What Are the Requirements to Be a Game Artist?

A game artist or video game artist brings the visual elements in a video game to life. If you want to combine classical art training with computer and graphic design, a career in game artistry might be right for you. Most of these professionals have completed a college-level certificate or degree program. Schools offering Game Production degrees can also be found in these popular choices.

Career Overview

Game artists create the visual environment depicted in video games. Game artists employ strong design and drawing principles to create characters and backgrounds related to the game's subject. Drawings and creations are fleshed out in 2D and 3D using computer programs such as Adobe Photoshop, Adobe Illustrator, and Autodesk Maya.

Game artists use programs such as these to handle texture, animation, modeling, and rendering in order to create game on-screen worlds and populations. Many game artists have classical art training, which helps in creating visually-appealing graphics.

Important Facts About Video Game Designers

Median Salary (2014) $83,410
On-the-job Training Moderate-term on-the-job training
Job Outlook (2012-2022) 6% (for Multimedia Artists and Animators)
Similar Occupations Computer programmers, web developers, art directors

Sources: U.S. Bureau of Labor Statistics, O-Net OnLine

Education Options

To become a video game artist, you will need to earn a degree in a related field, both to appeal to employers and to learn the necessary technical and artistic skills. Programs are available with different focuses and levels of time commitment. Some programs require that you have computer and software experience before enrolling.

Certificate Programs

Whether you're an established artist looking to expand your skills or simply want an introduction to the field, game art certificate programs provide classes in visual design, game analysis, and geometric pattern design. To begin a certificate program, you'll need to have related software experience in Autodesk Maya and Photoshop. Certificate programs consist of seven to eight courses and can take as little as six months to complete.

Associate's Degree

A two-year degree in video game art can provide you with the background for an entry-level job in video game or multimedia design. You'll need access to a computer with required graphics software to embark on this program. Topics covered in an associate's degree in video art include graphic imaging, 3D computer animation, and character design.

Bachelor's Degree

A bachelor's program in game design or game art and animation provides a broad background in digital graphics and design useful for obtaining a job as a game artist. Bachelor's degree programs focus on creating a foundation in visual art and graphic design, introducing students to advanced concepts (such as 3D modeling), and instructing individuals on the use of state-of-the-art computer programs. Programs typically include fully realized design projects that can be used as part of a portfolio, which showcases a game artist's abilities and work.

Skill Requirements

Beyond knowing how to draw and use graphic design programs, game artists learn to be sensitive to how their characters and environments affect the game-play experience. Some use real-world historical reference points in creating true-to-life worlds. Others study anatomy and musculature in order to create characters that move exactly as they would in real life.

To continue researching, browse degree options below for course curriculum, prerequisites and financial aid information. Or, learn more about the subject by reading the related articles below:

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