Concept Art – Everything You Need to Know - NFI (2022)

Consider your favorite fanciful film or video game, one with extraordinary real foreign worlds, futuristic vehicles, or unique creatures and personalities. Have you ever wondered who comes up with the ideas and designs for such elements? A concept artist’s task is to do just that. The overall artistic vision for a project is known as concept art. Let’s explore this concept more.

Concept Art – Everything You Need to Know - NFI (1)

Image Source: Behance

What is Concept Art?

Concept art is a type of visual art used to communicate a concept in films, video games, animation, comic books, and other forms of media. It is a process done before the implementation of the final result. Though they are frequently mistaken, concept art refers to world-building artwork used to inspire the development of media goods. Therefore, it is not the same as visual development art.

Video: What is Concept Art?

Several iterations are required to create concept art. Before deciding on the final design, several options are considered. First, concept art is used to create the work and show directors, clients, and investors how the project progresses. Concept art can be altered and utilized for advertising materials once the task has been completed.

Video: Designers on Concept Art

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The Role of the Concept Artist

Through storytelling, a Concept Artist visualizes characters, environments, props, and more. Every Concept Artist should live by the adage “a picture is worth a thousand words.” Working from existing drawings, imagining sequences from a novel that gets converted into a film, or developing new worlds and characters from scratch, are general tasks for this artist. They put their stamp on their work while being committed to the mission and the end aim.

Video: Tips to Become a Concept Artist

Importance of Concept Artist

Animated films and video games, for example, can bring together hundreds to thousands of artists who must work together to create the final product. Before moving forward with their part of the project, concept art ensures that all artists are on the same page.

Salary of a Concept Artist

A concept artist in video games earns an average of $60,000-$70,000 per year, while many earn significantly less or much more.

History of Concept Art

The Walt Disney Animation Studios utilized the phrase “concept art” as early as the 1930s. Disney employed Mary Blair to design concept paintings for “Cinderella,” “Alice in Wonderland,” and “Peter Pan.” Many artists have worked on Disney films throughout the years, producing the picturesque, imaginary worlds and characters that the franchise is famous for.

Concept artists create a visual design for something that does not exist yet, such as a character or a location. The film, animation, and, more recently, video game development are all examples of this. Commitment, vision, and explicit knowledge of the function are all required of concept artists.

Tools and Software used to Create Concept Art

Digital technology has been adopted by concept art. Raster graphics editors for digital painting, as well as technology such as graphics tablets, have become more widely available, allowing for more efficient working methods. Traditional materials such as oil paintings, acrylic paints, markers, and pencils were employed prior to this. Many modern paint packages are intended to replicate color blending in the same manner that paint would blend on a canvas. Therefore, a concept artist’s ability to use painting software often depends on working with traditional media.

Photoshop and Corel Painter are two popular applications for concept artists. Manga Studio, Procreate, and ArtRage are among the others. Because of the ease of editing and quickness, most concept artists have shifted to digital media. Many concept projects have tight deadlines and require a highly polished item in a short amount of time.

Themes in Concept Art

Being the central medium in cinema poster design from the early days of Hollywood, concept art has always had to cover a wide range of subjects. However, science fiction and fantasy are the two most widely covered areas. In addition, concept art has extended to span genres ranging from fantastical to realistic, depending on the ultimate output, since its recent use in video game production.

Styles in Concept Art

Depending on the requirements of the project, concept art can range from stylized to photorealistic. During the early ‘blue sky’ stage of production, artists working on a project frequently turn over a vast number of times. This allows for a wide range of interpretations, most of which are sketches, speed paints, and 3D overpaints. Later pieces, such as matte paintings, are created with as much realism as possible. Concept artists are frequently required to conform to the style of the studio for which they are employed. A concept artist’s ability to create many types is highly valued.

Specialists in Concept Art

There are many generalist concept artists, as well as many specialized concept artists. Character drawing, monster drafting, environment drafting, and even industry-related designs are just a few of the specialties available. For freelancers, specialization is preferred above flexibility for concept artists who want to work in-house. All disciplines require art fundamentals, such as anatomy, perspective, color theory, design, and lighting.

