Gaming is a budding industry, and many tech-savvy youngsters are inclined towards gaming a lot more than any other technical skill. However, game programming and game art courses involve learning various skills like coding, programming, graphic designing, user interface, experience designing, etc. This overall view of the game design process makes game art courses really interesting and open good career opportunities for people with a vivid imagination and a knack for gaming and creating interactive and interesting games.
Role of a Gaming Technical Artist –
The role of a gaming technical artist is way more complicated than a game designer or a coder. The technical artist at large works as a bridge between the coders and the artists. However, they aren’t solely responsible for the game’s design or coding; rather, they have to ensure that assets and pipelines are created in such a way that the aesthetic vision is preserved while also meeting or exceeding the requirements of whichever platform the game is running on.
While the artists’ primary job is towards the creative side, like designing the characters, props, and environments, like creating VFX and several other effects, the job of a gaming technical artist is to ensure parity and balance between two opposing sides of the game production – preserving artists’ high-end vision, while ensuring it is reasonably easy to program and run. They ensure that when the design reaches the coders, it doesn’t lose its creativity and beauty, and thus, they act as the bridge between the game designer and coder.
Thus, the job of a gaming technical artist is partially creative and partially technical in nature. So, it is crucial for a gaming technical artist to have hands-on experience in both designing and coding to rectify the errors in both.
Types of Gaming Technical Artists –
Widely speaking, there are two types of gaming technical artists –
- UI Technical Artists
- Character Technical Artists
- UI Technical Artists: UI means User Interface, and it involves understanding the psychology of the end-user. When a technical product like an application or a game is created or designed, the coders may not be able to take the psychology of the end-user, i.e., the application’s users, into account. The result of this is the creation of an unsuccessful app. Here, the role of a technical gaming artist is –
- To ensure creating a prototype by using the UI framework before creating the final product.
- To test the usability of the prototype.
- Have a good understanding of animations, designs, graphics, music, sounds, etc.
- Excellent knowledge of typography, motion graphics, and color theory.
- Character Technical Artist: A Character technical artist, on the other hand, has to take and work on the character models and essentially, make them usable for animators and programmers/coders :
- Build controls for the animation team.
- Handle any deformation drivers that can affect the character.
- Adding dynamic physics to facilitate the smooth flow of the animated character.
A character technical artist hence needs to have a strong understanding of animation.
So, it can be said that a technical gaming artist has to enroll in a professional game art course.
Becoming a Gaming Technical Artist –
The ultimate path to becoming a gaming technical artist is to get yourself enrolled in a professional game art course. However, if your background relates to designing, coding, or animation, your chances are higher.
To become a technical artist, it is advised to pursue a degree in game development or computer science because these fields provide a solid foundation in programming and coding, and allow you to specialize once you find your feet.
If you plan on taking a game art course, make sure it includes HLSL (High-Level Shader Language), as well as a good grounding in design and rendering pipelines for game engines, such as Unreal Engine or Unity. These are the ultimate tools and languages that will help you understand graphic designing and coding better so that you can act as a bridge between the two.
Additional Courses – ZBrush Course:
Learning additional courses and gaining expertise on various online tools and software never goes in vain. It adds further to your skillsets. Moreover, with the advent of new languages and new workflows in technology, there is no particular skill or language that can save your job for a longer time. So, it is advisable to learn some additional skills in addition to the game art course. These are –
- Learn various software you will likely use in this industry, like Maya, 3DS, Max, Photoshop, ZBrush, Substance painter, Houdini, and Substance Designer.
- Moreover, having a critical mindset, designing thinking, and strong problem-solving skills are some key qualities of a gaming technical artist.
- Knowledge of more than one computer language and strong coding and programming skills.
ZBrush Course –
ZBrush is a digital sculpting tool launched by Pixologic. The tool combines 3D/2.5D modeling, texturing, and painting. Lighting, color, orientation, material, and depth information for every point on the screen is stored by using a unique “pixo” technology.
ZBrush course is an extremely simple and easy-to-learn course, especially for beginners. If you are a beginner and want to gain expertise in several tools and software, ZBRush is the best for you. Various things that a learner can do after learning from a ZBrush course are –
- 3D Sculpting
- Character Modeling
- Substance Painter
- 3D Modeling
- Digital Character Sculpting
- Hard Surface Modeling
Thus, it can be said that learning how to design, code and program a game can be very interesting. Those who have been players since childhood and love playing online games nowadays must try their career opportunities in this arena. Thus, now many of the game art courses have included learning game technical art to the students so that when they get placed, they are capable of performing different duties in a gaming project.