but ended up doing 3D art instead. And should you try to get good at the kind of art you enjoy looking at or focus on your strengths? Even though all the artists have the same foundations they are spending their time with different tools. Like a 3D artist spends their day in Maya and mostly produce game engine assets from concept art wheras the concept artist focuses on 2D design and shouldn't worry about the game engine. I like to do both, but I sota feel like 3D is the better path. I probably worded my thoughts the wrong way hopefully this makes more sense..

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    Quote Originally Posted by visoutre View Post
    a 3D artist spends their day in Maya and mostly produce game engine assets from concept art wheras the concept artist focuses on 2D design and shouldn't worry about the game engine.
    I dunno man, I think it would be a good idea if your concept guy at least understands the basics of the game engine.

    That way he won't add those spiral tubes to the design, because he understands that small detail will eat your poly budget for the entire character.

    Maybe your engine is awesome at particles / sprites or something and yes, you can give that character a beard made of fire.. These are all considerations that it would be a good idea for concept guy to at least be aware of..

    /2p worth.

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  7. #5
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    Yea you know your really not thinking about something, concept artists have some idea of what game engine is capable of, but still they realize they are part of pipeline and they have limitations, regardless there are concept guys who are learning the modeling side as well so I think this will fade away as time goes on.

    and concept artists do have to think about what they can put in, because it goes to a modeler and if the modeler can't do it they have to do it over anyways.

    Don't wake me for the end of the world unless it has very good special effects

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  8. #6
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    You got a point, it doesn't hurt to have overlapping skills, but still the concept artist won't be doing the modeling, texturing, asset placement unless it's a really small studio or something. Also this isn't the direction I wanted the thread to go in. Maybe I should ask these type of questions on a 3D art community but I thought there would be people here who wanted to be concept artists at first but end up enjoying 3D more and went that route...

    Really 2D vs 3D doesn't matter for the question cause maybe you wanted to do graphic design at first but found narrative art more enjoyable instead, so switched paths, same sort of issue..

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  9. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by visoutre View Post
    Also this isn't the direction I wanted the thread to go in.
    It happens, a thread is a live thing, it often chooses unexpected paths, much like an art career. Sometimes it'll end in a more useful direction than you intended..
    I thought there would be people here who wanted to be concept artists at first but end up enjoying 3D more and went that route...
    I wanted to be a 3d artist then decided I'd rather do illustration or painting.*

    *clarification.

    I tinkered with 3d years ago and thought, yup, this is fascinating really enjoying it. "Yay polygons!" etc. I decided to get a bit deeper into it, explored all the usual freeware options.
    Decided to actually learn about it, bought a pile of books, acquired all the demos and learning editions.
    Eventually I decided to go to school for it, got my HND (basically a 2 year college course that says you know where all the relevant buttons are located)

    Somewhere along the way though I realised that (as a non animator) all this tweaking of camera angles, shaders and render settings was all in the service of trying to produce that final 2d image.

    It struck me that I'd be better off learning how to paint that final 2d image.

    So now I'm currently a ye olde oil painter who knows the difference between a Phong and Lambert shader and also how to optimise render times in MentalRay..

    Too much information?, almost certainly but you did ask..

    Last edited by Flake; May 22nd, 2012 at 09:29 PM.
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    I do a lot of different things in my creative career...from logo design, to 3D modeling, digital illustration, painting, sculpture, concept art and video game design and production. To me the one thing ALL of it has in common are basic art fundamentals and solid design theory.

    My advice is get good enough at one thing to enter that field professionally...then grow and expand from there to your heart's content.

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  12. #9
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    Yeah, Jeff is right on track, most people don't specialize if you want to have a long career. Look at the top guys in any field and they are working in games and movies and illustration, doing more than one discipline is necessary to survive long term.

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  13. #10
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    Good 3D Environment artists still need to know how to draw and paint digitally in order to do convincing textures, so I don't see why you wouldn't want to improve your skills in 2D and 3D at the same time.

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  14. #11
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    Quote Originally Posted by Flake View Post
    It happens, a thread is a live thing, it often chooses unexpected paths, much like an art career. Sometimes it'll end in a more useful direction than you intended..

    I wanted to be a 3d artist then decided I'd rather do illustration or painting.*

    *clarification.

    I tinkered with 3d years ago and thought, yup, this is fascinating really enjoying it. "Yay polygons!" etc. I decided to get a bit deeper into it, explored all the usual freeware options.
    Decided to actually learn about it, bought a pile of books, acquired all the demos and learning editions.
    Eventually I decided to go to school for it, got my HND (basically a 2 year college course that says you know where all the relevant buttons are located)

    Somewhere along the way though I realised that (as a non animator) all this tweaking of camera angles, shaders and render settings was all in the service of trying to produce that final 2d image.

    It struck me that I'd be better off learning how to paint that final 2d image.

    So now I'm currently a ye olde oil painter who knows the difference between a Phong and Lambert shader and also how to optimise render times in MentalRay..

    Too much information?, almost certainly but you did ask..
    It's cool, this is the sort of response I was looking for, except your situation is backwards from mine, haha! Thanks for sharing.

    Quote Originally Posted by JeffX99 View Post
    I do a lot of different things in my creative career...from logo design, to 3D modeling, digital illustration, painting, sculpture, concept art and video game design and production. To me the one thing ALL of it has in common are basic art fundamentals and solid design theory.

    My advice is get good enough at one thing to enter that field professionally...then grow and expand from there to your heart's content.
    Good advice. That's what I was thinking, to focus on 3D environments good enough to get a job. After that I can do more design and illustration since I got a solid skill set opposed to being only mediocre at everything. But I always value the art fundamentals.



    Okay you guys are giving good advice since I clarified, thanks a lot! I'll just spend a few months learning the 3D workflow while continuing my studies with 2D medium. After a period of time I will decide if I should continue to aim for 3D environment artist or go back to my other art goals. Shouldn't hurt, I just feel I need to focus.

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  15. #12
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    To me the beauty of entering as a 3D production person has a next obvious step - starting to sketch and design concepts either on your own or for the team. Really easy transition and opportunity to come up with better stuff. If that's the direction you want to take it of course.

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  16. #13
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    That's what I was thinking too, sounds like this is a good direction after all.

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    It is imo if you're already interested in it. I would highly recommend courses or a program in Industrial Design to complement that direction.

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  18. #15
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    I considered industrial design before, but instead I went with animation because I thought it would be useful to know the principles and at the time I was interested in character design. But now that I'm enjoying environments more I'm doing research into architecture, interior design and vehicle design. My schools library has some good books on those topics, so I check them out and I'm going through some Autodesk course on game and art and design. In addition to internet resources that's how I'm learning, lot's of stuff to go through which is why I don't have time to do the same illustrations I used to! For me coming up with original or functional designs is the most challenging part of the whole process which is also why 3D art is so much fun since the designs are created beforehand and I can just go with it.

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