A game artist creates art for games that are played on computers, mobile phones or gaming consoles. S/he is responsible for all aspects of game development where visual art is required. With new technologies — mobile phones, networking sites — offering gaming facilities, game artists are more in demand for their creative inputs that programmers, in a game development team.
What do they do?
A good artist can put pencil to paper – or work on a computer – and create a mighty superhero. He might admire his work for some time and then file it away.
A gaming artist is luckier. He brings his characters to life – making them play, fight battles, vanquish enemies – do whatever he wants. It was this desire to create worlds of fantasy that drew Sahil Mathur, an artist at Dhruva Interactive, an animation company in Bangalore, to gaming. “I was so passionate about gaming and animation that I chucked the idea of becoming an IIT engineer,” he says.
Making a video game is as interesting as playing it. “When you show the blueprint of the game to your team leader, it has to be projected as a complete source of entertainment even when it exists in the form of a few sketches on a piece of paper,” says Mathur.
Gaming is about entertainment and only very technically sound people can create interesting content. “The work combines art and technology,” says Vishal Gondal, CEO of India Games.
Not everyone has the talent to undergo an animation/gaming course and become a gaming artist. You must have an artistic bent of mind, says Bijoy Thomas, an art director at Dhruva Interactive.
There was a time when we would play video games at either game parlours or on our PCs. Over the last decade, however, there has been a spurt in newer technologies and mediums supporting the gaming industry, like smart phones, networking sites, consoles like Xbox and Sony PlayStation.
Regardless of the nature of the game, it’s indeed a mammoth task to develop one. It takes a team hard labour for days on end to design a game. “It means working late every night until the project gets over. You have to take care of each and every detail of the game. If it’s about car racing, you should have some knowledge of car engines,” says Vivin Chand, faculty member, MAAC, Preet Vihar branch, New Delhi. Similarly, when it’s a game of cricket, you have to factor ball size, weight of bat and the speed at which it strikes the ball. But all this detailing counts at the stage of programming when the game is put through a game-engine software manned by technically proficient hands.
Most of the game development work is outsourced to India from the US, UK or Korea and companies here work at the execution level. They are given the blueprint of a game and have to develop the idea, execute it and send the work back to the clients. Some companies, however, develop the entire game from the concept-building stage to post-production.
A country where gaming is expected to get on the fast track soon, India had its first national-level game developers’ summit in Hyderabad three months ago, where industry gurus mulled over gaming growth trends and patterns in the country. With some luck, we could have a huge gaming industry at par with the IT sector here soon.
. An artistic bent of mind is a must
. Penchant for working very hard. You might end up spending 14 hours a day in front of the computer screen
. Technologically savvy
. Ability to unlearn and relearn to keep up with fast-evolving technology
. Good team player because no one can create a game on one’s own. You have to coordinate with a number of people to create a good quality product
How do I get there?
You should study visual communication in fine arts at a Bachelor’s or Master’s level. You could also get training from any reputable technical institute that offers courses in animation and gaming. If you are aiming to become a game artist, remember that it is a seamless marriage between art and computer science, where art plays a dominant role. If you aspire to become a game programmer, then a degree in computer science with knowledge of C, C++ and Visual Basic can help you get a break with an animation company.