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Why do games have concept art, anyway?

QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon

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?

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  • RossbossRossboss Runes of Magic, TXPosts: 240Member
    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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  • jtcgsjtcgs New Port Richey, ILPosts: 1,777Member
    I suggest looking up the word concept, then youll know.

    “I hope we shall crush...in its birth the aristocracy of our moneyed corporations, which dare already to challenge our government to a trial of strength and bid defiance to the laws of our country." ~Thomes Jefferson

  • QuirhidQuirhid TamperePosts: 5,969Member Common
    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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  • IchmenIchmen Winnipeg, MBPosts: 1,228Member

    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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  • rodingorodingo Posts: 2,346Member Uncommon
    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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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon

    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?

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon
    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.

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,317Member Uncommon
    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.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • worldalphaworldalpha Milton, ONPosts: 403Member
    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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    Mike
    Working on Social Strategy MMORTS (now Launched!) http://www.worldalpha.com

  • bonzoso21bonzoso21 Michigan, USPosts: 108Member Uncommon
    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.

  • IchmenIchmen Winnipeg, MBPosts: 1,228Member
    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_meignore_me Apple Valley, CAPosts: 1,987Member

    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.

    Survivor of the great MMORPG Famine of 2011

  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon
    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.

  • MadnessRealmMadnessRealm Montreal, QCPosts: 2,716Member Uncommon
    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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  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon
    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.

  • VirgoThreeVirgoThree Tarzana, CAPosts: 1,220Member

    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.

  • rojoArcueidrojoArcueid hell, NJPosts: 6,787Member Uncommon
    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.

    image
  • QuizzicalQuizzical Posts: 14,788Member Uncommon
    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.
  • VirgoThreeVirgoThree Tarzana, CAPosts: 1,220Member
    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.

  • greenreengreenreen Punchoo, AKPosts: 2,101Member Uncommon

    I have to make a concept in my job too. Before we make a website there is a design of it in photoshop that points out why things are the way they are. Sometimes that starts on paper but clients don't see the paper because it's too crude. Often we have to develop 3 designs with 3 unique feelings implied for the client to choose from. Usually the same functionality is there, it's just showcased different ways. For us, it defines the sizes of screen space used early in the project. That can then decide fonts and having the visual we can play "far off" games. What does the design look like zoomed out as if someone is sitting at a cubical in the distance, what stands out, is the company name displayed etc. Color changes can help the distance view if it's important to them. 

    While I haven't made a game with a large studio I expect they use it the same way, it's a way to put the visual in your head on paper. They may start with line drawings and whiteboarding too, depends on the size of their team. One person can use paper, with a team, the whiteboard is better to start with then copy from.

    Why they release them to us is probably because they paid for the work so it performs dual duty to let us see them after the models are complete.

    Someone working in photoshop isn't using less talent than on paper. In fact, I draw doodles great on paper with liquid ink and hash shading with .5 mm pens. I find the mouse so much less able to do what my hand can that I would say someone skilled in photoshop deserves a little more than a hand drawing in pay to get that right. My best designs in photoshop were back when I used a marble mouse, good luck finding one with a scroll wheel and the marble not on the thumb. I think that mouse resembles how a pen is used and makes a difference because you push with your first and middle finger with the marble in the center as if you were controlling that smaller tool. They do have products that cater to hand drawers, tablets. I'd like one of those to see if it's like hand drawing but haven't looked at them for years.

  • RoxtarrRoxtarr Freeland, MI, MIPosts: 1,122Member
    It's not made for loading screens.  It's to give 3D model makers a heart attack.

    If in 1982 we played with the current mentality, we would have burned down all the pac man games since the red ghost was clearly OP. Instead we just got better at the game.
    image

  • VengeSunsoarVengeSunsoar Posts: 5,317Member Uncommon
    Originally posted by Quizzical
    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.

     Concept art is not limited to paper, especially when using computers, it is the first drawings the visual representation of the idea that is in your head.  Thats it.  It is not the final product.  The first idea goes through many many changes.  This can be on paper, on a napkin, or on the computer. 

    Get ready for this... it is a concept of what you want to do.

    Other forms of medium may call it a "sketch."

    When writing a book one of the first things to do is write our your idea.  When writing a paper you once you know your topic you first write the idea you want to convey.  When making a drawing you start out with simple sketches.  When writing a program you first write the purpose.  These are all concepts.  The art in a game is the exact same thing.  Not a difficult thing to grasp.

    Absolutely every single thing humans on this planet purposefully make, everything without exception start out as an idea, a concept that over time becomes more solidified until you have the real item before you.  (hmm I guess accidental children would break this rule but theyn they aren't purposefull are they :)  ))

    edit - the first code is not concept art but it is still conceptual, a rough draft.  They absolutely could show us this on a load in screen however most would find that totally boring and the few that didn't find it boring... well the game doesn't want them to know the code.

    Quit worrying about other players in a game and just play.

  • madazzmadazz A town, ONPosts: 1,564Member Uncommon
    Wow... someone has no idea of what concept art is. Concept art is used in many industries (including what I do). You typically only see a fraction of it, but it is used for different reasons. Some pieces are so great you may even take it further and create full fledged artwork out of it. Kind of a silly question considering one could just look up the word "concept".
  • ZairuZairu Portland, ORPosts: 469Member

    how does the genius computer wizz not understand this?

    i would answer, but the very first reply pretty much nailed it.

  • IchmenIchmen Winnipeg, MBPosts: 1,228Member
    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.

    pretty much. to put it bluntly its cheaper to pay 20 graphic artists money to make 100 consept arts of the same item or area, and pick the best 2 of that to roll with in to 3d animating and texturing. 

    simply because if you are paying 10k usd for a person to draw you a tree and you find out after they put a month in to designing and texturing and animating it all.. that the tree you wanted for a desert bio was a pine tree from a artic one.. you just wasted money and a whole lot of time lol. 

     

    instead you sit down and go OK draw me a house with a door and a patio with a nice tree out front. then you get back 10 papers with differant doors/ walls/ roofs/ trees and you mash them all together and BAM you have dagoba or helms deep ect... it sounds really pointless but its one of the main building blocks in any game or product design lol

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