Video Game Artist Career Outlook
Video Game Art: It's On Another Level
The complexity and depth of video games have progressed at an astonishing rate. Games that were considered state of the art a mere 15 years ago are now a visual marker that demonstrates just how far video game technology and graphics have come.
The depictions of virtual worlds in video games are so photo realistic that a casual glance at the graphics can be easily mistaken for the real world. If you have talent in illustration or art, there are opportunities for you to enter this exciting field.
Select Your Field of Specialization
While artist is a generic term, there are specific jobs within the art department of a video game company. Some of these are:
- Concept Artist - The job of a concept artist is to come up with visual design ideas that meet a set of parameters as set forth by the producers of a video game. A great degree of imagination, creativity, and good communication skills are necessary for this position.
- 2D/3D Animator - 3D artists provide the motion, action, and realism to characters and objects within a video game. They accomplish this by using cutting edge animation and modeling software.
- Illustrator - The job of a game illustrator is to draw character models, backgrounds, objects, 2D art, and any other art necessary for the production of a video game.
- 2D Texture Artist - The surfaces of objects and characters need textures or realistic "skins" for their shapes. Fur, shinny surfaces, lighting effects and stressed concrete are examples of what 2D artists do to fill out the final look of 3D images.
Typical course curriculum covers subjects such as the history of video game art, game platforms, concept art theory, level design, use of 3D modeling and animation software, texture and lighting for games, motion studies, and character rigging.
Since coursework differs from college to college, make inquiries to see if the curriculum fits your needs.
The Job Outlook for Video Game Artists
The demand for multimedia artists and animators is expected to increase due to the market for cutting edge video games. However, competition for job positions will be very high. In spite of this, the industry is always on the lookout for bright new talent.
Typically, production jobs in the video game industry have tight deadlines to meet. Overtime and weekend work is usually required during "crunch time."
How To Get Your Break In the Industry
Try to get a position with an independent or smaller video game company. Usually, these companies are on smaller budgets and as a result, are more willing to take on new talent in exchange for a reduced salary.
Larger game companies sometimes offer internships for artists. Check game publisher websites for information on these opportunities.
Another method is to get a job as a game tester. Although seemingly unrelated to the goal of becoming a game artist, testers have a foot in the door and have access to game producers and those associated with the production of games. Contacts can sometimes be made during the testing cycle and may open opportunities or inside track information for art department jobs.
What Is the Salary of a Video Game Artist?
Entry level positions as a video game artist average approximately $41,500 a year.
Individuals who have six or more years experience in the industry average $66,700 a year. Lead video game artists or lead animators can expect a salary of about $64,000 a year.