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Things You Wanted to Know About a Game Artist Career

pongThe Video Game Industry
Video games have come a long way since the days of "Pong" -- a simple simulation of tennis where a dot (the ball) was struck by each opponent's paddle (a long white line).

Today the game industry is a 20 billion dollar business that offers video games so life-like that the line separating reality and virtual reality is becoming much harder to distinguish.

The formula for a successful video game has not changed since the days of Pong -- the game must be entertaining, the game must have graphics, and the game must appeal to the public.

What Does a Game Artist Do?
Most video games are now presented in 3-D for visual appeal and realism. If you want to become a 3-D artist for video games there are several different paths you can go:

artist-and-graphics-pad* 3-D Character Artist/Animator - This type of game artist is responsible for designing and building life-forms or animated creatures. The character artist usually carries the responsibility of making the primary "hero" of the game. 3-D animators are responsible for making the characters move and do things.

* Background Artist/modeler - The characters in a video game are not the only components in the game. They have to interact with each other and their environment.

The background artist is responsible for creating setting for the characters to move around in. The background for a video game can be as simple as a street scene or as complex as the interior of a spaceship. Background artists construct these environments according to the specifications as determined by the game producers.

* Texture Artist - These game artists are responsible for adding the details to 3-D art. A building wouldn't look like a building in a video game if there weren't concrete surfaces on the walls. A monster in a video game would look lifeless if not for the glint and shine of its scaly skin.

exploding-systemBecoming a Game Artist
If you are pursuing a career as a game artist you need specific training at a graphic design college or school with an emphasis on digital art.

A game artist should have a deep background in various drawing disciplines that use computers and computer art software. Those with bachelor's degrees are more likely to be hired by game companies.

Game artists who do 3-D work should be proficient in using modeling and animation software and be able to adapt to new hardware and software packages as they come out.

Strong communications skills are a "must have" trait due to the high concentration of meetings and daily interaction with production staff and programmers.

The Job Prospects
According to various sources in the game industry, a game artist can expect to make about $60,000 per year. However this salary range fluctuates according to which game company you are hired by, how big the game company is, and how high profile the game is.

The job forecast for all artists and related workers is expected to grow about as fast as other occupations in the next decade. The competition for these jobs will be high and the most qualified candidates will secure positions in their respective fields.


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Graphic Design, Bachelor of Science (Online)
  • Campus-based and online degrees include Computer Animation (BS), Digital Arts and Design (BS), Graphic Design (BS), and more
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Graphic Arts (AAS)

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Graphic Design (AS)
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