Application of Concept Art

Ethereal mood shots, more precise schematics of a prop or character are examples of concept art. But, again, the goal is to limit the margin for error and save time and money.

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It is critical to remember that it’s not just the art that matters. Remember how you used to be chastised in math class for not showing your work? So, what is this? Those are the workings of concept art.

Concept Art – Everything You Need to Know - NFI (2)

Image Source: Wikipedia

Every book of art quality image you see has dozens, if not hundreds, of photos that have all played a part. It may have been a scratch that helped the art director realize a concept or an utterly wrong design. The critical thing to remember is that they’re all a part of the process, even the ones that are not so pleasant. It’s rare to nail the target the first time when it comes to concept art.

The majority of creative projects necessitate the participation of others who are, should we say, less imaginative. Rather than Photoshop and a Wacom tablet, I’m more at ease with spreadsheets and figures. These are either the men in charge of the purse strings. These individuals could also be the project manager or producer.

Video: Concept Art and Creative Psychology

Different Types of Concept Art

Given the number of factors that go into making a film or video game, it’s no surprise that concept art comes in various forms. Characters, equipment, and entire worlds are featured in the concept art images below.

Character Concept Art: Character concept art necessitates much research before putting pencil to paper. For example, suppose you were working on concept art for a new Spider-Man film. In that case, you may look at several photos of spiders to help you create the famous black emblem that appears on the eponymous superhero’s suit.

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Image Source: Evenant

Concept artists will develop numerous character design draughts before settling on a finished piece as research accumulates and art directors weigh in.

Video: Character Concept Art- Tutorial

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World Concept Art: Sketching and interpreting the surroundings and architecture of a story is part of this art style. The setting is an essential aspect of world-building.

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Image Source: Behance

World concept art aids in visualizing the world’s color, texture, and distinctiveness. It is frequently seen in establishing shots or in the background while characters travel through it.

Video: Environment Concept Art

Equipment Concept Art: The gear, weapons, and armor depicted in comic books, animated films, and video games are referred to as equipment concept art.

Concept Art – Everything You Need to Know - NFI (5)

Equipment concept art may improve a world while providing a more profound definition, resulting in a more prosperous and comprehensive final product.

Video: Concept Art- Vehicles, Robots, and Weapons

Difference Between Concept Art and Production Art

Despite some similarities, concept art and production art are significantly different. Backgrounds, models, textures, and animation are examples of elements created by a production artist. A sketched preliminary design is what concept art is.

A concept artist’s job is to swiftly sketch out a variety of initial design concepts and, in the end, establish a definitive style reference for the project to follow. A production artist’s job is to bring the ideas expressed in concept art to life in a high-quality way.

The production artist’s role entails delivering in-product art for animation purposes. As a result, things like character design have little to no diversity. Manufacturing art is an element of the production process in various ways.

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Difference Between Concept Art and Illustration

Illustration and concept art are not the same thing. The two are closer than ever in terms of quality and methodology, and there is a lot of overlap. Yet, there is one fundamental distinction between them. The word ‘concept’ is the difference.

The concept artist’s job is to explore ideas as rapidly as feasible and present them as effectively as possible. The illustrator’s job is to produce high-quality artwork.

It is pointless to have a beautifully finished piece of work that does not provide anything fresh in terms of design, atmosphere, or feel. It would be a complete waste of time and effort to do so. It is preferable to have a rougher, looser sketch that piques interest and encourages debate. Its shortcomings in terms of art will be swiftly forgotten.

It is essential to understand that concept art is a part of a more extensive production process, not a separate thing like a book or editorial illustration. Individual illustrators are frequently hired by projects to create concept art for promotional and marketing purposes.

Video: Illustration vs. Concept art

Videos on Concept Art

Concept Art- 3D games and movies

Applications of Concept Art and Illustration

Concept Art Process

Conclusion

The heart and soul of your animation are concept art. To finalize the visual ideas early in the project, clear and constructive communication between the artist, the design team, and the client is required.

