Monday, 7 December 2009

Art Direction: How important it really is.

Art Direction is a demanding skill, having to not only guide the style and feel of how the game is viewed, but also lead everyone else who is working on a project and lead them to achieve clear and coherent work that ties seamlessly together as if only one person had been working on the way the art looks.

Communication is a vital and necessary skill to survive in the world of being an Art Director. The team of artists needs to be able to work together and produce strong pieces all the time and can’t have different conflicting ideas around them about the direction the game is going take. The art director doesn’t just lead the artists on the floor but also has to be able to liaise with Creative Directors, Art Managers as well as the oversee production or concept team and has to be able to communicate the vision of the game to high members of staff such as Executives, Licensor’s and possibly any 3rd parties who are involved.

Now a lot of what I have stated sounds like it is more of a managerial role than a creative one and the job title does include the word “ART” in it so where does that come in? Well if we were to place someone in the games industry working a major title and had no knowledge of art or how it’s made everything would look disjointed and just wrong. Yes they may be able to get the art department working well, but sacrifice the polish a game needs to stand out from the crowd. Good art direction is vital in keeping the visuals and style of the game clear and coherent throughout so you don’t end with a part of level having a very stylised look and other parts not matching the same standard.

Art direction is very orientated around being focussed on an artistic goal and having to manage that visual look, whilst at the same time and keeping tabs on all the people doing the work and occasionally nudging them in the right direction. Without art director’s games would always be behind schedule, oh wait they are…well most of the time (cough Too Human = rubbish/ why did they bother?)  In all to become a good art director you need: - A high knowledge of art practice, Leadership, the ability to communicate and good organisational skills. Without these the creative flow would come to a stand still and slowly kill the game and become a money pit. Luckily there people out there keeping the industry going or so I hope or I will be without a job when I finish Uni!

Sunday, 6 December 2009

Tate: Turner and the Masters

I took a trip to the Turner and the Masters exhibition at the Tate Britain recently and think it’s definitely worth checking out while it’s on. I found the emphasis that Turner put into trying to emulate other great artists of his time really fascinating. It almost became a competition between him and the works he was copying in his own style. He constantly tried to improve on making them more dynamic and hold a greater sense of movement than proving his own technical ability. With his paintings directly next to the ones he had taken inspiration from it was clear he was trying to get his audience to feel what was going on and give a real depiction rather than just try and make something aesthetically pleasing. I found the importance of looking at other artists always useful and a way of expanding my own ideas and techniques, what was interesting to see is even the masters were learning from each other and using the works of those before them to improve their own techniques.

I found how Turner had taken a composition and focussed attention detail in often only a few places and had the rest of the piece covered by his expressive movements an effective way of leading the viewer through his piece, creating dramatic effects and creating a greater sense of depth and a less lifeless mood. Another thing I noticed was that Turner never really complicates his compositions and only focuses on the main aspects he was trying to practice. Through each piece the one element he wants to capture specifically if it was lighting, perspective or texture is certainly clear and shows his development in the pieces that follow.

I found the visit really insightful in how to start taking new ideas and techniques and applying them to my own work and not just relying on a few places for inspiration. I also learnt to try anything and everything even if it doesn’t really work as something good might come of it that I wasn’t even looking for.