Wednesday, 25 November 2009

Why the Art Director is so important?

Video game art directors are responsible for the quality of art incorporated in the video games produced under their supervision, a games visual style, and is the driving force behind the whole visual development of a game. They need to have a background in fine arts, so that they are knowledgeable about the technical aspects of drawing, texturing, and colouring. They need to have a good amount of creativity, as they are often required to visualize how a particular section of a game would look once it is finished, a video game art director must also have good knowledge of computer operation and also of software used in graphic designing.

They usually manage a team composed of both amateur and experienced designers, and as such, having management skills is always advantageous. They are often required to work closely with people having different skill levels, so being able to assess the strengths and weaknesses of the different artists on the team and assign the right task to the right people is a key role. Video game art directors also need to be open towards suggestions from other team members. In a large team, every member is likely to have a unique opinion regarding how a particular level should be designed, or how a texture should be incorporated in the game environment. It is the job of the art director to take all these suggestions into account, select the best one, and develop it further with personal inputs. Obviously in industry it is highly important to value the opinions of your co-workers no matter what their position.

The Art Director will work with the illustrators, modellers, textures and animators to achieve the objectives set forth by the Game Director in a timely and thorough manner. The Art Director will report to the Game Director. He or she will also have to keep track of outstanding tasks, make sure stuff gets turned in on time, watch out for kinks in the production pipeline, and resolve any problems that come up.

In the initial stages of a games design the art director will also help to budget and schedule the art production; for example one task would be to weigh the pros and cons of using expensive art resources that are very good or cheap ones that are not as reliable.

Clearly a high level of skill is needed in the technical aspects of drawing as well as knowledge of materials and a broad knowledge of artistic styles; I also feel that even some non-artistic fields focusing in the art direction may be required such as project management. Most importantly I feel that passion is the key quality in this line of work.

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