Tuesday, November 11, 2014

Being an Art Director & Torchlight Screenshots

  Portfolios for Art Directors can be a tricky thing. In the end, my success is dependant upon how well I got a group of artists and animators to capture the vision I had for the game. In addition to the art team I assembled in the studio, the success of the vision depended upon the art house who contributed outsourced assets based on my direction and feedback. And even beyond that, how well the coders, level designers, and the rest of the team handled and used the assets we created for the game.

Game development is a team sport. Projects live and die based on how well a team can collaborate, grow, and execute on their vision. I have always viewed my role as an Art Director like that of a Quarterback (or maybe more accurately an Offensive Coordinator). I must communicate the goals, establish the pipeline, develop an efficiency with everything we do, and practice best behaviors so that we're a well-oiled machine capable of executing something wonderful.
  At times, I'm very hands-on in establishing our stylistic path, creating our visual targets, providing examples of our level of polish, and building up the skills of the artists on the team.
Other times, as an Art Director, you have to trust in the abilities of your teammates after you've set those targets and defined the needs. You've got to find solutions when issues arise and make sure your artists are motivated and feel like they have room to play, explore, and find success, while still meeting your goals and deadlines.
It's a role that is as much about leadership, communication, listening, inspiring, and making the best decisions you can make as it is about producing beautiful artwork.

I include the following selection of screenshots both as examples of my vision as an AD, but also how well our entire team came together to execute on it.
It's a team sport. I think I helped my teammates pull off something visually stunning with an art style that will age well, worked in favor of our technical limitations, and matched our goals for the gameplay considerably well.


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