Quality concept art and open feedback guarantee that the animation meets the client’s expectations and, more importantly, the final product conveys the intended message. Finally, concept art is the initial step toward creating a professional business animation.

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FAQs

What a concept artist needs to know? ›

Concept artists are designers who are responsible for visualizing and creating a variety of creative assets in several different settings.
...
The top skills that concept artists should possess include:
  • Knowledge of MAYA.
  • Graphic design.
  • Artistic skills.
  • Creative skills.
  • Photoshop.
  • Design concepts.
  • Game designs.
  • Character design.
5 Nov 2020

Why is concept art hard? ›

Concept art is repetitive, it's labour-intensive. It is hard to get good at and harder to get a job in. In fact, you could even argue concept art isn't really art. But it's also a pretty incredible job, and plenty of people want to get into it.

Is it hard to get into concept art? ›

It's true, concept art is a very competitive industry. There are some clichés to fall back on here: doing what you love will ultimately lead you to your dream career and your passion will drive your success but those are only part of the equation. You will need to be diligent about making connections with people.

Is concept art really art? ›

Conceptual art is art for which the idea (or concept) behind the work is more important than the finished art object. It emerged as an art movement in the 1960s and the term usually refers to art made from the mid-1960s to the mid-1970s.

What skills do concept artists need? ›

Good communication skills, ability to explain concepts and support artistic choices. Skilled in technical drawing. Excellent time management skills, ability to consistently meet deadlines. Team player, skilled at working independently.

How many hours does concept art take? ›

Usually, it takes 50-80 hours to create a detailed concept (but again, depending on many conditions – complexity, level of detail, etc.) In theory, all this can be done by one specialist within a reasonable timeframe.

Do concept artists make good money? ›

The salaries of Concept Artists in the US range from $14,263 to $379,980 , with a median salary of $69,119 . The middle 57% of Concept Artists makes between $69,119 and $172,706, with the top 86% making $379,980.

How do I become a self taught concept artist? ›

Becoming A Self-Taught Artist
  1. #1. Study from nature, photos and other artists works.
  2. #2. See time lapse video tutorials from different artists.
  3. #3. Study from books.
  4. #4. Do focused exercises.
  5. #5. Redraw something again.
  6. #6. Don't stop your works before finishing them.
  7. #7. Ask for help.

Can you be a concept artist without a degree? ›

You want to know if you need a degree to land a job in the games industry as a concept artist, right? So the simple answer is: No, you don't need a bachelor's degree to land a job in concept art.

Can concept artists work from home? ›

As a remote concept artist, you work from home using visualization techniques to come up with ideas and create drawings. You may create storyboards, images, and artwork for video games, television productions, animation projects, advertising campaigns, interior design projects, or websites.

What do concept artists use to draw? ›

Photoshop is the holy grail of concept art. It's essentially industry standard, though there are several other products you can use that are perfectly good. Some familiarity with Photoshop, however, is not a bad idea.

Is concept art a good career? ›

It's one of the most creative careers for artists who want to design concepts for video games, movies, and digital entertainment. With movie & game artbooks and behind-the-scenes DVD features more people are learning about concept art as a career. And there's much more opportunity now than 20 years ago.

What to study to become a concept artist? ›

The education needed to be a concept artist is normally a bachelor's degree. Concept artists usually study graphic design, animation or fine arts. 75% of concept artists hold a bachelor's degree and 13% hold a associate degree.

Who is a concept creator? ›

A concept designer is in charge of creating detailed designs and renderings for video games, animators, graphic designers, and creative directors. As a concept designer, you are making sure everything is visually appealing, and is a correct visual representation of an idea or concept for the final product.

Why is concept art important? ›

Concept art helps to convey the look, feel and mood of a design idea. It is used to capture and convey the overall design vision of a project before anything goes into production, versus trying to express everything in specific terms at the very beginning of design development.

