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Junior Concept Artist

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Similar Titles

  • Associate Concept Artist
  • Assistant Concept Artist
  • Junior Visual Designer
  • Concept Art Assistant

Tools

Most Used:

  • Adobe suite
  • ZBrush
  • Blender

Good to Know:

  • Corel Painter
  • SketchUp
  • Autodesk Maya or Autodesk 3ds Max
  • Substance Painter or Substance Designer
  • Figma or Miro
  • Jira or Trello
  • Slack or Microsoft Teams

Role Summary

A Junior Concept Artist plays a supportive role in the visual storytelling of a game, helping to shape the early visuals that aim to captivate players around the globe. This role revolves around crafting 2D assets from initial sketches to more refined digital paintings that assists the production team in realising the visualisation of the final in-game visuals.

Teamwork is at the core of their position. A Junior Concept Artist collaborates with more experienced members, different departments, and the broader development team. This involves regular discussions and sharing their concepts in structured formats, making sure their visual interpretations are clear and actionable for the team. They also need to be proficient in receiving and applying feedback effectively to their art pieces.

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Knowledge

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The specific understanding around software tools and techniques, terminology and the responsibilities of the role. 
  • Knowledge of basic idea generation and its iterative refinement, such as brainstorming, sketching initial ideas, and evolving them through feedback.
  • Basic understanding of anatomy and environmental design for creating believable characters and worlds.
  • Familiar with the basics of a visual library, such as understanding human and animal forms, and environmental structures.
  • Understanding of foundational principles such as form, colour theory, composition, and perspective, to create visually appealing and coherent art pieces.
  • Has a grasp of basic game development pipelines and related terminology, like understanding the stages from concept art to final in-game assets.
  • Understanding of storytelling elements, such as how characters and environments contribute to the story's mood and theme.
  • Understanding of foundational principles such as form, colour theory, composition, and perspective.
  • Familiarity with digital painting basics and commonly used design tools.
  • Insight into the basic steps of translating stakeholder briefs into visual designs, such as taking briefs, researching, and designing drafts.
  • Awareness of the importance of using photographic references in design.
  • Able to visually communicate verbal requests
  • Understanding of traditional art skills like sketching, drawing, and painting.
  • Ability to break down received feedback to implement it

Skills

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The specific proficiency around technical skills, the types of creative and problem solving abilities, and areas of communication and adaptability.
  • Ability to showcase artistic judgement with attention to detail, like ensuring character proportions are accurate or ensuring environmental lighting is realistic.
  • Basic skills in creating concept art assets like characters, environments, and objects, emphasising on capturing the intended feel and function within the game's world.
  • Capable of basic technical drawing, emphasising accurate representation, like perspective drawing and scale accuracy.
  • Able to use tools like Photoshop, ZBrush, and Blender for digital sculpting and texture creation.
  • Proficient in digital sketching and painting, using tools like Adobe Photoshop or Corel Painter, to create detailed and textured artworks.
  • Demonstrated ability to adapt to different artistic styles such as mimicking historical art or modern design trends.
  • Basic understanding of anatomy and environmental design for creating believable characters and worlds, focusing on proportions and environmental coherence.
  • Ability to translate ideas into visual designs, turning conceptual thoughts into tangible art.
  • Ability to manage time adequately to action and respond to feedback having timelines in mind.
  • Familiar with basic visual language elements essential for game art creation, like colour harmony, balance, and contrast.

Behaviour

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In relation to the capabilities around working within the team, and the expectations when it comes to professionalism or commitments to the role and company culture.
  • Shows a willingness to think creatively and solve problems.
  • Displays a positive team spirit, able to work both independently and collaboratively.
  • Eager to learn and improve skills through practice and feedback.
  • Proactive mindset to contribute with suggestions, advice and feedback when appropriate
  • Willingness to experiment with different artistic styles and techniques.
  • Openness to feedback from multiple stakeholder at different stages
  • Committed to adhering to project timelines and maintaining work standards.
  • Open to learning and adapting to new methods and tools.
  • Flexible in approach, adjusting to various project needs.
  • Shows a passion for gaming and an understanding of its artistic aspects.
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What to expect in the day to day duties:
  • Responsible for assisting with the creation of early-stage concepts, such as character sketches, environment layouts, and object designs, to evoke the game's intended style and atmosphere.
  • Responsible for creating quick sketches and mood boards to visually brainstorm ideas, like thematic colour palettes or character expressions.
  • Entrusted with the task of visually representing the game's moods and themes, in a supportive capacity.
  • Tasked with assisting in the production of artwork for different game components and stages.
  • Tasked with Developing early-stage concepts, such as character sketches, environment layouts, and object designs.
  • Charged with making artwork adjustments based on team feedback.
  • Accountable for assisting in maintaining the artwork's consistent style.
  • Committed to staying updated with design trends and researching reference materials.
  • Assigned to help produce concept pieces under the guidance of senior artists.
  • Duties involve helping with the design of spec sheets that benefit animators and artists.
  • Plays a supportive role in coordinating with leads to ensure artistic alignment.
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Interview One

