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General Gaming  » Why do games have concept art, anyway?

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33 posts found
  Quizzical

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OP  2/01/13 7:12:38 PM#1

The concept art never gets included into the game itself unless it's at loading screens.  And the game itself pretty much never looks anything like the concept art.

Is concept art mainly a marketing thing, as it does sometimes show up in ads for the game?  Is it mainly done so that games can have nice looking loading screens that nearly everyone will want to skip as quickly as possible?

  Rossboss

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2/01/13 7:16:56 PM#2
Originally posted by Quizzical

The concept art never gets included into the game itself unless it's at loading screens.  And the game itself pretty much never looks anything like the concept art.

Is concept art mainly a marketing thing, as it does sometimes show up in ads for the game?  Is it mainly done so that games can have nice looking loading screens that nearly everyone will want to skip as quickly as possible?

You're missing the point entirely. They use it develop ideas for characters/races/enemies/zones/etc. in the developmental stage of making a game. It's got no use in marketing really and it's an easy way to recycle graphics for loading screens without them being completely boring/plain.

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  jtcgs

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2/01/13 7:17:04 PM#3
I suggest looking up the word concept, then youll know.

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  Quirhid

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2/01/13 7:18:28 PM#4
I've seen plenty games that look exactly like their concept art. They do it in movies too. The 3d artwork is based on concept art - the lighting, the sounds... I guess its sort of a starting point for all the assets and content and showing "this is what we're after" to the development team.

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  Ichmen

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2/01/13 7:21:14 PM#5

games final graphics are created from several versions of concepts.. without consept art the graphic team would have no idea what the hell to doodle and colour for the final item be it a bush a npc.. a house a whole world or whatever. 

alot of people like to collect concept art for the simple fact it looks wicked to compare version 1.0 to the final version 10 of an item. i know i do when i am able. 

the art used in marketing is never consept art as most are rough drafts or scribbles on a napkin... wouldnt really be a good selling point for anything O-o

 

would you honestly buy a minivan if the consept art made it look like a 5yr kid drew a flat bed truck with lopsided wheels? lol

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  rodingo

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2/01/13 7:27:43 PM#6
A 2D artist's concepts are normally made as a guide for the 3D modelers.  Sometimes what gets drawn on paper isn't practial to model/texture/animate.  However, it will serve as a reference to put all of the modelers and texture artists on the same page.

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  Quizzical

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OP  2/01/13 8:20:48 PM#7

Do games then have massive amounts of concept art but only post a tiny fraction of it on the game's web site?  Or does most of a game's artwork get made without having concept art for it?

  Quizzical

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OP  2/01/13 8:21:34 PM#8
Originally posted by Ichmen

would you honestly buy a minivan if the consept art made it look like a 5yr kid drew a flat bed truck with lopsided wheels? lol

If I were going to buy a minivan, I'd want to see the completed vehicle in front of me, not just someone's drawing of what it was supposed to look like.

  VengeSunsoar

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2/01/13 8:34:26 PM#9
Originally posted by Quizzical

Do games then have massive amounts of concept art but only post a tiny fraction of it on the game's web site?  Or does most of a game's artwork get made without having concept art for it?

 Everything you see in the game, every person, bush, tree, building... and many you don't start off on some level as concept art.  An idea in the head, sometimes then on paper, then on screen, then final version.

Every single thing in the game starts this way way, the art, the game mechanics, the skills.  Everything.

As others have said.  Showing some of the original ideas whether they made it in the game or not, is interesting.

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  worldalpha

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2/01/13 8:42:24 PM#10
Concept art is the foundation on which many games are built visually.  It usually progresses, and sometimes the finished product is very different than the original concepts.

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  bonzoso21

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2/01/13 8:53:00 PM#11
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Ichmen

would you honestly buy a minivan if the consept art made it look like a 5yr kid drew a flat bed truck with lopsided wheels? lol

If I were going to buy a minivan, I'd want to see the completed vehicle in front of me, not just someone's drawing of what it was supposed to look like.

Yes, but if you were going to BUILD a minivan, all those engineers' design drawings would be invaluable. We only see that stuff when the developer/publisher found it particularly cool and wanted to share a little something extra with the fans, just like storyboards for a movie scene being included in the extras on a DVD/Blu-ray. It can be a cool way to see how something was originally envisioned by the artist and how much it changed before the final version that made its way into the game/movie/comic/whatever.

  Ichmen

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2/01/13 8:56:30 PM#12
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Ichmen

would you honestly buy a minivan if the consept art made it look like a 5yr kid drew a flat bed truck with lopsided wheels? lol

If I were going to buy a minivan, I'd want to see the completed vehicle in front of me, not just someone's drawing of what it was supposed to look like.

hehe thats exactly what consept art helps create.  typically the art work used in marketing isnt even really consept art its "fake" as real consept art has several stages of doodles before the final product people actually see :P 

the consept art books you get in CE boxes might show case a few pre-alpha designs by most of the time its the post alpha designs you see stacked up to what you actually get in the game.

 

as for games stockpiling it.. they have whole rooms full of papers with doodles from what the skin might look like or the dangly bits will be made out of. 

a simple spear with stone tip, wood shaft and dangles could be doodled like 40 times before you finally get a trible style stone spear with feathers dangling.  they might have one with bone tip or shaft or skin or plants dangling off it ect :P

ofcourse they wont post all of that online just pick the top best they deem fits with the final item.  you would see the final consept art that is used for final print as well as the top 1-3 maybe designs that they used as a guide to improve on :)

from what i have seen of "behind" the scenes of game development the art/design team has the hardest yet most enjoyable job to do.. cause they get to screw around making the items lolol

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  ignore_me

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2/01/13 8:57:15 PM#13

There are two things here:

Why do they have concept art?

