An integral part in the process of creating great games is the artwork. Creative that does not tie into the theme and atmosphere of the game may not perform well while great art that shows the game content in the best light possible can lift a game to greater heights. We talked to Noora Klaavu, artist on the hit Tower Defense game, Castle Creeps TD to learn more about the art process and what’s involved in bringing our characters, features, and games to life!
I’ve been creating character art and concepts for as long as I can remember, but it’s previously always been in 2D form. Joining Outplay provided me with the opportunity and spark to create characters on a whole new level – literally - by adding another dimension to them! I had observed all the other talented artists around me and started practicing 3D modeling in my free time. My desire to learn didn’t go unnoticed, and I was given the chance to prove myself.
Learning is encouraged at Outplay, as long as you’re active about it: there are so many talented people willing and ready to answer your questions, not to mention the online courses provided. It’s exciting to see your concepts turn into 3D modeled objects, and it’s incredible how much there is to learn. After my first model, the Goblin Wagon, I got to work on enemies, dragons, heroes and more.
Game art is unique and interesting to me because all the art has a purpose, and the artist will have to work within certain constraints – I believe limits can feed creativity. Low-polygon characters have a vertex budget, and all art should look clean and bright, even in tiny size on the screen. This means that you can’t put a necklace on an ogre lord that has a hundred skulls on it… So, I only used three! When the concepts are created in 3D, the characters have to make sense, even if they are imaginary. Not just with proper anatomy, but with the armor, general structure and materials among other things.
Overall the day-to-day working life of a game artist probably isn’t so different from that of other creative professions. The character concept workflow starts with our designers giving me some vital information on a character, and I start rough sketching from there. Working on it, I will regularly post updates to our shared space so anyone can see the progress and comment on it to provide helpful suggestions. I will spice the pictures with some fun flavour text and other information, so it is easier to get a full picture of what sort of character we’re talking about.
A green lit concept will have drawings from all angles, so the 3D process can run smoothly. That procedure involves modeling, texturing, rigging, posing, as well as lighting and rendering for the high-polygon models.
For anyone looking to continue or start a career in the industry, a good attitude can take you far. It’s great to have a passion for what you do. Embrace constructive criticism and make your portfolio shine! There are so many tools available nowadays to be creative, practice and learn new things. Despite what some might think, the games industry is not just “fun and games” – it can be challenging, hard work, which in my opinion just makes it so much more rewarding and fun in the end.
Do you have a creative flair and the skills to help bring our next titles to life? From Concept Artist to UI, check out our latest roles here.