What is a character concept artist? ›

As a Character Concept Artist, you breathe life into video game and other animated characters. Working with a comprehensive creative team, you bring ideas from imagination to reality. While many games and animated films now use advanced 3D modeling, every character starts off as a simple sketch.

What is photo bashing? ›

Photobashing is a technique that consists of using multiple digital assets like pictures, textures, and 3D models to create realistic-looking artwork.

What is concept art style? ›

Concept art is a form of visual art used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books, or other media before it is put into the final product.

How do you draw a concept? ›

Here are my key tips that point towards a successful process in creating strong concepts and compositions for animation.
  1. Concept art = concept + art. ...
  2. Do dynamic research. ...
  3. Think inside the box. ...
  4. Design loosely. ...
  5. Understand composition. ...
  6. Use perspective. ...
  7. Play with the viewer's perception. ...
  8. Know the rules of value.
6 Jun 2018

What are the 7 elements of art? ›

ELEMENTS OF ART: The visual components of color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value.

Do concept artists use references? ›

Concept artists provide the primary references to the rest of the creative team and help align them.

What are the different types of concept art? ›

Concept Art Styles
  • Character Concept Art. In any project, compelling characters and creatures are required to keep the viewer engaged. ...
  • Environment Concept Art. The characters in the plot must have scenarios in which the action can happen. ...
  • Weapon and Asset Design. ...
  • Vehicle Design. ...
  • Cartoon Concept Art.

How much do you pay a concept artist? ›

How much to charge for concept art? The concept artist rates for 3D photorealistic characters are about $5,000 – 6,000, for a 3D cartoon – $4,000 – 5,000, for a 2D photorealistic character – $1,000 – 1,200 and for a 2D stylized character you will have to pay from $600 to $800.

What is the difference between concept art and illustration? ›

The concept artist brings the idea into the world, while the illustrator works with finalized concepts and briefs to create illustrations. Concept art may often take a director or design's vision and showcase how a final scene for a movie or game may look.

How many concept artists are there? ›

There are over 4,653 concept artists currently employed in the United States. 25.7% of all concept artists are women, while 74.3% are men. The average age of an employed concept artist is 40 years old.

How much do Disney concept artists make? ›

How much does a Concept Artist make at The Walt Disney Company in the United States? Average The Walt Disney Company Concept Artist yearly pay in the United States is approximately $132,248, which is 70% above the national average.

How much does a entry level concept artist make? ›

How much does a Concept Artist make in USA? The average concept artist salary in the USA is $80,000 per year or $41.03 per hour. Entry level positions start at $58,538 per year while most experienced workers make up to $112,500 per year.

How much does a 3d concept artist make? ›

Salary Ranges for 3d Character Artists

The salaries of 3d Character Artists in the US range from $46,904 to $82,500 , with a median salary of $46,904 . The middle 50% of 3d Character Artists makes $46,904, with the top 75% making $99,000.

What is a self-taught artist called? ›

Outsider art is art made by self-taught or supposedly naïve artists with typically little or no contact with the conventions of the art worlds. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths.

Can self-taught artist be successful? ›

If you are disciplined, then you can achieve anything as a self-taught artist that a trained artist could achieve. In fact, formal art training can be restrictive to the learning of some artists, who may be better suited to the self-taught path.

What should I major in if I like art? ›

The following is a list of the best 10 degrees for artists:
  • Fine Arts. A fine arts degree gives you an education in the visual arts. ...
  • Graphic Design. ...
  • Business. ...
  • Digital Arts. ...
  • Game and Interactive Media Design. ...
  • Cinematography and Film/Video Production. ...
  • Theater Arts. ...
  • Fashion Design.

What does a concept artist do in a day? ›

Concept artists can be involved in many different tasks related to a project's artistic development, including: Creating characters, technology, visual effects and landscapes. Pitching design styles and concepts to a potential client or development team.

What is meant by concept design? ›

Conceptual design is an early phase of the design process, in which the broad outlines of function and form of something are articulated. It includes the design of interactions, experiences, processes, and strategies.

