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  1. #1
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    So, why does art just seem exponentially better these days?

    Are there simply far more artists these days when compared to 10...20... 30.. etc years ago? Would that be why the standards seem to be so much higher? Anytime I notice something from 10 years ago... a comic, video game art (not in-game, just promotional type stuff), or just any sort of art... it looks terrible. It seems like an average proffessional artist 10 years ago would be laughed at and told to learn anatomy if put here today. So, what is so different? Do you think in the year 2020 the type of professional stuff you see these days will look like amateur art? Is creativity just an evolving thing as everyone builds and branches off everyone else? I still laugh everytime I see that old megaman cover. Granted that was even made fun of at the time (lacks even the most basic intro knowledge of anatomy and perspective), but still was the cover reguardless. That's an extreme example... but looking at old game magazine covers and some old comic books.... they're not much better.

    So, why does art just seem exponentially better these days?


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  3. #2
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    it's more established now. there's a lot more money in the business. they can afford to hire better artists.

    art for games isn't made by guys in their garages, and they don't use pictures of Favio anymore.

  4. #3
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    i think at the time that cover came out, the video game industry was not nearly as powerful as it is today. promo work was done as cheaply as possible because people would buy a video game just because it was a video game...video games were still pretty new and a bit of a novelty. today...video game companies are multi-billion dollar corporations that hire high end graphic design firms and high-price freelancers. also, consumers expect more from a $50 price tag. this is true of almost all product and promo design...the packaging is definitely factored in to a consumers purchasing decisions. art isn't necessarily better now...it's just more marketable.
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  5. #4
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    hahahhaha@ that cover.. i never knew how bad those were.. i think i should go look at all my nintendo games and have a laugh

    but really though, when you were 7 years old or whatever when that came out, did you even look at the cover? You wanted what was inside

  6. #5
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    Yea, I know the game industry wasn't as glamorous and everything back then, but it's still more than that. Just dig up anything old and the art seems mediocre at best.

  7. #6
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    Sinix,

    I think you're being a bit short-sighted in your assesment. Most of the stuff that you are referring to (comics, video games, etc.) were in their infant stages 20 or 30 years ago, and could not afford, or did not know where to look for top notch artists. The world is a lot bigger than what you are considering. Also, keep in mind that most of what you are looking at is PRINTED. Printing technology and color reproduction have gotten significantly better in the last 20 years, not to mention that colors will fade on an old printed piece, and the pieces will accumulate wear and tear.

    But, you made the statement:
    "Just dig up anything old and the art seems mediocre at best."

    OK, how about Maxfield Parish, N.C. Wyeth, Alphonse Mucha, or what the hell, even Toulouse-Lautrec. All of these guys worked in graphic media (i.e. printing, posters, billboards, etc.) I challenge you to point out someone "exponentially" better than these guys.

    Research this link:
    http://www.societyillustrators.org/
    I think you will find that there were many excellent artists in days gone by.

  8. #7
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    Quote Originally Posted by kmscottmoore
    OK, how about Maxfield Parish, N.C. Wyeth, Alphonse Mucha, or what the hell, even Toulouse-Lautrec. All of these guys worked in graphic media (i.e. printing, posters, billboards, etc.) I challenge you to point out someone "exponentially" better than these guys.
    Hahahah. Awesome.

  9. #8
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    or saul bass
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  10. #9
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    Well, don't get me wrong, I never said there weren't any good artists. Just that the average unknown art quality wasn't very good. Maybe being an artist is just much more popular now. Then again, I guess it's the same with music, writing, and everything else.... the individuals might not be better, but the scene, variety, and quality standards as a whole has grown exponentially.

  11. #10
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    Actually as far as the position of an artist being more popular now, those golden-age illustrators from the early part of the century were treated like MOVIE STARS. Nowadays, even those reaching the technical level of Leyendecker or Parish are pretty much unknown to the general public. With the exception of Thomas Kinkade that is, heh heh...

    But I have noticed a dramatic increase in the average quality of entertainment art over the last couple o' decades. I contribute it to a couple of factors.

    first, the wide availability of entertainment art and information on the subject, largely thanks to the internet and just the steady decrease in publishing costs. How many of us were inspired to go into concept art by any number of "the art of..." movie books? Almost all, I bet.

    Which brings me to the second factor, Star Wars. Haha, seriously, the sci-fi genre was pretty much in the toilet when Star Wars came out. It single-handedly brought the genre back to life and paved the way for all the big sci-fi/fantasy movies of the 80's up to today. And the sci-fi/fantasy genre is the heaviast in terms of production design, leading for more demand for artists....


    Then theres computers. Theres no way I would paint nearly as much as I do now if I had to crack open the turpentine and oils every time. now its as easy as picking up the wacom pen...and cleaner too...and less poisonous!

    the sad thing is that as high as the quality may get now, theres always the chance it'll come crashing down again thanks to some outside influence. look at where western art was at the height of the Roman Empire, then came the medieval ages and everythung turned crappy again. ugh.

    but at least they had cool armor!


    -Sean

  12. #11
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    this is obviously all subjective...but i don't know that the quality of entertainment art has really vastly improved over the last couple of decades. i think it's definitely become more polished and mainstream, but look at comic books in the 30's - 60's. Some people look at those and say, "Jack Kirby? ugh..." but alot of people actually prefer that work to the over-muscled, ridiculously large breasted, cookie cutter heros that dominate comics today. and as with all things, there are exceptions...arty books like 30 Days of Night or Y the Last Man that don't resemble Jack Kirby, but are also a huge step away from Marvel and DC superheros.

    so i leave you with this...So, why does art just seem exponentially better these days?

    sometimes i like this art better than Doom 3 or the new Ninja Gaiden.
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  13. #12
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    I think another factor to add to McNallyism's tally is our standard of living allows us to mess around and be artists.

    More people are going to art school now, and parents are more supportive and risk-taking. If the kid doesn't make it, they just live at home after college until something works out. Loans can always eventually be paid off.

    It's definitely more robust and competitive than in the past. A lot of that is thanks to videogames, which created a lot of jobs.

  14. #13
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    i also believe a strong factor to why art could seem better is because: #1 theres such a large amount of artists who are branching into the fantasy field, instead of fine art. #2 The internet allows artists to be exposed to so much more

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    Davi and McNallyism both mentioned the internet, and I'd like to third that opinion. I think that the exposure and accessibility that the internet brings (to just about everything) is a huge factor. Not only in allowing new artists access to other artists to learn from, but also just in realizing that it's a viable and respectable field. Plus the ability to self publish and self promote are a factor.
    "Every generation sees the past though the lens of its own time." - Thom Hartmann

  16. #15
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    They definitely had some sorry-a** covers for games about 10 years ago. For reasons others have stated-- they didn't pay a lot, they couldn't find lots of artists to choose from because there was no internet, and they pretty much didn't care about the cover (no big marketing budgets). They used to find artists through friends of friends--whomever seemed like they could do something more than stick-figures, and let them have at it.

    At New World Computing we went from having someone's friend, to an in-house guy do the Might and Magic covers, to Larry Elmore and Boris.

    The marketing guys had to scramble to find any fantasy artists back in the old days. When the Spectrum books started coming out, that helped. Now you can find thousands of guys from all over the world with sites up on the internet.

    And now there are all kinds of schools training people. Before, this kind of career didn't even exist.

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