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The Aesthetics of an Idea
News Posted on 12th, December, 2012
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PMS B0NELY tells us why concept art is the heart of a game's design.

At its core, concept art is an illustration form designed to convey the initial ideas and artistic representation of what a video game, comic book, or film could look like. Concept art might seem like a puny grain in an industry’s sandbox, but the impact a work of art can generate is staggering. Concept art, itself, is the driving force behind numerous successful game companies and realizing its role in the development pipeline can allow viewers to appreciate the talent and creativity of the artists.

Concept art is a powerful tool as the forerunning statement to a game. It is seen by every department and team member within a developer’s studio before work begins. The art style for the entire game is often depicted in the conceptual stages and all staff must adhere to the art's styles, color trends, and forms in order to create a cohesive product. This art might convey a cityscape of ancient architecture, vehicles seen throughout a game, or the characters we cast ourselves into as we play. Whatever the subject matter, concept art has the tendency to come from amazingly talented individuals, and these works of art should not go unnoticed.

Knowing how a great piece of art fits into your favorite games may help foster appreciation for it. Included in this article are several examples of concepts for popular titles and their actual in-game screenshots.


Mass Effect 2

Much like illustration, concept art is comprised of pieces that communicate an idea. There are many areas of fine art that are pitted into the illustration category. Images that tell stories or represent objects and atmospheres are illustrative and they can be as complex as scenes from Star Wars or as simple as a cow grazing in a pasture.


Halo 4

Concept art differs from other illustration forms in that the audience is not the regular crowd who plays games, watches films, or reads through bestsellers. Concept art’s central audience is the artists and designers included in the creation of a final product. The influential power that concept art has is often underestimated by those not working within an industry. It is the archetype used to produce the overall artistic style for a game, to communicate with holders of property rights included within a project, and even as leverage to obtain more funding for a venture.


Assassin’s Creed III

The fandom of great game art is only just beginning to bloom. Concept art has given more artists a chance to shine, especially in the gaming industry. Many concepts are priceless pieces of work that find themselves as fans’ desktop backgrounds, favorite poster prints, and more. Many are unaware of art’s driving force behind game design, yet concept art is too powerful a tool to go unnoticed. Many games themselves are creations of art and it is easy to forget that nearly all of them began from a piece of artwork itself.

Written by PMS B0NELY, member of the PMS|H2O Editorial Team. Follow her on Twitter!

Image Source: [1], [2], [3], [4], [5], [6], [7]

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