How much do concept artists make in Australia? ›

Concept Artist Salaries in Australia

The national average salary for a Concept Artist is $70,000 in Australia.

What degrees do you need to be a concept artist? ›

The education needed to be a concept artist is normally a bachelor's degree. Concept artists usually study graphic design, animation or fine arts. 75% of concept artists hold a bachelor's degree and 13% hold a associate degree.

How do I become a self taught concept artist? ›

Becoming A Self-Taught Artist
  1. #1. Study from nature, photos and other artists works.
  2. #2. See time lapse video tutorials from different artists.
  3. #3. Study from books.
  4. #4. Do focused exercises.
  5. #5. Redraw something again.
  6. #6. Don't stop your works before finishing them.
  7. #7. Ask for help.

How can I improve my concept art? ›

  1. Master the Fundamentals of Drawing and Painting. ...
  2. Practice Using the Proper Tools. ...
  3. Get Inspired. ...
  4. Unleash Your Passion. ...
  5. Draw for Your Audience. ...
  6. Create Something Bold, Original, and Unique. ...
  7. Tell the Story Through Details. ...
  8. Flesh Out the Character Design and Its Intent.
14 Mar 2014

Do concept artists make good money? ›

The salaries of Concept Artists in the US range from $14,263 to $379,980 , with a median salary of $69,119 . The middle 57% of Concept Artists makes between $69,119 and $172,706, with the top 86% making $379,980.

How fast do concept artists work? ›

In films, cartoons or any other animated video, the result of painstaking work by an artist can take no more than a dozen frames. Time frames. Usually, it takes 50-80 hours to create a detailed concept (but again, depending on many conditions – complexity, level of detail, etc.)

Is concept art a good career? ›

It's one of the most creative careers for artists who want to design concepts for video games, movies, and digital entertainment. With movie & game artbooks and behind-the-scenes DVD features more people are learning about concept art as a career. And there's much more opportunity now than 20 years ago.

How much do Disney concept artists make? ›

How much does a Concept Artist make at The Walt Disney Company in the United States? Average The Walt Disney Company Concept Artist yearly pay in the United States is approximately $132,248, which is 70% above the national average.

Can concept artists work from home? ›

As a remote concept artist, you work from home using visualization techniques to come up with ideas and create drawings. You may create storyboards, images, and artwork for video games, television productions, animation projects, advertising campaigns, interior design projects, or websites.

What is a self-taught artist called? ›

Outsider art is art made by self-taught or supposedly naïve artists with typically little or no contact with the conventions of the art worlds. In many cases, their work is discovered only after their deaths.

Can self-taught artist be successful? ›

If you are disciplined, then you can achieve anything as a self-taught artist that a trained artist could achieve. In fact, formal art training can be restrictive to the learning of some artists, who may be better suited to the self-taught path.

What are the 7 elements of art? ›

ELEMENTS OF ART: The visual components of color, form, line, shape, space, texture, and value.

What do concept artists use to draw? ›

Photoshop is the holy grail of concept art. It's essentially industry standard, though there are several other products you can use that are perfectly good. Some familiarity with Photoshop, however, is not a bad idea.

What is concept art style? ›

Concept art is a form of visual art used to convey an idea for use in films, video games, animation, comic books, or other media before it is put into the final product.

How much does a entry level concept artist make? ›

How much does a Concept Artist make in USA? The average concept artist salary in the USA is $80,000 per year or $41.03 per hour. Entry level positions start at $58,538 per year while most experienced workers make up to $112,500 per year.

How much does a 3D concept artist make? ›

Salary Ranges for 3d Character Artists

The salaries of 3d Character Artists in the US range from $46,904 to $82,500 , with a median salary of $46,904 . The middle 50% of 3d Character Artists makes $46,904, with the top 75% making $99,000.

How much do concept artists make a month? ›

What is a Concept Artist's Salary?
PercentileAnnual SalaryMonthly Salary
75th Percentile$107,000$8,917
Average$85,713$7,143
25th Percentile$68,000$5,667
10th Percentile$56,000$4,667
1 more row

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