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Game art for dummies (programmers)

February 9, 2008
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I’m a complete dumb when it comes to game art. As a programmer I feel incredbly challenged by the complexity of this task. And don’t doubt it, the art department makes a big difference in any game project.

If I could put it in one sentence I’d say: “You better watch out for your game art!”

I’m not going to make a complex essay about the subject. If you want nice information on game design and art, take a look at lostgarden.com.

But I’ll touch this subject, even being a game programmer “only”.

I’ve became frustrated with artists these past couple of years. Their job is fundamental but ours is too. And the dificult thing is to find a digital artist that wants to “do the dirty job” of learning all the specific details about GAME art, and commit to the task without having to earn a fortune in doing it. I KNOW, artists are different. Maybe they suffer a lot because they can rely on doing “enterprise art” as we do (we can always do enterprise software if not making money from games YET). The thing is: game art is important and you’re left with three options:

1 – Hire an artist to do the jog professionally;
2 – Use free game art (and that’s dificult to fit);
3 – Do simple games that fit your artistic skills.

I don’t remember where I saw an essay about this, but I’m going to put a fourth option on this list:

4 – Learn the basics and do it yourself.

What? How can an artistically chalenged technitian monkey learn how to assembly game art?

There’s plenty of resources and tutorials on the web, but after learning how to master Blender (not discussing modeling here!) I found a very nice book on game art: 3d game textures and this is the result after only two days:

I managed to do this texture for a barn without the use of a single real world picture and now I’m quite happy with other results I achieved in my new learning curve.

If even a programmer like me can do the job, so nobody should feel limited in any way. Go try it out!

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