Did you undergo any specific training or education (formal or informal) that you think was beneficial in obtaining your current role?

Self-taught artist + 15 years in VFX.

Describe your journey into your current role in the gaming industry.

From Matte Paint to Concept Art.

What experiences or qualifications were most critical in securing your current role?

Overall VFX experience, portfolio, good eye for photo-realism.

What were some of the challenges you faced when trying to get into the industry, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for individuals trying to get into your role?

Lack of shipped projects in the portfolio. Essentially you need to find an Art Director who will believe in your skills and have an interview to discuss workflows and expectations.

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Interview Two

Did you undergo any specific training or education (formal or informal) that you think was beneficial in obtaining your current role?

I have completed a Bachelor's degree in Game Art, as well as undergone training as part of a private mentorship (the latter of which I feel has had the most effect on my work, my mindset, and in obtaining my current role).

Describe your journey into your current role in the gaming industry.

I decided to pursue a career in the games industry after completing my A-levels and taking a gap year. From here I first studied a Foundation degree, which then transitioned into a Bachelor's degree in Game Art where students were taught key workflows and principles of 3D production and Concept Art (Although weighing heavier into 3D production).

Looking back, learning 3D production at this time not only helped me understand key industry pipelines and roles (and my place within them), but also greatly benefitted me down the line in my Concept Art studies so that I could utilize 3D as a tool in my 2D work.

After graduating from university, I identified gaps and weaknesses in my portfolio and in my skills and set out to address and fix these issues in order to better myself as an artist and as a potential employee. In doing so, I sought out and underwent training as part of a private mentorship with a Senior industry Concept Artist, where I reinforced and strengthened my understanding of art fundamentals, produced higher-level work than I had been able to produce before, and came out with a healthier and more passionate mindset.

With these new skills and ways of thinking, I had a better base with which I could build a strong portfolio with and set out to set myself personal projects, with realistic timelines and achievable goals, in order to bolster my chances of securing a Junior role in the industry.

Many months after the mentorship, and after adding more completed projects to my portfolio (and analysing and pruning projects that were outdated and weakened my portfolio), I secured an interview which lead to an art test. The fundamental skills, and bettered mindset I had developed thanks to my training lead me to passing the set task and after another follow-up interview, lead to me securing my first industry role.

What experiences or qualifications were most critical in securing your current role?

Any training that an artist can receive, with a talented and skilled teacher that can provide one-to-one feedback and (ideally) paint overs of your work, while providing you with the knowledge of first-hand experiences to influence and better your creative mindset, is in my opinion going to influence that artist's skills exponentially and provide a solid base with which that artist can then go on to produce their work independently and with the confidence they need to continue their progression. For me that was my private mentorship, which I continue to utilize the experience of, and gain from today.

What were some of the challenges you faced when trying to get into the industry, and how did you overcome them? Do you have any advice for individuals trying to get into your role?

A big challenge for my personally was the skill barrier, understanding it and coming to terms with my place in relation to it. Managing my expectations of where my current skills were at at a given time and comparing it to the skills I needed in order to meet the necessary industry-level from artist's work already in the industry, while also keeping myself in a healthy mindset of appreciation for the progress I was making was a very difficult challenge to face.

It is easy to fall into despair when faced with the fact that your current skills aren't at the place they need to be to fit into the industry. But with determination and continued study, it is a great mental exercise to look back at old work and see the difference in skill between past-you and current-you. Mindset can also play a big part in this; not being afraid to try new things and fail at them is the quickest way to learn when compared with avoiding things you're not good at because its more comfortable (something I was guilty of doing in the past). Fail fast and learn from it, you won't lose anything from failing but you will gain tons in new knowledge with which to learn from and apply to future projects.

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