My name is Paul aka ConceptGuy, I am the Art Director here at Nerd Kingdom. My job is to guide the look and feel of the project visually and make decisions that impact (hopefully for the better!) the quality of our projects.
Our team is a bit smaller than most established game studios, but we are constantly growing. Currently, I direct a team of 8 artists (including myself) consisting of 3D enviro/prop artists, animators, concept artists, character artists, a special FX artist, and a rigging artist. On an average day, I am usually sitting in on a multitude of meetings with various departments including art, design, code, and management. When not in meetings I’m typically at my desk doing production work or providing feedback to the team on work as it is being developed. I make it a point to sit with the coders and harass them at least once a day. This usually manifests into some form of random nerf gun attacks, asking inane questions and forcing them to explain complex algorithmic solutions as if I’m a 5 year old, or offering my supremely generic advice of “try harder do better,” which usually garners a chuckle. Aside from that, I can also be found working with the marketing department to provide art, screenshots, videos, renders or ideas as needed or requested.
My personal art disciplines range from concept art to environmental modelling with a heavy emphasis on character modelling and texturing in zbrush. That being said I typically jump in wherever I can and do what must be done. I also have extensive experience in UI/HUD design, so those tasks typically land on my plate as well. If I were ever forced to choose a pure discipline it would likely be concept art as I enjoy drawing, painting, creating characters and biome design. Throughout my entire career, I’ve always been something of an art generalists which has made me versatile to the studios I’ve worked for and has opened doors for me to pursue lead and directorial positions. I enjoy the ability to have a larger impact on the overall project and visual design of the game. It is very fulfilling for an artist who’s been working in the industry for many years.
I have been asked by several people over the years how I got into the industry and I always tell them that I drew every chance I could and still do. I fill my sketchbooks and find my influences in all sorts of media including movies, games, comics, animation, and games. Everything fills your mind with ideas to build from and expand upon and every artist has to create a mental bank to pull from. I attended advanced art programs in high school and pursued an art degree in college. Beyond that I worked on my portfolio and looked for opportunities, which meant doing things I didn’t always want to do to get by such as web development and design. I always have and to this day actively work on side projects to further my education and entertain myself. I know enough coding to get by in my personal projects which gives me valuable insight into how art assets need to be put together for a coder to utilize. I worked many years in the indie and mod communities which led directly to professional freelance work and eventually full time studio jobs. My first professional paid contract was as a character concept artist for Unreal 2K4. I later went on to work on Halo Wars, Star Wars, Ghostbusters, Brothers in Arms, Walking Dead, Age of Empires, along with a few other (some regrettable) projects. I have also worked on a multitude of mobile and handheld games for virtually every platform available. I enjoy what I do very much and am extremely grateful to be doing what I’m doing.
If you’ve stuck with the story this far then I thank you for lending me your time. I hope it was informative, inspirational, and maybe a little entertaining. Feel free to contact me if you want to drop a resume or have any questions, we are always looking for potential talent! 🙂
Email: [email protected] Subject: Attn Paul, Art Director
Hey everyone! I’m Ken aka Inkmech, a member of the art team here at Nerd Kingdom. I am a concept designer and modeler. Today I’m going to go over the creation of a new biome. Since this is in the early stages, we’re not overly concerned about style or lore. The goal here is to find cool shapes and colors to create a variation that we don’t currently have in the game.
This whole process is about iteration and ideation. We start off with a group of thumbnails in black and white value to find our forms. For this demonstration we only did nine; however, if you have the time, it is always better to do more. We are staying pretty loose and just focusing on composition. At this point, the art director and the other artists will look over the thumbnails and pick and choose features they like and give feedback. After that, we begin the actual mood painting.
Here we combine parts from some of the previous images (shown above in red lines with arrows) into one image. Upscale! Blur! And then start refining shapes and values. It is all about getting good lighting and making that transition in values to create depth. Overlapping forms and repetition also helps build the depth of the piece. Again, we adjust the values and start adding color in a new layer.
From this point, we concentrate on the color harmony and finding something that works together. There are tons of online tools to help with this. I personally am a big fan of Kuler.
After some more refinements and tweaks we push some edges and effects to give the painting a final push.
Now we repeat the process to give a variety of mood and feels and tweak colors. The more options and renditions we make, the easier it is to refine and create something amazing. This process lays out the foundation for how the generation files are managed and helps with the planning of what plants, animals, and other things should fill out the biome.
Here it is in sequence.
Thanks for tuning in!
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