What does an environment artist do?
Environment artists make awesome places in which games can be played. They create fantasy landscapes – spooky dungeons and moody wastelands – and real-world places like offices and playgrounds too.
They often start with 2D art created by a concept artist and turn it into a believable environment in 3D. Sometimes they use photographs, sometimes their own imagination. Environment artists carefully consider the level designers’ gameplay requirements. They find out what’s mission-critical and ensure those elements are included.
At entry level, environment artists learn about the technical constraints of the game engine. something more experienced artists are expected to consider all the time. If they create an environment that’s too detailed, it could cause the game to lag. Consideration of technical aspects such as polygon count within the environment can prevent that from happening.
What’s an environment artist good at?
- Art: be good at drawing, have strong understanding of form, colour, texture, and light, know how these elements work together
- Knowledge of environments: understand architecture, have good awareness of city spaces and landscapes
- Using game engines: know how to work with art within game engines, understand their technical limitations, keep up-to-date with their possibilities
- Collaboration: communicate, work well with the other artists, designers and programmers
- Organisation: work within the production schedule, manage files and meet deadlines