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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.


studentCareer Training for a Job in Video Game Art
There are various universities and online colleges that offer programs specifically geared towards game art degrees.

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."

buildingHow 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.

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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.

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Schools and Colleges offering design degrees:

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Graphic Design (AS)
  • Online and Bachelor's programs include B.S. in Advertising, B.S. in Web Design, B.A. in Interior Design, and more
  • Curriculum focus on preparing students for a creative career by teaching them the fundamentals of advertising and design
  • Students can choose from courses that cover areas such as advertising concepts, art direction, experience design, and online marketing
  • Over 50 locations nationwide, with a student support team dedicated to helping students grow
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Associate of Science in Graphic Arts and Design
  • Ranked among the Best Colleges in the South in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • Ranked the 13th  Best College for Veterans in 2015 by U.S. News and World Report.
  • A private institution founded in 1977 with a current total undergraduate enrollment of over 15,00.
  • Its student-faculty ratio is 12:1, and 89.3% of classes have fewer than 20 students.
  • Has students attend one class at a time to ensure easy access to faculty and a more hands-on education.
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Graphic Design/Desktop Publishing
ABCO Technology , Los Angeles
  • An accredited computer training academy preparing students to enter the IT industry as Network Engineers, Software Engineers, Web Apps Developer, Website Designers, Programmers, Database Administrators since 2000.
  • Holds A+ certification from CompTIA.
  • Located in Los Angeles, approximately 10 minutes away from LAX.
  • Flexible class schedules offered during day times, evenings and weekends.
  • Helping students start a career in technology within 3 - 9 months.
  • Educates with the mission to serve the needs of the local community and graduates by matching opportunities to skills.
  • Military friendly school.
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  • Financial Aid
BFA, Graphic Design
Berkeley College , Little Falls
Good for Working Adults
  • Ranked among the Best Online Bachelor's Degree Programs in 2015 by the U.S. News & World Report.
  • Admits students throughout the year with quarterly start dates in January, April, July, and September.
  • Provides faculty-monitored internships or job-related assignments.
  • Offers associate and bachelor degree programs in business, design, health, plus certificate programs in practical nurse, medical assistant, and more.
  • Preparing students for professional and personal success since 1931.
  • More than $64 million in Berkeley College grants and scholarships provided during the 2015-2016 award year
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  • Accredited
  • Flexible Scheduling
  • Accelerated Programs
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  • Transferable Credits
A.S. - Digital Design
Good for Working Adults
  • 5 campus locations across Florida.
  • The place for students who want quality career training in the growing fields of allied health, business, design, education, information technology, legal studies, nursing and technical trades. 
  • Member of the Florida Association of Postsecondary Schools and Colleges (FAPSC).
  • FAPSC includes over 1,000 licensed, private career colleges all over the state of Florida, and prepares students in over 200 fields.
  • FAPSC members experience several benefits, including exclusive resources and discounts for FAPSC hosted events and programs.
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  • Flexible Scheduling
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