-To build the game

 

Why do they show it to you?

-So that your imagination fills in the blanks with visions of adventure, exploration, and pleasure center of the brain Fun.

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  Quizzical

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Posts: 12766

 
OP  2/01/13 8:59:41 PM#14
Originally posted by VengeSunsoar
Originally posted by Quizzical

Do games then have massive amounts of concept art but only post a tiny fraction of it on the game's web site?  Or does most of a game's artwork get made without having concept art for it?

 Everything you see in the game, every person, bush, tree, building... and many you don't start off on some level as concept art.  An idea in the head, sometimes then on paper, then on screen, then final version.

Every single thing in the game starts this way way, the art, the game mechanics, the skills.  Everything.

As others have said.  Showing some of the original ideas whether they made it in the game or not, is interesting.

So basically, some artists find it easier, quicker, better quality, or whatever to draw something on a piece of paper before making textures and vertex data that the computer can handle?  And that's what concept art is?

If it's only "sometimes" on paper, wouldn't that mean skipping the concept art stage the other times?

As for game mechanics and skills, yeah, you probably need some scratch work for that sometimes.  But that's not really concept art.  I've never seen a game web site post pages of handwritten computations.

  MadnessRealm

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2/01/13 9:01:49 PM#15
Originally posted by Quizzical

Do games then have massive amounts of concept art but only post a tiny fraction of it on the game's web site?  Or does most of a game's artwork get made without having concept art for it?

Using FFXIV ARR as an example because it's the one that comes to mind, in one of their Live Letters, Yoshi-P (nickname of the producer) showed the concept art for the Housing system. On the concept art, you had the same house drawn from different point of view (back, front, top, etc), then there was a specific art on the same paper that covered the small balcony with measures around it so the designers who will transform those arts into pixels know the proportions they need for the different pieces of the house, they know the colors they need, the style, etc.

The same goes for pretty much anything that goes into the game. Weapons, Armors, Bushes, Herbs, World Design, even down to the little " ! " on top of quest NPCs. It's pretty much 'essential' to the game. However, it's that part of the game that is usually never seen "as is" until they release it in a different format (like in Collector Editions, adding images at loading screen, etc).

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  Quizzical

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OP  2/01/13 9:01:59 PM#16
Originally posted by bonzoso21
Originally posted by Quizzical
Originally posted by Ichmen

would you honestly buy a minivan if the consept art made it look like a 5yr kid drew a flat bed truck with lopsided wheels? lol

If I were going to buy a minivan, I'd want to see the completed vehicle in front of me, not just someone's drawing of what it was supposed to look like.

Yes, but if you were going to BUILD a minivan, all those engineers' design drawings would be invaluable. We only see that stuff when the developer/publisher found it particularly cool and wanted to share a little something extra with the fans, just like storyboards for a movie scene being included in the extras on a DVD/Blu-ray. It can be a cool way to see how something was originally envisioned by the artist and how much it changed before the final version that made its way into the game/movie/comic/whatever.

I would certainly hope that whoever is tasked with building the minivan would have far more precise specifications than a mere doodle.  E.g., this part must be exactly this many cm long, this many cm thick, made out of this material, etc.

  VirgoThree

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2/01/13 9:09:28 PM#17

2D concept art is generally much more efficient when iterating through various ideas (concepts) on what you want to visually achieve in the game.

Let's take World of Warcraft for example or any MMO. I can guarantee you that blizzard probably went through several or dozens of iterations on just the Human Male model and what the overall look and feel should look like just in the 2d concept art phase. It is just so much faster to do quick sketches then it is to create and adjust 3D models and texture map them. Not to mention you may want to see how that character would look in different poses/expressions/environments.

Concept art also serves as a base line reference for 3D modelers/texture artists/animators. Sure certain things could be modeled on the fly, but for something to come out truly great you are going to want to iterate ontop of an already strong foundation as your reference.

With that said, I do not believe it is a good idea for the concept art to be taken as law. This probably depends on the studio, but the model should be derived from the art. However, the model should go through several iterations of its own so that it coherently fits with the final production environment.

  rojo6934

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2/01/13 9:10:37 PM#18
Originally posted by Quizzical

The concept art never gets included into the game itself unless it's at loading screens.  And the game itself pretty much never looks anything like the concept art.

Is concept art mainly a marketing thing, as it does sometimes show up in ads for the game?  Is it mainly done so that games can have nice looking loading screens that nearly everyone will want to skip as quickly as possible?

If im not mistaken Blade & Souls graphics are exactly the same as the concept art, and i so love it. More companies should do that.

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  Quizzical

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OP  2/01/13 9:35:45 PM#19
So basically, concept art is an internal step in making game artwork, and game development teams make however much concept art makes sense as internal steps to produce the best artwork they can on a given budget?  And then what they show on a web site is kind of like a "how the game was made" type of thing, that only shows some token stuff and leaves out the overwhelming majority of what they actually did?  That would explain why I didn't get it:  I never saw the point of "the making of..." for movies or whatever.
  VirgoThree

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2/01/13 9:41:34 PM#20
Originally posted by Quizzical
So basically, concept art is an internal step in making game artwork, and game development teams make however much concept art makes sense as internal steps to produce the best artwork they can on a given budget?  And then what they show on a web site is kind of like a "how the game was made" type of thing, that only shows some token stuff and leaves out the overwhelming majority of what they actually did?  That would explain why I didn't get it:  I never saw the point of "the making of..." for movies or whatever.

I'd say this is a fairly accurate assessment. It isn't really exciting material to put a character reference sheet on the website, but a color rendition of a hero battling a dragon tends to garner the attention of potential customers. The former is used more as technical reference, and the latter a mixture of marketing material, and setting the mood for a particular scene.

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